Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Posted by Jeremiah at 4:54 PM
So I've been guiding out here in Colorado for about two months. In some ways it's been really awesome. In other ways it is occasionally a drag. So here's what I've experienced/learned/done so far.
My climbing since coming to Colorado has been pretty much devoted to climbing in two places. The Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks. Climbing in the Garden is practically an art. First you must except that you are climbing on stone which is loosely conglomerated grains of sand. The ability to somehow defy gravity and not crush the holds supporting your weight is a learned skill. The incentive to learn this skill is so you don't die because the probability that there is a piece of gear or one of the numerous soft iron pitons that Harvey Carter pounded into drilled holes anywhere near you is highly unlikely. Since learning to climb in the Garden my mental abilities are astounding. An example follows.
The Fixer 5.10a two pitches:
The first pin is about thirty off the ground and climbing to the pin while averaging about 5.7 does have a few 5.9 moves right before you clip the pin. From here there are several stiff 5.10a moves on crumbly holds. After the last pin, at about sixty feet off the ground, it's at least another sixty feet to the anchors with a few fifth class moves. The second pitch follows a loose crack with a strenous overhanging start. I have yet to climb it but the first ascencionist told me it wasn't too difficult, just dirty.
Climbing in Red Rocks is a little different. The routes all suite my technical style but after climbing about 30 routes there I've found them to mostly be very similar and mostly boring.
The thing about guiding here is that it's different every day. Sometimes I climb with people who've climbed before and things go smooth, we climb some fun stuff. Then other days I'm soloing the same 5.7 for the twenty fifth time and trying to haul people up while, with no thought of style, they grab quickdraws and stand on bolt hangers.
Between the two places I must say that I really enjoy the Garden more. The climbing is just better. There are a few climbs that I don't think I will ever get tired of climbing:
Crescent Corner 5.9, a fantastic corner with lots of laybacking and underclings.
N. Ridge of Montezuma's Tower 5.7, a fantastically exposed two pitch ridge, just awesome.
New Era 5.7, a great three pitch dihedral on the most solid rock in the park, solid face and crack climbing with a fantastic last pitch.
I'm hoping that the future will bring more varied climbs in different areas. I'd really like to get to know the South Platte area better. There is a ton of first ascents to be had and it's nice to be on bomber granite every once and a while. I'd also like to explore some of the other classic climbs that Colorado has to offer. There is a ton of great rock here. Climbing almost every day has improved my climbing ten fold. Climbing eight pitches in a four hours is not something that I would find difficult. I feel like a badass.
I am impoverished but I enjoy my life. I walk the razor's edge in climbing shoes, it's awesome. Send money.