Summer is slipping by in Estes Park. We’re in the tiring routine of going up to Chaos Canyon, usually upper chaos, 5 to 6 days a week. With the commute and having to deal with the large volume of tourists in town and up in the parking lot it is quite energy consuming, and on top of that we’re working around our work schedules… Sometimes that means making it down early, others it means heading up to climb afterwards.
I’ve had a lot of success this past week or so.
First, I managed to climb Blood Money (V12). I had hurt my shoulder on it this past August so it felt great to do it. I did it my second session on it this time around, falling at the very end the two goes before my send, slipping off the slopey lip.
On the send go it went flawlessly. Funny enough I tweaked my shoulder again on it, but this time it was surely worth it right? After a couple days off and some lighter climbing it feels one hundred percent again. Blood Money has a shoulder intensive red point crux near the end and I guess my body just really doesn’t like doing it. No matter, that’s the past now!
I also did a rarely done highball in Upper Chaos, Skipping on the Roof (V9). It’s probably 25-30 feet tall, and has a rock slab that follows it up. The crux is near the top and needless to say, it would suck to skitter down the slab and into a the pit that it climbs out of. Conor Barthel and I worked it out one afternoon while it was in the sun and figured out a somewhat safe way to try the crux. The crux revolves around a long double bump off two small and insecure holds. We figured as long as your feet didn’t pop, you would just sit back against the slab and not take the imposing slide. Neither of us committed to the send that day. I ended up back there a couple days later and the rock felt good. First go I climbed into the crux, committed and exploded off the wall. My foot stayed and I harmlessly sat back against the slab. Whew! Our theory was right! The next go I pulled through to the top, though I did crumble an edge while I was doing it.. Pretty exciting. Conor also did it later that day.
We had a few painful days of waiting out rain. It was productive though and we got a lot of things done we had been meaning to.
The rain broke a couple days ago, and we decided an early morning start was the way to go. We headed back up to Upper Chaos. I wanted to try Wildcat (seems like V12 for sure), an incredible, and very tricky line in Upper Chaos that I’d put a considerable amount of effort into. After warming up and fumbling the first part of it once, I managed to pull through the delicate and powerful sequence and fought my way through the final slopey holds to the top. Wild Cat is my new favorite problem in Chaos, I think. It’s really precise the way I climb it, has all the tricks in the book, it’s long.. And fun.
Yesterday the conditions were very good. We went up to Lower Chaos and I put a good session in on Nuthin’ But Sunshine (V13). It went pretty well and I’m headed back tomorrow to try it again. In the middle of the day we went over to a thorn in my side, Element of Surprise (V12). I had done the right exit, Running Scared previously, and had tinkered around with the direct finish (Element of Surprise) more than I wanted to. I finally refined my beta, and with the good conditions on my side managed to climb from the bottom and finish it. After more flailing we called it a day.
Erin has a bunch of great projects she’s close on, we have some good friends in town, and the weather is looking pretty darn good.
The summer will keep slipping by…