Sunday, November 23

Little Victories

It's been about 3 months since I got back into climbing again with only about a month of anything even remotely resembling serious attention. Lately darkness, cold weather and lack of any other "bum" partners has led me to being a twice a week gym rat. I've climbed up to 5.11- and been really solid in the 5.10's but hey, it's the gym on top rope, so I can't put any serious weight behind that. This weekend the weather was finally warm enough to climb outside so after debating attempting the first flatiron (easy but long), Marni felt better about trying some single pitch routes instead.
This afternoon saw us hike into the Amphitheater from Chautauqua with a few old routes and some new ones on the agenda. I am rocking the new UGH smiley on my helmet :)
Marni got to try out her new R1 hoody I snagged used off of BPL. Wifey likes hoody's.
We started off in the Amphitheater proper and I led a quick pitch to play with my new hex's and setup an anchor at the top of the west bench.
Then I popped down and Marni did a few laps to get used to climbing outside again.
Once she had done a few laps I headed back up to the top and belayed her up from the top anchor. It sure was a pretty day for climbing even if it was still a bit chilly.
I cleaned the anchor and we moved over to the third pinnacle. We'd climbed here before but I'd only top roped the 5.7 route "Trident" while Marni had climbed the 5.4 "Thin Crack."
Today I headed up Trident on lead and despite having no gear to protect the roof itself (I only have passive pro), I sent it easily and without falling. With the crux down I slotted another piece to Marni's happiness and sent the rest of the route. Another quick 3 piece top anchor with some bomber hexs and I lowered off for Marni's turn.
Me placing some gear above the roof.
Woohoo, go trad climbing. I'm much better at keeping my head cool now compared to when I first tried climbing as a college freshman. Marni got her first in person look at what trad leading really means today though. After I lowered off, Marni was bold and decided to try the same line. She's climbed a couple 5.9's in the gym so she must have felt brave and I knew she could do it. When she got to the roof, I think it was bigger than she thought! She kept going though and after one fall, she sent it on her second try. I climbed the line once more to clean the anchor and hiked around the back of the third pinnacle to get back to Marni.

The sun was going down and it was getting cold but I had one more line in mind. There is a line called the Red Wall that I tried years ago when I first started climbing and never made it to the first bolt. Apparently it was rated 5.10c but on Mountain Project it's downgraded to 10a. Nevertheless it would be my hardest outdoor lead by far.
The line has 4 bolts to the top anchors with the first bolt way off the ground. I climbed the start slotting a couple so-so nuts to protect an early ground fall. I clipped the first bolt and felt really excited and also pretty committed as I was now higher than I'd consider soloing. A few more moves and with my freezing right hand on a solid hold, I blew my feet. I called "falling!" and Marni caught me. Nice, first (recent) lead fall out of the way. Marni lowered me back to a solid stance and I tucked my hands under my armpits. They finally warmed back up and I ignored the flapper now adorning my right middle finger. I regained my highpoint and continued up. It was a long way to the next bolt but I made it and clipped quickly. Another bolt, then one more with Marni cheering me to the top. Finally the top anchors and a tiny ledge was in sight. Another good move brought me up and I clipped. Woohoo! I made it!
Marni took my picture while I was at a good stance and then she lowered me down to clean the line. She pulled the rope and we hiked out. My first 5.10 lead in the bag! Holy cow, I honestly wasn't expecting that.
It was fun to climb something for once I wasn't sure I could do and Marni rewarded me with a 0.75 BD Camalot at Neptunes. One piece at a time I'll get a trad rack.
We snagged some groceries and headed home. Riding on Saturday and some climbing on Sunday, that was a nice weekend.

Friday, November 14

Friday Reading

Fall is a time for reflection and I've been doing plenty. Where I've been, where I am, where I desire to go. Then how to get there is the next step.

Some interesting reading for the day. Don't forget, you are in control of you!

If you think you haven't yet done enough, and you could do more, you might begin to understand that, the more capable you become, the higher the mountain rises ahead of you.

Afternoon addition:
I also liked this article. Suffering has been my strength but I think I was a bit lacking in a few ways last year. Many areas improved but a few probably went backwards. I'll have to work on that.

"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." - Emil Zatopek

Tuesday, November 11

White Rim this weekend

Thinking about a desert camping weekend with a little WRIAD on Saturday. Anyone that's interested, drop me a line to get the details. Denver people I can possibly help arrange transportation.

Monday, November 3

Kicking it into fall

To say I haven't been training lately would be a big fat lie. I have been, just not like normal or primarily on my bike. I've been running (starting to feel great finally), rock climbing, hiking and getting out on my bike when people or a particular ride strikes my fancy. But with winter approaching and Denver's lingering warm weather, I'm loathe to spend any time indoors or outdoor time on the same old rides. Soon enough, winter will limit my choices. Give them purpose or give me something new. So we were off to Fruita to ride with friends and enjoy the fall colors.Lots of time to goof around on jumps and work on technical skills. Something that I often neglect during those training binges where getting hurt from a fall is especially bad. Moore fun IS more fun and maybe I finally found a few people who will give it a repeat with me :)Plenty of time to hang around the campsite at night and take part in bike toss and barrel racing debauchery and a few beers.Did I mention we were having fun jumping demo 29ers? In light of this and other recent experiments, it appears I will have a 29er of my own to test out during the winter.But since we can't stay in Fruita all week, we had to return home. Never fear, there is plenty to do near our house. Like climb the 3rd Flatiron which I've done a few times recently.Once with wifey.
Once with Josh.And another time with (another) Dave. I didn't want to neglect the big mountains either so Marni and I climbed La Plata with the pup. Turbo loves the snow as much as ever and so do I. I'm still getting my cold bones for the year though, they became quite fond of t-shirts and shorts weather this summer. Time to buckle down and get my Polish side ready for rides below freezing, snow groveling and brutal winds. None of that however on this day.14,336 feet above sea level with my sweetie! Numero 16 as a couple and numero 14 for Turbo. Plus KNITWEAR (for mom) ;)A little careful off roading with the Element. I really can't ask for a better single car for an active, outdoor Colorado couple. Mountain mobile, hotel, bike hauler, almost 30mpg if I'm nice to it and Honda reliability.And when you're sweetie is at work, a little 103 mile day ride to Rollins Pass (11.6k), is a good substitute for company.If all that makes you tired or you get the sniffles, you can always curl up in bed and get plenty of more stoke reading these. (I need issue 17 plus 0-8 and 10-12 please...)Tomorrow's excitement...the ZOO with Marni's Kinders.