Taken for Granite
With longer days and the approach of summer, I always get excited to train for Alpine season and fit a lot into my day. Luckily my friend Kelly enjoys marathon climbing days as well, so we met up in Estes Park, where he lives, for 20something pitches on the granite of Lumpy Ridge.
It was somewhat hard to link a ton of pitches at this climbing area, because most of the routes are 3-4 pitches up various "lumps" on the ridges, and then some 3rd class terrain before scramble/rappel/walk back down. While we didn't come close to matching either of our personal biggest days (in terms of number of pitches) we both had a good time.
Kelly emerging from the cold darkness.
Sometimes runouts at Lumpy Ridge are mandatory
Other times they are for expediency.
"Romulan Territory" on the Bookmark formation. Only 3 more pitches to go...
The most memorable pitch of the day was called Pineapple Juice, a 5.11 arete with bolts and occasional flakes for gear. In 35 meters of climbing its got something like 5 bolts and 2 places for gear, with 4 of the bolts being completely rusty star-drives. After slipping and sliding all over the first crux in my overs-sized crack-climbing slippers, Kelly loaned me his bright-yellow Miuras, (stiff edging shoes) for another shot. These must have been endowed with special sending powers by their previous owner, before Kelly had won them from him in a drunken, snowbound, late-night-Estes Park game of strip-poker. I was able to work the moves and finish off the route on the next go with the magical slippers, proving once again that climbing is half mental, half footwork, and the rest pure luck. The route might not have been as hard as freeing The Nose on El Capitan, but I like to think that I added my own chapter (or at least sweat and toe-lint) to this famous pair of Miuras.
After this I headed down to the South Platte area for some granite cracks and road biking with a much better looking climbing partner.
We had a great camp spot and 2 days climbing at the Turkey Rocks, with a day of cycling in between. The bike ride ended with a 1,600' hill climb, and I was definitely feeling the lung workout at 8,000'.
If I look upset its just because my lower extremities are being so badly burned.
The Turkey Tail crag hosts what is maybe Colorado's best concentration of good crack climbs, and I was happy to end the day on the best of the bunch, Whimsical Dreams, a 100' finger crack to a body-length roof at the top.
On the way back we stopped at Safeway. The checker refused to give us a 5-cent reusable bag credit for our 5 or 6 items, because we were just going to carry them out to the car rather than put them in a re-usable bag or pack. If I had gone out to the car to get a backpack, come back into Safeway, and put our items in the pack, then left the store, we would have scored that 5-cents! The moral of this story? Safeway has a stupid policy and I am a cheapskate.