Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mt. Evans

Alex on Gorillas In The Mist V10

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Sickest Boulders In The World

In the past 24 hours I have managed to do more hiking for climbing with no climbing than ever before. It pretty much rained all day. But I'll start from the beginning. Since I moved to Colorado and was guided around the the Park and Evans, I've always wondered about the potential for bouldering in Colorado. After two years out here I've managed to climb most of the established problems that I am psyched on and recently I've been leaning more towards the entirely separate realm of opening some of my own. Based on experience and knowledge of the areas I immediately set my sights on exploring Mt. Evans and the surrounding canyons/valleys. Before today I had explored both Area A and Area B but nothing more. So I set my sights on a place called Aerials, which I heard hosts the most amount boulders at Mt. Evans and the most unexplored bouldering terrain. A quick look on Google Earth confirmed these rumours. So today I set out on an adventure with friends Connor Griffith and Greg Mionske.

On the drive up to the summit we passed by another potential area. The talus field on the west end of Lincoln Lake. From afar the talus looks very small, but I wasn't convinced so I decided to investigate. According to Google Earth, the hike descends almost 1000 ft. of terrain in about a quarter of a mile. This wasn't enough to deter me and the downhill approach only took us 15-20 minutes if that. What we found at the bottom of the hill was simply stunning. At least 50 boulders the size of a house and many more smaller walls. It is twice as much rock as Lower and Upper Chaos combined. It is easiest to describe it as a maze of walls and roofs everywhere you turn. We hiked around for about and hour admiring the size and and amount of boulders, then headed back up the 1000 ft. hill. Exhausted at the topped we were still more than ready to see what lay ahead at the Aerials.

The parking for Aerials is just before the first switchback towards the summit of Mt. Evans. The hike down follows a moderately declining ridgeline and then descends abruptly through a notch at the end of the ridge into a long steep talus field. It is a descent of almost 2000 ft. into the boulders. When we first spotted the massive amount of boulders from the edge of the ridgeline it was difficult to contain my excitement. Massive looking blocks both in talus fields and in meadows filled pretty much our entire line of sight. When we finally reached the boulders I was even more amazed. Their are more boulders in this particular area than I have ever seen in my entire life. House-sized boulders, normal sized boulders, roofs, slabs, everything you could ever imagine in a bouldering area. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Well here's the catch...

80% of the boulders are completely devoid of holds, features, or anything, both at the Lincoln Lake boulders and at Aerials. I can honestly say that I've never seen more blank rock in my entire life. It was absolutely heart-breaking. Every turn yielded the most beautiful walls I've ever laid eyes on. However, upon closer inspection there was absolutely nothing available to get any form of purchase. I checked everything. We searched Aerials for about 2-3 hours and didn't find anything inspiring to come back for. Sure I could have missed some things, but for the most part, it just wasn't worth the hike, the time, or the effort. And here's the worst part. By the time we were done searching we realized that we were in a 2,000 ft. deep hole. Literally. The hike out was one of the most exhausting hiking experiences of my life (I'm a terrible hiker). We basically spent 2 hours crawling out of hole filled with gorgeous feature-less boulders.

And so for the time being I have lost hope in the future of Colorado bouldering. I will continue to train in the gym and climb on established lines. And I hear the South has got some projects.

But here are some pics from the day if you're interested. I'll have some more detailed ones up in the next day or so...
Lincoln Lake on the left and the boulders (taken from the road)

A Close-Up of the Boulders at Lincoln Lake (The bigger blocks are around 40 ft. tall)

Lincoln Lake from a different angle

Looking out from the pullout for Aerials. The trail follows the ridgeline left of center.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mt. Evans With The Crew

Today I headed out to Mt. Evans with my girlfriend Alex, my brother Giovanni, and Jena Lupia, a friend from New Mexico. The temps turned out to be perfect. Cool with a slight breeze all day. Unfortunately I didn't really get to climb on anything new, but I did get to guide people around, spot, and take some alright photos. G ended the day with sends of Bierstadt V10, The Dali Sit V9, and Seurat V8. Alex also managed to climb Seurat V8, even though it was "not at all her style", and in about three tries was consistently falling off the last move of Clear Blue Skies V12 from the start. An impressive day for all to say the least. Also, Jena almost finished off her fifth V8 with two close last move misses on Seurat. One fall off the last move had her bouncing off the pads and into a small cave beneath the boulder. Crazy business! Overall it was a wonderful day at the boulders and we'll probably be returning on Monday with the same crew and maybe I'll actually climb something new. Tomorrow, however, I might be hiking in to Area D and heading all the way down the canyon searching for new boulder problems. We will see...

And here are some photos from the day:

G on Bierstadt V10

G on Timeline V1

Alex on Seurat V8

Mt. Evans

Yesterday I made a solo trip to Mt. Evans to do some rock climbing. It was a bit warm for any good burns on Ode, but I did manage to link The Mirrormask SDS Project into the stand. Not sure when I'll be able to send because I fall mainly due to complete fatigue. Could be because of lack of breathing when compressing so hard and lack of oxygen in the air at 12,000 ft. However, I'm very psyched on this boulder and will continue to give it my utmost attention until I send.
Here is a photo of me climbing on it 2 years ago (Courtesy of Steve Woods):

I also got the opportunity to hike around a bit on the cliffs above the boulders and take some nice photos.

Looking Up Canyon Past Area B

Looking Down Canyon

Tomorrow I will head out again to Mt. Evans this time with Alex, Giovanni, and Jena Lupia, a friend of ours from New Mexico. I should have a nice post up in the next day or two complete with media from the day.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Past Month And Everything To Come

It's been almost a month since I have written a blog entry, almost purely because the past month has been quite hectic for me. So, I'll start where I left off in the last entry. I ended up placing 16th in the World Cup in Vail. I bit dissapointing for me after qualifying 13th, but oh well. My goal was just to make it to Semi-finals with such a stacked field. I think it's safe to say that I'm starting to figure out this whole comp thing and it definitely doesn't help to be 5' 6''.

Shortly after Vail, I made my first treks of the season to Chaos Canyon and managed to climb The Automator V13 and Wildcat V11 with suprising ease. I don't have too many more boulders I'm psyched to climb on in the park anymore now that I've finished off those two. However, I am psyched to finish up Jade if I can get some good temps and I'm psyched on re-climbing Nothin' But Sunshine V13 just because I had a lot of fun climbing it the first time around.

The Lake

The Rock

The Hork on Freshly Squeezed V12

By the time mid-June rolled around it was time for a two week trip to Dallas, Texas to visit Alex's family. I must say I really wasn't too psyched to be in Texas for so long (it's hard enough to get me to Hueco, purely because it's in Texas), but I made the trip worthwhile by doing a lot of setting work at various gyms. I also did a lot of "active resting". However, it was nice to visit with Alex's family for an extended period of time.

The Drive Back to Boulder...

But now I'm back in Boulder. And I forgot to mention that my brother Giovanni moved in with us and is now residing on the couch. He is very psyched to begin climbing "full-time" and I'm sure we'll see some impressive sends from him this summer.

I shot some photos of G and Chris Meacham out in Boulder Canyon a few days ago and in a few days I will be headed to Mt. Evans to hop on one of my three summer projects and to look for new boulders. My summer projects are Ode To The Modern Man, The Mirrormask SDS Project, and the City Walls Of Dying Dreams SDS. I am very, very close to the first two and have yet to try City Walls. Needless to say I am very excited and the blog entries will be much more frequent now that I am participating in interesting activities. And also thanks to my new digital SLR, I will be posting some really cool pictures. Peace.

Chris Meacham and G-Money

Chris on Cage Free V10