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."
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