28 June 2007

Rain, Sunset and Views over the Valley

A few days ago we had a good rain, a nice rainbow, a stunning sunset but what pulled at me was a view of the vibrant San Luis Valley layered in green (see pic).

A hike to South Crestone Lake

As we headed up the trail, the views only became better as we looked west over the San Luis Valley. South Crestone lake was about 3000 ft above the trailhead. Shivani & Joe, local friends, joined us.

There was one variation to the excitement of the scenery as we headed up. I heard a deep "muuf" in a steep and heavily wooded area. I heard it again and knew what it was - a bear. Then Shivani heard it. Mia had moved ahead, by herself, to find a bush. Then we heard a louder "MUUF" and a crashing in the bushes. Sort of like a short charge. I started yelling to see if Mia was ok. No answser .. as we stayed together and moved up the trail calling to Mia. Finally she called back, not having a clue what had happened. We were relieved to say the least.

The lake was worth the hike. Julia especially like the dipping as always.

Julia did great. Mia carried her only a 1/2 mile on the way up. On the way down, about 1-1/2 miles from the trailhead, she finally said - Papa, my legs hurt. It was time. She did SO good hiking. I'm glad Joe was there to help carrying too! I was pretty beat. Good day!

Pics here!

25 June 2007

My sister visits Crestone

My sister finagled a conference in Denver with a few of her cohorts. They squeezed in some rafting near Buena Vista before staying the night at our place in Crestone. (Oh yeah - then they drove back and attended the conference.)

I didn't get much attention though. Julia got most of that!

We did get a decent picture together at least. It's pretty obvious that I got the good looks. Laura does look pretty good though ... for her age! I'm glad Laura doesn't live close or I'd be hamburger!! :-)

24 June 2007

New Rock Climbing Area Discovered Above Crestone

I've been looking for decent rock close to Crestone. Penitente Canyon is across the valley but that is a two hour roundtrip. Sure there's plenty of technical mountaineering routes above Crestone but these usually require a two day commitment. I'm looking for after work climbing or areas I can access for a day of fun.

After much scoping, I decided on a rock to check out in person. This is a serious decision because I only have time after work to run the recons. Of course, my experienced eye keeps the odds in my favor.

I started from Willow Lake TH and headed cross country. Up a hillside, down into a drainage, up a hillside, up a ridge and friggin' BINGO!! I lucked out and found my rock without much trouble. Effort - yes, trouble - no :-) And only a 1/2 hour approach.
I was expecting I would have it to myself to develop but it had been already found and developed. Routes had been bolted! The rock didn't lend itself to gear routes - hence the bolts.

We returned the next day, Saturday. First route was mine, a nice 5.8-. Then Mia led a 5.10/ 5.10+ depending on line and height. My line through the three overhangs was direct and reachy for my 5'-5" stature, leading to my grading of 10+ . This one needed more traffic. It was sort of gravelly in places. Then, I led one of the best short climbs of my life. It started as a traverse over a cave - instant exposure (see photo of me above). Then there was a belay but I continued w/ long slings to keep the rope drag down. The next bolt was 35 ft up but there were flakes everywhere. A sling over a flake kept my anxiety down. The sense of exposure was constant. The crux was bypassing a raptor's nest which was full of hair. After 190 ft of finesse, I sat on top, clipped the anchors and sucked in the view.
Finesse is required on this route, the granite is not as solid as Lumpy Ridge. I've climbed a lot of good routes over the years but this one really stands out - especially for a one / two pitch route!

Here's the cliff, I'll mark in the routes as I have time. Also I'll get some GPS coords. Stay tuned.

19 June 2007

Climbing at El Rito, New Mexico

We climbed here 3 years ago. We forgot how much fun El Rito (Mountain Project, map) was. I bet we'll back within 3 weeks. El Rito is similar to Maple Canyon, Utah in that the rock is cobbled. It's different because one usually pulls on the pockets between the cobbles. In Maple Canyon, one pulls on the cobbles.

Beside great climbing, it was also Mia's birthday on Saturday. We poked around in El Rito, for a restaurant, and found Walt's Place. Walt's was a beautiful, rustic place but lacked a liquor license. Luckily, I could pick up a bottle of wine close by. We had pork ribs all around. Julia loves ribs. We'll be back!

I don't know if the climbing suited us or if the grading was soft but we both pulled off a 5.11a on Father's Day. We really hadn't been climbing that much lately.

We took off a bit early to swim at Abiquiu Reservoir and drive thru Chama on the way home. What a drive! Lot's of eye candy! Trip pics here!

14 June 2007

The land where nuns drive pickup trucks

I did a double take on a large white object sitting on the driver's head. A bit more focus and I figured it out. It was a nun wearing a habit driving an old beater pickup truck. This was Crestone, Colorado (map, sangres.com).

We're breaking away from Boulder for awhile. Our Crestone renter was taking a vacation and we "needed" to fill in. Luckily we have a fast internet connection so we can work. Julia is going to the Rahula Community Preschool.

It will be interesting living in rural Colorado. Crestone fills a nice little pocket of the San Luis Valley and the eye candy in the valley is awesome! It's a lot quieter than the Colorado front range but will it be too quiet? So far not. Climbing, hiking and biking is working fine and oh yes .. working. One thing is the same as Boulder. Crestone has a B20 pump (20% biodiesel). More to come ...

Oh yeah, Julia's pushing the 5.7 climbs at Penitente Canyon - especially if we pull her just a little. :-)

04 June 2007

Flowers busting up the yard!

The wet, cool spring have the flowers busting some colors in the yard. I've made an attempt at photographing and naming them. Help me if you can.

Here's the flower pictures so far. I'll add as I find more.

Oh yeah, I think the flower to the left is a Western Spiderwort.

03 June 2007

Climbing and Camping at Sinks Canyon, Wyoming

We found a great camp in Sinks Canyon State Park with the Popo Agie (pronounced "po PO' zha") River backing the camp site. The river was a bit loud with the spring runoff. We didn't complain too much though because we could see this view from the site.

Some kids adopted Julia the next morning or was it the other way around? This really made the trip for Julia. Especially on Sunday, when we took all the kids climbing ...

Climbing was good. Cool on Saturday, warm to hot on Sunday. A little heat was nice after the cool temps at home in Colorado. From the cliffs, we could see the Wind River Range to the West. Can't beat that! Click on the picture above will display a better view of the Winds to Julia's left.

More photos here !