Melting in Boulder, Colorado

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a (daily and) predictable occurrence in ‘rado

I have just returned from a week in Colorado- THANKS to the American Alpine Club for allowing me to be a host climber for the Iranian Women’s Climbing meet.

I didn’t get to realize my dream of climbing the Diamond, but I did meet and see lots of old and new friends, as well as, get to sample climbing in Estes Park – which I had never done before.

Please see: http://www.climberpassionate.com for a story about climbing Hallet’s Peak with the AAC.

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a happy climber

On my last day, I was fortunate to climb with a friend of a friend, Robert Thomas. We went to Eldorado Canyon and climbed on the very popular Bastille. We only had until noon – which is good because its so darn hot anyways. We climbed Wide Country into Outer Space. Super quality and exciting climbing.

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Robert crushing the last pitch.

I guess I’ll mention that I now have more head space issues since my accident. I have them on all grades, 5.8 and 5.12! I mostly just have anxiety when I am climbing on gear. I am moving well and feeling strong, but I cannot shake all the thoughts about pulling gear and the potential of bad falls. It takes me more time to trust my belayers. I move slower, as I spend way too much time thinking about all the potential consequences. I don’t actually think this is a good use of time, but perhaps it’s part of the recovery process? I hope so, because I think I am not enjoying climbing as much. I am still very ambitious, but I have more fun on top-rope than I used to. I am proud of a good lead, but I question whether the extra anxiety is worth the effort.

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lovin’ the lichen

On pitch 2 of our day, I came up to a place where there were a couple pins protecting a run-out 5.10 move with a bigger reach. I trusted the pins, I trusted my belayer. The consequences of a fall looked bad. Lower angle small ledges graced the fall zone. After a few tries, I realized I had no interest in even really trying. I actually physically felt like my mind couldn’t convince my body to try. Luckily, I found an easier way to ‘walk’ around this section. Coming in just above and finding some gear and carrying on with a fantastic pitch of well-protected climbing.

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fun movement

There has been a lot of discussion recently in the Bow Valley about whether to ‘retro-fit’ some classic alpine rock with bolted anchors and more protection bolts.

I can see both sides of the argument. It is sad that recently a climber had a bad accident due to a lack of bolts in our neighborhood.

Is it the climber’s fault that they didn’t have the judgement to back off of this climb? I believe in the theory of evolution that near-misses lead to judgement. BUT, some people get luckier than others.

So the question is: Do we want to increase access to our “road-side” rock?

Bolts increase access and safety. 

On one hand there is the argument that we are “dummying” down the sport. How will climbers learn to climb run-out choss?

On the other hand, my professional rescue friends, want to see LESS rescues.

I actually, cannot help but agree. From my perspective, I want climbing to be accessible to as many people who want to get involved. It continues to enrich my life. I think its the healthiest addiction I have.

In the Canadian Rockies, there is no shortage of bad rock and bad pro. If you cannot to find it, I can show you where to go.

BUT there are a shortage of climbs easier than 5.10 and 5.8 to safely learn our sport on.

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2 Comments

Filed under Alpine Climbing, Friends, Guiding, inspiration, Multi-pitch climbing, Rock Clamberin

2 responses to “Melting in Boulder, Colorado

  1. doug orr

    i took a huge fall a long time ago. i ripped out some gear, fell 40 feet and landed just above the talus head first. no injuries at all but it still makes me think to this day what could have been. it also made me the sport climber i am now. can’t climb if you are dead! i think a lot of people forget what we are really doing out there. consequences each time we step up to the cliff. saying that, there is not much better than rock climbing. golf won’t cut it. have fun bud and be safe!

    • jen

      Thanks Doug! There is an increase in grey matter as we get older which increases common sense, but hopefully not so much that we’d quit? ; )

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