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Category Archives: Black Canyon

Eternal Fall

Following the first pitch on The Prow

Wow.  I had a busy little October.

Climbed the Nose in a Day again with some friends….”Keeping it casual!”  I was only in the Valley for 3 days.  Man I love that place!

10 days later I found myself giving a slideshow on speed climbing the Nose at Metro Rock in Boston, This even was a fund-raiser for Paradox Sports.  The show went well and I thank Trango and Stonewear for providing swag for the give-aways.  Also a big thanks to my brother for organizing and helping to promote the event!

During my short stay in Boston, my brother and I stole away for a day of climbing at Cathedral Ledges.  We climbed The Prow.  A proud line I would like to go back and free.  The route was intimidating and seeping wet, we did a mixed bag of aiding/ climbing two of the soggy pitches but were able to free the rest.

My brother and I….where is the wine bar?

Tuesday Oct. 23, I boarded the plane in Boston at 6 am.  Landed in Denver, 9am.  Hopped a bus to Boulder, grabbed “Randy” (my trusty Subaru Forester), and drove to Estes.  Had a quick bloody mary at Ed’s Cantina with a friend, unpacked, re-packed, then drove to the Black Canyon.

I arrived around midnight, chucked my sleeping bag on the ground next to AB and zonked out.  I had been up for almost 24 hours and was cross-eyed from playing a game of frogger with deer and elk on the road!!!

Rappelling off of Medicine Man

The pink sky poked gently at my eyelids.  Jes quietly rustled through kitchen supplies as Andrew watched the sun do its magic at the rim.  After a dreary stretch, I was soon standing aside the picnic table drinking coffee and catching up with my NIAD partner, her current road trip partner, Bo, and my favorite person, Andrew Barnes.  Jes and Bo had been climbing in the Black for a few days and were leaving, while Andrew and I had just arrived.  After a leisurely breakfast, Andrew and I moseyed into the gneiss abyss and crawled our way out via the Checkerboard Wall.  What a lovely route.  A little heads up but overall a grand time….I even found a guidebook at the base!!

Our plan was to climb Southern Arete the following day–evening putting some names down on the white board—not our real names of course— but snow began to flurry about us at camp.  Colorado National Monument and Medicine Man were on my list, so we departed the Black earlier than desired. Our mission was to chase an eternal fall…snow was not appropriate!

Otto’s Route, Colorado National Monument

Opening the car doors at Sentinal Spire, in Grand Junction, 30 degree temps and a brain freeze wind greeted us.  Wine bars, distillery’s and visiting with Heather, my best girlfriend Prairie’s sister, sounded much more enticing.   Medicine Man was rescheduled for the following day and what a gorgeous day it turned out to be.

Medicine Man

Fifty degree temps, light breeze, southern exposure, splitter hand crack, and a surprise photographer at a view point who emailed photos of us rappelling. Unfortunately the route we climbed is on the opposite side of the tower, but Otto’s Route is in the background!!

We departed the next day for Indian Creek, popping off for a quick visit to friends in Paradox Valley, Colorado.

The car now brimming with potatoes, dill, and laughter we rolled into Indian Creek.  After a quick deciphering of Maren and Adam’s message, we headed up for a half day of cragging at Scarface Wall with the family.

Day 2 the gang piled up at Way Rambo area.  I tried Way Rambo as my first climb of the day, but was unsuccessful.  I am terrible at green Camelot sizes.  Knowing this, I decided to hop on Slice and Dice.  Yet another failed attempt—well I broke it into 5 pitches!  I did finally started feeling a little more confident though.  Green Camelots I will learn to love!!  Andrew crushed Layaway Plan.

Day 3 in Indian Creek was Halloween.  Andrew, Brennan, and I danced to a little “Thriller” from the car as breakfast potatoes simmered.   We racked up for a Vision Quest.  Climbing in costumes that were reminiscent to Saved by the Bell’s,  Zach, Kelly, and Slater…..that swimsuit top thing Kelly was
sporting is not ideal for off-widths!!!

Atop the Bridger Jacks, we could see the cottonwoods twinkling yellow, red sandstone spires and walls reaching up towards a piercing blue sky.  The Vision Quest was being fulfilled. The golden light of fall had found a way to hang on!!

Oh an Eternal Fall

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