The last few times I’ve gotten out I’ve continued my never-ending hunt for amazing new boulders. While I do have many fond memories of Mt. Evans, the rock in the Park is so much better that it is hard for me to justify going south. Evans has always been a step below in my mind, and when I keep finding such amazing new lines all over the RMNP, I will continue to head there. That’s not to say there aren’t a million things I’d like to do at Evans, but with limited time I have to prioritize.
Last week I ran back up to The Gash, with Rylan Marshall. We took a new way and cut enough off the time that it made it a reasonable destination for a day trip. We were stopped short by evening, but we did see a number of cool things and the scenery was spectacular. The basin below Andrews Glacier has been bouldered at by Paul Otis and Jon Linhart for a few years (perhaps others) around 2003. To this place I shall return.
Also on the hunt are the black bears in the region, trying to fatten up for the winter in order to survive. On the way up the hill outside of Lyons we drove past a dead bear on the side of the road, roadkill from the previous night. The bear is my favorite animal, and while it was unfortunate to see the creature dead, it was fascinating to get an up-close look at a wild animal. How intense must the inner drive for sustenance in these animals be? This summer has been particularly dry, and a number of bear sightings in the area indicate that the bears are hungry and stressed. A few bears have been seen this year near Chaos Canyon as well. In 2003 there was a severe drought in Colorado, and I saw a bear on the Dream Lake trail. Here are some photos of the bear on the side of the road:
One of the reasons I love developing new boulders is that it really appeals to my creative side. I have been looking for a particular theoretical boulder I’ve had in mind and this weekend I found it. We’ve been developing a number of moderate problems in Upper Upper over the last few months, but I was keen on finding something harder. Ryan Silven and I chalked it up and tried some of the moves. Hard compression, good rock and an independent line make this a perfect line to put some serious effort into. My hunt has lead to sustenance. Will it always? That question looms like a dark overhang. Here is a photo of the majestic beast:
I also repeated Contents Under Pressure V7 (which is not far from Easy on the Eyes and was established by Blake Rutherford in 2005) and Residual Stress V8 FA Collin Horvat on my first attempt, and put up an obvious start to CUP just to the left on a big jug, called Contents Left V8. I also repeated Solaris V7(touted as an “amazing new boulder”), which looks interesting at first, but every broken hold was a friendly reminder of why I had walked by the overhang for years.
It’s worth mentioning again that there are still so many amazing unclimbed lines in Chaos Canyon. The rock is outstanding, and it remains the best place in the Front Range for development of new bouldering. I only wish I were strong enough to climb all of the amazing lines I’ve found, but I’m sure I can convince Mr. Woods, who is back in town, to head up and finish the job. While Upper Upper is not the wildest, most adventurous place in the world, it’s a wonderful playground to have in my backyard. And as it begins to cool off, the Devil’s Kitchen and the rest of Wyoming weighs more and more heavily on my mind…