3 weeks of climbing outside!
After the first half of this year being full of competitions and climbing indoors I have finally managed to spend some time away from plastic and done nothing but climb outside! My knowledge of the bouldering in Colorado was pretty minimal and before I knew it I was learning that the hikes were long and hard and the altitude was intense. Our first adventure took us to Lincoln lake, Mt Evens. You park at 13000ft and walk down to 12000ft the walk down is steep and the air feels so thin. Climbing down here was hard work and I got very short of breath but I was so psyched to be out on rock. The hike out was HARD but extremely satisfying. Despite the hard walk out we returned to Lincoln a couple more times and I got a few boulders done here I think the most enjoyable and pleasing was a V9 called Rebellion.This boulder was so much fun to climb and there was a big move that I couldn’t make in the middle, this meant I had to jump to a small crimp instead of a big just… check out the video here.
After a week of the alpine bouldering experience I was so so tired and ready spend a week in bed. Not only had we been climbing almost every day Mina and I were psyched on training too so lots of pull ups are press ups were happening before breakfast! I had done some amazing climbing in the first week of my trip and seen some beautiful sites. Being in Boulder, getting out climbing and spending time with like minded, psyched people has been amazing and ever more enhanced my passion and love for the sport.
I talk a lot about trying hard and putting every thing you can into a boulder which is something that has totally transformed my climbing this year and has definitely made me much stronger mentally and physically both in training and in competition. However, this is not something that I had ever tried to translate onto rock. I guess mainly because I rarely get outdoors. On this trip I have got onto boulders ready to try hard and get to the top. I have felt holds on a climb and thought ‘as if I can hold that’ and gone on to complete the boulder in a few tries and I have held on so tight that I cut the side of my finger. I climbed an amazing V11 called Whispers of Wisdom, a magical line of good spaced out holds up a steep wall with a 20m slab to finish. I don’t think I have ever tried so hard on anything. After working the moves and trying to find some girly beta I was exhausted (not forgetting the 40minute hike at elevation). I had one go and got pretty far but felt absolutely wasted! I knew I could do the moves so I knew I could do the boulder, so despite my tiredness I pulled on once more after a good rest and decided to give everything I had left and it was all required. I fought my way up, got insanely pumped and unbelievably terrified but I made it.
Most of my time in Colorado was full of trying hard, getting very hot and having BBQ’s. Conditions were far from perfect which made climbing hard extremely difficult. I managed to get in some good boulders including a V12 called Mind Matters (possibly V11). On the same day I did this I also managed to flash Dark Horse V10. Dark horse is a very impressive line with the crux right at the top. By the time we got round to trying it it was pitch black! I can be quite a wuss at times, I get scared doing big moves high up even indoors. I was so psyched to flash this boulder because the crux is a huge move to an edge right at the top. Unfortunately I didn’t get any footage of Dark Horse but check out the video of Mind Matters below.
I also managed to complete another V12 called Riddles in the Park. This boulder was an amazing power endurance line through a steep roof, so much fun! This boulder is at Upper Chaos and the hike up there is so hard! I tired the moves and made a few links but I was too tired to complete it on day one but we headed back up there the very next day. I took the walk slowly attempting to conserve some energy and it must have worked. I got the boulder second try, totally unexpected and I was so excited!
I had not known what to expect coming out here. My trip was booked very last minute and I had kinda expected to have 3 weeks of chilling out and doing bits of climbing here and there. A day out alpine bouldering makes for a very full day, the hike always ensures you feel like you have done more than enough even before any climbing. Although the walk ins are hard the sites are beautiful and the climbing has been fun. Climbing out in the mounains is such an amazing experience you can get so far away from everything and just be.
Climbing into the night hours away from the car can be a little scary especially after we saw a bear, but it is a peaceful and eerie experience totally worth it for better conditions.
I have had almost 3 weeks here in the warm temperatures and I am so happy with how much I have managed to get done! There are boulder problems here that I would really like to come back and try in cooler temperatures. I spent no more than 2 days on a boulder problem here and this excites me for what I could try on longer trips in better conditions.
I managed to fit in some chill out time too, shopping, going to the water park, floating down a very shallow rocky river on a tube and even a cake competition. Mina and I won with our amazing hand shapped split tipped lemon cake. David Mason has possibly the worst skin ever! So to celebrate his birthday we made this…
I would like to say a big thank you to Jackie and Chris for letting me stay at their place! It has been amazing to be surrounded by psyched climbers. Also David Mason and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk you are both amazing thanks for letting me come out climbing with you! All image and video credits go to Mr Mason!
I now get to spend a couple of weeks in the UK. I will compete in the British Bouldering Championships before heading to Magic Woods for some more hot temperatures, bad conditions, chilled out relaxed climbing…?