Monday, August 27, 2012

Mt. Evans- Area D

On Sunday we headed up to Area D on Mount Evans.  This is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever climbed.  Unfortunately, large sections of these massive boulders fail to offer climbable features so there aren't very many boulder problems.

Looking up valley at the Black Wall.
However, the problems that we did climb were very nice.  Here is a video of Alex Kordick climbing a possible FA between Equitos and The Nothing.  We thought it was hard V6.

A few were interested in trying The Nothing V8- a 35 foot problem with the business at the start and a nice victory romp to the top.

Metro cleaning The Nothing.
A video of Mark "Metro" Avery onsighting the classic highball, The Nothing. 

The hike out is much longer than Lincoln Lake but the views are rewarding.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bugaboos- Divine Intervention and Paddle Flake.

We spent the next two days "recovering" from the hike and climbing near Applebee Campground.  The weather forecast warned of afternoon storms so we decided to keep our days short .

Snowpatch in the background.
Our first objective was a newish route on Bugaboos Spire called Divine Intervention 5.11b.  The route is 10 pitches but the best rock, and hardest pitches are pitches 1-5.  Plus, you can rappel off after the fifth pitch meaning you don't have to climb with boots, crampons, etc. making it a great choice for a mellow day.

Unfortunately, we didn't take very many pictures, but the route is very nice and the rock will only improve with time.  Overall the route is very well protected, and the climbing tackles inspiring features with a great mix of classic crack climbing and interesting face moves.  I blew the onsight by going left instead of right on P5 which lead me up a crack system that dead ended.  Too hard to downclimb, I set a really good nut, and bailed.  SCARY!!!  Oh well...

Looking up at P5.  Go right at the roof!
View of Applebee Campground from Bugaboo Spire.

Ben rappelling P3.
The next day, we decided to climb Paddle Flake 5.10 on Crescent Spire.  It follows a prominent corner system for four pitches to the base of a handsome headwall.

The lower pitches are very polished, requiring stemming, good footwork and faith in small gear at times.  The upper pitches get steeper, testing your endurance.  Definitely a classic route, but a bit short.

The scariest thing about this route is simply getting to the rock.  To get to the start of P1 I had to solo 40 feet of steep snow, kicking steps with my rock shoes and using a nut tool to as a mini ice axe.  I swear I almost fell at the top!

P1 of Paddle Flake 5.9. 
The upper pitches.
Ben at the beginning of P3 5.10a.
Ben inspecting the crux of P3.
Ben at the crux of P3.
Taylor on P4 5.10 hands.  Really nice and steep pitch.
Au cheval the top of P4.  Classic alpine move!
Ben on P5.
The view from the back of Crescent Spire.

Bugaboo Spire.

Ben rappelling.  Applebee Campground in the upper left corner.
At the end of the day I realized that I had some tea from a broken teabag floating around at the bottom of my pack.  Undaunted by the fact that it had been there for over six months, I scooped it out and brewed the most amazing cup of tea ever!

My reward for the day.  
Hey, I packed it in, so don't judge me.  And no, I am not addicted to caffeine.  Although it's debatable whether my headache was caused by dehydration or caffeine withdrawal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bugaboos- The Death March to Applebee

Our first view of the Bugs.
Some experiences leave you scarred for life.  Whether the damage is physical, emotional, or psychological you are left with a permanent, inescapable reminder of an event you would rather forget.
Ben posing with Critter Ridder.  Black pepper and Capsaicin spray.
Ben spraying the car with Critter Ridder.
Apparently critters don't like to eat FJ Cruisers.
Deceptively cute, cable eating devil.

The hike up to Applebee Campground is one of those moment.  Granted I have never enjoyed hiking, but this hike completely crushed me physically and psychologically.

The trail is only 4 kilometers, and the grade, although steep, isn't outrageous.  The tipping point was our packs.  With 10 days of food, clothes, climbing gear, ropes, and various stuff to survive in the wilderness our packs were almost 100 pounds!

Once I had the beast on my back the shoulder straps started digging into my chest.  So I pulled out some underwear, and shoved them behind the straps to provide extra padding.  Only 10 minutes into the hike and my dignity was already disappearing!

Self portrait of suffering.
Isn't this great!!!  Such a nice hike.

Then we got above treeline.  With no shade, and limited opportunity to pump water, I got dehydrated and quickly fell apart.  My back screamed under the weight of my pack and my legs could only take about 20 steps before they begged for a rest.  Just past the ladder, about 2/3 up the trail my mind and body cracked.  I felt helpless and desperate.

Totally cracked.  Note the underwear.
Is there a pack on me?  I can't tell.

It got so bad that Ben came down the trail looking for me and offered to hiked my pack about 400 feet up the hill while I pumped water.  He also took the rope and draws out of my pack and put them in a smaller pack which he shuttled up the hill along with his huge pack in alternating trips.

Looking down the valley.
 Feeling a bit better, I finally made it to the Cain Hut. 

The kitchen has running water, electricity, and gas stoves.
Unfortunately, we still had about 900 feet of vertical gain to make before we reach the Applebee Campground.  So I slowly made my way up the hill- resting about every 50 feet.

Almost to Applebee!  You can see the Cain Hut in the upper left hand corner.
After about 5 hours of hiking I finally stumbled into camp with a devastating headache.  I was disappointed with my performance and stressed about the rest of the trip.  It felt like a horrible glimpse into the suffering that awaited. 

Luckily my legs have recovered, but my mind will never forget the death march to Applebee Campgound.

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