Friday, October 31, 2008

Blast From the Past-Minturn Bouldering Spring 2008

Unfortunately, I don't have anything cool to write about, so here are some bouldering pictures from Minturn.
The first set of pictures were taken at Redcliff. Surrounded by Aspens, this area features about 10 boulders with problems ranging from VB to V8. Despite an easy 5 minute approach, great stone, fun problems, and a beautiful setting, this area remains highly overlooked.
Lee warming up

Alex on a nice V6

Lee topping out the same V6. This mantle is HARD!

Me on another V6. The first move was definitely the hardest.

Lee on yet another V6.

The next series of pictures were taken at an area near Redcliff called the Aircraft Carrier. Tucked next to a small talus field, this spot consists of three large boulders with about 30 problems total. It's a small area, but it's much steeper than Redcliff, and has problems ranging from VB t0 V11. The problem below is called the Cool Arete V9. It lives up to its name!

Unfortunately, the problem is a bit contrived at the end. Either exit out left to the vertical rail, or continue up the arete.

Although neither area is spectacular, sometimes all you need is to get out of town, see a new area, and have a little adventure. If this is what you need, check these places out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blast From the Past- Eldorado Canyon, Spring 2008

Here are some pictures of the Schultz Arete(A.K.A. Quigong) V11. This is a very convenient problem with very sharp crimps, a fairly bad landing and an annoying rock that you have to avoid touching at the start of the problem. Despite all the cons, this thing seriously exploits my crimp weakness, and for that it's definitely on my list as the temps cool down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bare Bones Camping

I hate paying for camping. The idea of paying money for a picnic table, a fire pit and a manicured tent site just seems wasteful and defeats the point of going camping in the first place. It's not just about the money- although that is a large factor. It's about having a unique experience. It's about communing with nature, and getting off the grid. It's about escaping. Most of the time, my quest for free camping is rewarded with animal sitings, serenity, and a sense of satisfaction you get when you earn something the hard way. However, my stubborn pursuit of free camping has also backfired, leading to some terrifying nights and creepy situations. Recently, I mustered up the courage to revisit a visceral place that I stumbled upon while searching for "new" free camping near Rifle.

Last Fall, I spent a bunch of time in Rifle. Being late in the season, with temps dropping below freezing, I opted to stay at a free, but undesirable place called the Corral. Visible from Grass Valley Road, and instantly muddy if it rains, the Corral offers no protection from ornery locals, or opportunistic thieves. So one evening after climbing, I decided to look for alternative options. I started by going up a dirt road on the opposite side of the road, to the East of the Corral. The road was too rough for my Honda Civic, so I quickly turned around. As the light faded, I drove up another bumpy dirt road for about 50 feet until my headlights hit this...

a pile of deer and elk carnage. Totally freaked out, I did a three point turn as fast a I could and went back to the relative safety of the Corral. With my imagination going crazy, I unsuccessfully tried to sleep. Since that day, I have never been able to enjoy the Corral quite as much.
The place seems more wild, and less relaxing. Every sound has significance. I am on edge. In some strange way, I think this is what I like most about free camping. I want to feel more vulnerable. I want to feel the mystery and power of nature. I want to face my fears. That way, I won't take the next day or the money I save for granted because in a way I earned it.

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