23 July 2010

Before Work Bouldering

My body had fully recovered from last weekend and then three days of extensive yard work and house projects.

I needed to get out and do something fun before being trapped inside at work for the next four days.

I had a small window so I checked out Corwina Park -- between Idledale and Kittridge. I had driven past it enough times to know there were some cliffs there.

I hiked in a little bit uphill and came to these two beauties. I worked a couple of problems for over an hour. I never linked them up, but came so tantalizing close. Plus the schist was kind on my skin.

Deep in forest and situated by a small stream, it was a perfect setting. I will be back.

20 July 2010

Como Lake Road Long

A rare weekend off, I met up with my buddy Dan down at a dusty trailhead in the middle of the state on Saturday morning for a two-day trip into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

What I got out of the trip was the rare joy of doing a backpacking trip with a good friend -- my schedule does not allow for such luxuries -- and Dan got to cross out two more 14ers from his peak list in his quest to climb all of them in Colorado.

We both also gained the new expression for our vernacular of Como Lake Road long. Anybody who has ever hiked up the jeep trail -- ranked as the worst in Colorado -- will know what we mean. It is long, it is steep, it is dry and it is demoralizing.

Near where we parked

Dan still early on when spirits weren't crushed

It took us four hours to plod up into the alpine zone and the banks of Como Lake. We set up camp and then relaxed for a couple of well-deserved hours.

Views around the lake

We both got antsy, so we just went wandering up to Blue Lakes, talking and climbing boulders along the way.

Blue Lakes basin

The next morning we made our way up to the top of Blanca Peak. We quickly caught up to a number of people who left earlier than us to achieve the same summit. I found my groove when we got on the mountain and quickly led us up the talus slopes of the 14er to a little bit above a saddle on the ridge connecting Blanca Peak from fellow 14er Ellingwood Point.

From there we stayed on the ridge crest and enjoyed some fun scrambling on solid rock with good exposure to the east. This is why we toiled up this high!

Some Summit Shots

We went back to the saddle and Dan went over and ticked Ellingwood Point. The loose pile of choss held no allure to me, so I relaxed for a while near the saddle while a pika played hide-n-seek with me.

Instead of traversing back the way he came, Dan picked a way down the steeper detritus pile that is Ellingwood's west face. We met back in the upper basin and made our way back to camp.

Dan a speck among the rubble

We packed up camp and made the never-ending hike back to my truck -- over 6,000 feet below.

Some parting shots

16 July 2010

Getting Back Into The Swing

With a trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains set for this weekend, I felt I needed to get some alpine time for training. I'm woefully out of shape this summer since much of my free time is spent on my house.

I didn't have a lot of time, so I decided to check out some cliffs past Echo Lake near Mount Evans. The rock quality was dubious at best and at one point, found myself carefully downclimbing 50 feets of loose, broken rock and vertical dirt because continuing up would have been suicidal.

Still came across a good wall and got some high-ball bouldering in.

Echo Lake

Looking towards Chicago Basin

View From Ledge

Rock Quality Was Surprisingly Good, But Still Check Your Holds