Friday, February 26, 2016

Ouray: Short, but SWEET!

The trip to Ouray was awesome as a result of different connections I created over the last several years. First of all, I was able to stay at a friend's place, which was much more comfortable than any hotel could be - for free! Connected with several people I have not seen in years, met a few more I have known through the interwebz, met new people and climbed with a few who I am happy to call good friends. So thanks all who made the trip a very social and enjoyable time. Thanks to you, I could not justify taking a rest day, as I wanted to climb with ALL of you, every day. That is my excuse for not sending M12s in drytooling caves! Just kidding, I didn't even try them. Before the trip I never led an M6, so my goals were more moderate than M12. :) Getting comfortable climbing rock in crampons, without pissing people off at a local sport crag was the goal. I believe it was accomplished. 

Special thanks to Jim for inviting me out and letting me stay at his house. Giant thanks to Paige for being an awesome host while Jim is sending the gnar in Chile. Giant thanks to everyone who made awesome company, shared climbs, belays, made food, shared stories and everything else that made this trip enjoyable. Who needs heaven when this sort of life is an option? Hanging out with dead relatives for eternity? Fuck that. Boring. Wish I could continue waking up early, making breakfast, going out to climb and returning to make an amazing group dinner.Well, too much good for a prolonged time and it may seem boring too. Back to work, back to daily grind, back to training...

Days in Ouray - 9
Rest days - 0
Pitches - about 65
Met and climbed with many new people
Led my FIRST M6, M7 AND an M8.
A LOT of learning, a lot of fun, many awesome dinners. 

Awesome routes:
Birdbrain Boulvard (1200 ft M6 Wi5) to the Ribbon (500 ft wi4) Link Up - awesome day.  Route which I heard a lot about did not end up feeling challenging, but pure fun. Felt very easy for the grade.
The Rusty Cage M7 - climb left of the Birdbrain Blvd and the Ribbon. Whatever I did not get on BBB, I got here. Sustained, technical drytooling, stemming, heady and awesome. (although we did not do the last pitch, as my friend had to be at work at Ridgeway by 4:30pm, but that one is the shortest and easiest one as I understand, we got through m4/5R pitch, two M6 and the crux m7 pitch, which had a fairly serious runout to the anchor)
Jesus Built My Fingercrack - cool climb, getting over the overhanging curtain is fun.
Tic Tac - first M6 sent. M7 next to it was good for techy TR laps.
Seamstress - first M8 pinkpointed brah, right of tic tac
Choppo's Chimney, WI4-5
The Local Scoop  M7 - pretty hard for m7!
Killer Pillar, WI5+ M5+ R - top roped in the end of a day after climbing Chopo's. Holy shit, the pillar part was so fragile and sketchy that I felt the whole thing was gonna crush on top of me. Long warm spell likely had something to do with it. Don't think I want to climb pillars in the end of warm days, even on top rope!
Tourist Trap  WI4+ M5 - damn awesome climb.
Ames Ice Hose - striking line and awesome climbing. Very photogenic.
Maid to Order  M7 - desperate on TR, on the 3rd day in a row of hard climbing. I guess it is sequency?
Going Retro  M6 - first m6 onsighted, but not the last. Next day, led it again and onsighted another m5 or 6 left of it after warming up on some m4 and climbed another m7 or 8 right of it. Than lapped the shit out of them to get used to drytooling, than climbed Chopo's twice and Killer Pillar.
Whorehouse Hoses Wi 4-5 (Eureka), than drove back to the park to sent Seamstress, on the last day. haha
Lots of TR laps on harder mixed lines and cruiser ice.

Next time I go to Colorado for ice, it will likely be to Vail, as Octopussy seems like one of the wildest mixed routes I have seen, in a photo. It was a bit far from Ouray and I did not feel ready to attempt a lead of it during this trip, as I didn't really know what to expect from myself on such terrain. Before the trip, I did only four days of ANY sort of mixed climbing, so there is a lot of room for improvement on such terrain. Even now I have no idea if I have the skills to do something so overhanging and wild as the Octopussy. One thing for sure, the Black Diamond Cobras are not the tools I would want to use on it and I would have to add more endurance on overhangs if I want to stand a chance.
Mixed cragging is awesome and all, but at the moment the goal is to get ready to go to Alaska and attempt some unclimbed stuff. Climber's don't perform figure fours and all of the acrobatics when they are climbing new routes on actual mountains. To get into great shape will be more essential than being able to stick a sweet crimp or bat-hang, for now....