Saturday, January 31, 2009

Helldorado Brings . . . the Pain

Yet another beautiful January day for some outdoor climbing. I'm starting to feel spoiled! Anticipating at least a semi-muddy day after our recent accumulation of precipitation, I was surprised to find, after a drive to Eldo in clear-blue skys, that dry conditions prevailed. On the way to meet David and Ashley, driving south on I-25 with John, I couldn't help but think about the upcoming season and the treasures that lie in wait while whizzing past signs pointing to Rocky Mountain National Park (if I can give my body adequate time to heal!).

The often heard, and rarely seen Climbqwatchly

With intentions on at least touching "Elegant Universe" and running late, as usual, I was content to see Ashley, David, Autumn, and Sierra next to the Keg Boulders. Having never been to Eldo, I was excited and ready to climb anything (I hadn't yet taken a gander at the Gill Boulder). Unfortunately, David and Ashley's plans weren't spoiled due to a "flexible" schedule, but because on their initial hike up, Autumn tripped and bumped her head pretty hard on a rock, creating a fairly deep gash.

A couple of stitches and another hike, and this is what Autumn looked like. Ah, the resiliency of children. I only wish my tips could withstand pain like Autumn's forehead!

David and Ashley were busy working on the Keg Traverse, while John and I fooled around on some of the "easier" lines, eager to eat our skin. David was diligently putting his time into the "V5" while Ashley wasn't at all intimidated by David's suggestion that "because she had done every other line on the Keg Boulders, Ashley should lap the Keg Traverse." Sandbagging is harder to take when you're the one being sandbagged.

David, working the Keg Traverse
Giving it the evil eye
Ashley "floating" through her laps.

Mid break, David pointed out a Bald Eagle that was taking advantage of the strong winds flowing through the valley, reminding me of my fascination with birds of prey dating all the way back to 3rd grade. While I've seen a lot of wildlife in the 25 years I've lived in Colorado, this is perhaps only the second time I have been granted the opportunity to watch a wild Bald Eagle in flight. In fact, the only other time I can think of seeing a Bald Eagle in the wild was . . . climbing in Red Feather! What wonderful opportunities this activity bestows its participants.

We finished out the day on Chip's Arete with a fun/committing top out.
John working it out.
Having managed to climb a few of the problems, John and I packed up as the wind attempted to usher in our departure. Hiking out, looking forward to dipping our sore hands in the cold water of the stream, John's keen eye picked out this little "gem" of a rock.

I wonder if this could truly be the Volcom stone?

I'll definitely be heading down to Eldo again in the future, though I may be unable to parade past the Gill Boulder, which I had to check out prior to our return to Fort Collins. Some beautiful lines are waiting for my skin upon my return.

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