Monday, September 24, 2012

Longs Peak

Alec Sharp is one of the climbers who inspired me as a youth. He left the UK in 1982 and settled in Boulder CO. Jonathan Lagoe made contact with him during his stay in Boulder and through Jonathan I was lucky enough to get to know him as well.

The three of us climbed Longs Peak via the Loft Route and back down by the Keyhole Route. 7 Hours round trip. The weather was with us, it's raining this morning and snow is forecast for Longs Peak; winter has arrived in the mountains.

The Diamond
Alec Sharp on the Loft Route

On the Loft Route

Ice on the Loft Route

Saturday, September 22, 2012


A stupendous, funkadelic (yes, I've been here too long), 800 feet of high quality easy climbing on perfect rock in a beautiful, quasi wilderness/urban setting......alright if you like that sort of thing.

Low on Freeway, Boulder behind

A bit higher up

Near the top

A canny arch (Biffa)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fourteener Ticking

Crusher said:

Hi Andy, I just injured my shoulder a few days ago. Nothing too serious, inflamed bicep tendon area; not the first time but a bit worse than last time. I expect to be not climbing for a couple weeks or so, maybe until end of September before anything very difficult.

Ed said:

Hey, Andy, I took a 50 foot fall yesterday. Rappelling down a canyon. The anchor knot unravelled and I made it to the bottom in record time. However, due to my haste, I broke a few ribs and had some nice internal bleeding. I also saw my right elbow bones and tendons. It's not broken, just cut wide open. I'm in the Grand Junction hospital, St. Mary's. So I regret that I will be unable to make it to go climbing with you this week.

Bring on some 14er bagging.

The Grays, Torreys combo offers two peaks linked by a high saddle. I would have liked to have climbed Torreys by the Kelso Ridge (class 3) but strong winds and fresh snow put me off.

Climbing Grays Peak
Looking down the Kelso Ridge

The Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross combo is a neat four peak horseshoe centred around Kite Lake. Climbing Bross is discouraged because it is private land!

Looking south from Democrat
Aspens near the Hoosier Pass
Mount Bross
On the way to Lincoln

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Super Worthy at the Voo

After a life time of waiting we finally made it to Wyoming's legendary crack climbing destination, Vedauwoo.

Our crack technique may have been lacking but not so much as our essential Voo lexicon. As luck would have it, local crack meister Lenore Sparks was on hand to put us right.

Essential phrases added to our crack climbing vocabulary now include 'clip that shit', 'stick that shit', 'it's so sick', ' man pants' and of course 'super worthy'. No more embarrassment at the crag for us dudes!

The day finished with an extremely rare sighting of Black Moose. It must be a sign!

Big thanks to Lenore Sparks and Paul Hock for fantastic afternoon at the crag.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Ten Sleep

It's ten sleeps from a couple of big Indian camps in either direction (or was), before we killed them all. The town is small, a bit run down, has a couple of motels, a good cafe for breakfast and a bar with excellent beer and food. Bring any other food you might need; the gas station/store has limited choice. I really liked the place, the locals chat at the bar, and the cafe has a 'home cookin' feel about it despite the breakfast options being either 'Breakfast 1'or 'Breakfast 2'.

Limestone, a bit of a rarity in the US. Loads of it, and surprisingly good quality. The routes range from vertical to radically overhanging. Not much sub 5.10. We had three fantastic days hauling our aged bodies up routes until completely trashed and in need of a day off.

The guide book is bit crap. Lots of wasted space devoted to introverted Ted Nugent style weirdness. You get the picture with sectors such as Vietnam and Sex and Drugs. Route names; 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns', 'B1 Bomber Dude', 'Insane Hound Possie'.....

Go there, it's cool (as they say).


Monday, September 03, 2012

Crack Shock

Hot and slippy. Flaring cracks, not much for the feet. 10a feels like E2. Yes, we're having a hard time on Boulder Canyon cracks (not to mention Estes Park). Did I really climb that large piece of rock a thousand miles to the west, in-a-day? Feels like another life time now. Feels like a long way from Neist!

What I do remember about crack climbing (US style), is that you have to bang your head against it for a few days to reach some level of efficiency. Feet are key, trust them, and trust those slippy jams and perfect cams; easier said than done.

More of the same tomorrow.


Sunday, September 02, 2012


To the east, completely flat for 1630 miles, then sea. To the west mountains. Looking forward to a month of cragging in this climbing Mecca that I've only just got around to visiting; perviously written off as a few insignificant loose cliffs in the mid west. I was spending a lot of time in California at the time, none-the-less, a typically sweeping and overly generalised opinion.

I contacted a couple of old friends living in the Bay Area before leaving the UK to see if they had any climbing contacts in Boulder; shockingly neither of them knew anyone at all. How could that be? Main stream climbers from California not knowing anyone out of thousands of climbers resident in the Boulder area? Those Valley boys need to get away a bit more.

First on the list was a shopping trip down town on the push bike. After waving and nodding to a couple of hundred cyclist the task overwhelmed me; there's just too many of the buggers. I was feeling like Crocodile Dundee on his first day in New York.

A visit to the Patagonia Store, REI and the Apple Store. Those shop assistants are just so friendly! I was more than happy to hand over substantial amounts of cash in exchange for premium priced clothing and IT equipment and, even feeling up-beat, positive and communicative myself; laughing joking and generally enjoying the experience. A nauseous hangover awaits no doubt.