Mt. Evans Unveiled

It's Saturday morning and my alarm goes off at 4:30AM for the second week in a row...

What am I doing? Groggily, I remember that to satisfy the crucial drive/climb time ratio, Nick Murray and I need to leave at 5AM in order to get in enough climbing time to make it worth the trip, since I need to be home by 6PM.

We made excellent time to Idaho Springs and the hike went down faster than expected and we found ourselves rock hopping at Area A by 8AM.

This was my first time to Mt. Evans and I was impressed by the beauty of my surroundings - a clear mountain stream, deep green plant life, mountain goats styling it on high slabs, and of course, gorgeous blocks as far as the eye can see.

The sun still hadn't made its way to us, so the temps were nicely brisk and we warmed up on the classic Ladder problem. Then we played a bit on the lines to the right (Zorro section?) and worked a little bit harder on the far right arete than we would've liked for a warmup. Nick styled a sweet mantle for the final move off quartz sloping crimps. I resorted to an all-out-throw-to-the-lip finish just as the sun was starting to bake the slopers. Only now did we start to have visitors show up...

Then it was on to Bierstadt. One of Nick's friends gave us his beta to this problem that looks like it could have many different methods. We set to work and it seems pretty solid. The rock is much more coarse than what we were on a week ago in RMNP. It made for forgiveness on more desperate moves, but punished the skin for not being precise. I had a moment of clarity and fell going for the last hold below the lip - So close! All subsequent attempts only resulted in heartache, so we moved on. I'd love to come back and send this problem.

Nick and I headed up to the Dali Wall, passing by All Dogs Go To Evans, Silverback and other sweet lines that I'd only heard about before this trip. Above Dali, we also saw The Big Worm. Impressive.

We started to work on Dali, cursing the awkward and devious low starting moves, but eventually figuring them out and getting them smooth. I wasn't able to stick the left-handed gaston the entire time, but Nick was so close to sending. Instead of being bummed about the whole line, I did the dyno and topout, which was perfect. I "warmed down" (with way too much effort) on the lines above Dali: a cool face climb, an arete line, and a crimp-sidepulls to a ledge problem. I was beat and it was time to go.

We hiked out without issue and I even made it home on time. It's results like this that will tell my amazing wife that I can do this stuff again!

Alas, I have no media to remember the trip by... wait... I think I have a clip of Nick on Dali, but it'll have to wait to be compiled with more "close calls."


Finally, with an open weekend and it being a fee-free weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park, it was time to head up to the Park. I hadn't been up since August of 2007, which was pretty much just a scouting mission with the fam.

Codi and I left the Springs a little after 5am, hoping to get to the Bear Lake parking lot before it filled up. Fortunately, the crowds I'd anticipated hadn't shown up. We could have easily slept in a few hours...

Byron and Nick arrived shortly after us and we headed out to Emerald Lake. Everything was new for me, so I got to play on the Kind Boulder and found another cool problem nearby.

Mullet Power for Mr. Murray on the Kind Boulder

Coordinating Tojo on the Kind Boulder.

Codi getting a taste of real rock again...

Byron and Nick looked super-strong on Whispers of Wisdom. I faltered and ended up tweaking my left bicep on the first move. Special, I know...

The next objective was to check out Chaos. I've seen boulders covered in snow, but I had no idea how much snow was up there! Unreal.

The glacier we were crossing in Lower Chaos.
A picture I took of the warm-up boulder in 2007 vs. Saturday... That's like 15 feet of snow!!!

Nick pondering beta for Deep Puddle Dynamics
Next up was Deep Puddle Dynamics. The boys had some great burns on this thing while I sulked about my arm. There was an amazing cone of snow remaining at the base, which was interesting to try to place the pads around. One guy from Bulgaria did an awesome straddle on it after trying some crazy beta on DPD. If I'd been doing my job, I would've gotten it on video...
I found a problem up from DPD, short and on crimps that didn't aggravate my arm to help me remember that I did get on some sweet stuff today.
As we packed up to find any other quick hits... the clouds that had been looming all day decided to open up. What started as us hoping for a 15-minute sprinkle turned into an all-out-dash for cover in a downpour of rain, hail and lightning. Pretty intense.
Wet sucks.
All survived, and Nick and Byron were even able to dry off enough to climb again the next day. I'm stoked about heading back later-on in the season... more prepared and with the fam!
Note: I've got a few video clips, but no sends... Figured it wasn't worth putting together...