25 July 2007

17 July 2007

Bouldering in the Valley .. that's the San Luis Valley

We found the SLV is host to GREAT bouldering.

We found square miles of boulders at Elephant Rocks, 1st photo on left. A little searching is required to find the better rocks because Elephant Rocks is an absolute maze! I can see creating some convoluted bouldering/ orienteering/ running circuits here. Just need some time ... Location is here!

The boulders under South Eagle Rock are built of cobbles & pockets of joy. See middle photo. Christy said it's like a combination of Maple Canyon and El Rito. The bouldering is a friggin' riot. At the top of every problem, we'd be saying - Wow, that was fun! There is good bouldering for kids too, see right photo above. We found this out the scary way. Julia yelled - Mama, Papa, I'm on top. Mia & I looked at each other and said - On top of what? as we scrambled to find which boulder she was on top of. Oh man! - what have we created?!

Oh, I forgot to mention that some of the boulders under South Eagle Rock (photo, topo) are big, bigger than some sport climbs. What is really fascinating though is what I'm calling South Eagle Rock itself. [Bob D'Antonio's guide to SLV describes the boulders as being under Eagle Rock. This is incorrect, at least in the old 1994 guide that I have. Later, we found the real Eagle Rock (photo, topo)]. If South Eagle Rock is of good quality as the boulders below, it needs attention!

Click on the photo mosaic above for more pictures!

16 July 2007

A hike up Mount Ouray

Looming about Mia & Julia is Mount Ouray (topo) - a 14'eer wannabe at 13,971'. Mount Ouray is in the Southern Sawatch range. We haven't done a peak in years. Now that Julia is getting bigger and stronger, we have a chance. Julia hiked to about 13,200'. With the clouds moving in, Christy & Dave volunteered to walk Julia down. Thanks Guys!!

More pics here!

10 July 2007

Exploring the SE San Juan Range

We made our first foray into the Southeastern San Juan range last weekend. This area is much less traveled than the "normal" San Juans, i.e. Silverton, Lake City, Durango, Ouray, Telluride etc. It does not have the jaw dropping rugged mountain views but it does have jaw dropping pastoral mountain views and remoteness.

Starting at Antonito, we drove west thru the beautiful Conejos River Valley. Lot's of crags on the North side of the road. After Horca, we headed generally NE toward Platoro Reservoir. Along the Lake Fork of the Conejos, I had trouble staying on the road while driving. I wasn't even drinking. There was SO MUCH ROCK of different types. Even if only a fraction of it were of climbable quality, it could be a destination area. I didn't see many cracks which means it would have to be developed (bolted). Unfortunately climbers in this region are rare. More on this another time since I didn't have time to stop and hike up.

We made a nice camp at Lily Pond Lake (11,900') near Stunner Pass. While getting firewood, I let Julia find her way back to camp. While great practice, I'm very glad it was practice. :-)

We drove up to Kerr Lake the next day. We hiked around the lake while teasing the fish. No go there. We did attract two DOW officers though. There was another group close by. The officers split up and one came towards each group. I couldn't see a uniform until the last 50 feet when he opened his vest. I did NOT like this approach and was worried about our family's safety until this point. I was getting into defense postion until at last I saw his uniform. He was a nice guy, of course, after we talked. Bad way to approach though. I could see being a DOW officer ... getting out in the forest on a daily basis.

We headed towards the Stunner mining camp, past the Crater Lake trailhead and then to the infamous Summitville - where the environment mining disaster happened. The entire area is worth much more exploring. We'll be back. This was only the first foray.

I mapped the general route here.
All the pics are here.

04 July 2007

A Crestone Independence Day Celebration

Tuesday night we had BBQ & beer at the Silver Crest Palace while listening to live music. The bar has 18 beer taps! That's right, 18 - and they're all in use. Talked to some nice folks while Julia found new friends to play with.

The morning of Independence Day, we ran the Crestone 5k race. Julia did great. It certainly helped that more new friends ran next to her. Yeah, we did a bit of walking but 3 miles is a long way for a 5 year old! (Me too ...)

More festivities later on .. live music, spiritual exhibits, etc ... could have been some food too but I forgot the wallet at home. Again Julia found her new, old friends to play with. Seems to be a common theme. It's certainly easier to find children here.

4th of July pics here!

BTW, That's Julia in the picture under 4 of the 14'eers - Challenger, Kit Carson and the two Crestones.

03 July 2007

Between Saguache and Ohio Pass

We drove 114 between Saguache and Gunnison (map). Beautiful country. Reminds me of Wyoming's South Pass region, south of Lander. By the time we reached North Pass (topo), I realized there was much to explore in this little traveled region. Yeah, 114 was paved but we had passed only a few vehicles since Saguache. Only need more time ...

Gunnison was bustling with activity. At a population of 5000, it was 10 times as populated as Saguache and Saguache has 8 times as many people as Crestone. It was fun. We stopped in a sports store to pick up fishing licenses and then to the climbing/ bike shop for a guide to Taylor Canyon. I hadn't climbed in Taylor Canyon for 27 years. Mia hadn't ever. I DID remember that Taylor was a funky place ..

We found a great place to camp at the North Bank campground. The site was next to the Taylor River and next to another site with 2 kids. Perfect for everyone. The in place for the kids to play turned out to be the bed in the truck. That made them easy to keep track of. Also we could walk to the crags.

The old guide we picked up left much to the imagination (c'mon Fred, where's that new Sharp End guide?). Climbing with Julia makes it a bit more of a challenge to pick out routes that we can get down from - ie. one pitch routes. We started w/ Tony's Tango (Mia leading), a really nice 5.6. I led Left Hand, a 5.8+. Both were exellent routes. I remembed why Taylor's Canyon is funky though .. realistic ratings can be obtained by adding a full grade to the grade in High Country Stone guide. Julia climbed and we toproped a few more routes - then it was HOT !!

So we headed up to Crested Butte for ice cream .. and did a driveby of the cliffs along Cement Creek when Julia fell asleep on the way. CB is fun. We had Pizza and beer too - after the ice cream. A scenic drive via Lake Irwin and Ohio Pass (pic) took us back to camp.

Sunday was to be hot also. Mia was still cooked so we drove to a small climbing area near Powderhorn hoping to find some shade. We did one climb in the sun and Mia called it quits. Even at 9000 feet, it was still too hot. The rock at Powderhorn looked like crap but was actually pretty decent. I'd come back if in the area.

Driving back via Powderhorn (map), Cebolla Creek, Cochetopa Pass was worth the detour. We also saw lot's of potential new crags ... just need more time.

Trip pics here !!