Inspired Stone

Indian Creek
November 5, 2011, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Climbing | Tags: , ,

Two days after the first snow here in Boulder, I escaped to the Utah desert for an amazing weekend of climbing in Indian Creek. Indian Creek, which is about 50 miles south of Moab, is a crack-climbers dream come true. Miles of canyon and mesa, whose sandstone walls are splintered with vertical cracks of every size.

(The three walls, from left to right, are Beef Wall, The Fin and Cat Wall)

Most climbing guidebooks include photos with lines overlayed to illustrate the location and path of climbing routes. For the Indian Creek guidebook author, the task is easy. Here is my rendition of route overlays for Indian Creek,

The quality of the lines made it difficult to decide where to climb during our short stay. Everything look equally amazing. Most of the guidebook read like this:

4. Unnamed 5.10 splitter hands to fists.
5. Unnamed 5.10 splitter hands
6. Unnamed 5.11 splitter fingers
7. Unnamed 5.10 slitterer hands
8. etc.

I exaggerate slightly, but I’ve never seen or climbed such amazing cracks. For example, my first route of the weekend was called “Incredible Hand Crack”. It was. Most of the routes at Indian Creek have bolted rappel anchors at 100-150 feet, minimizing the adventure component, but elevating the fun factor. Beyond the anchors and interspersed between the established routes there appeared to be equally slitter cracks, so we did two other routes not in the book and found the rock a bit sandier in its unclimbed state. Not surprising given that it’s sandstone.

Beyond just the climbing, the setting of southeastern Utah is beautiful, with its red, orange and white sandstone walls and cottonwood creeks. I’m looking forward to many more trips to the canyon-lands.

First Snow
November 5, 2011, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Photo | Tags: , ,

The first snows of the year have fallen. During the first storm, the snow only pushed down as far as the Flatirons, so I hopped my bike and ran up the hill just in time stand under a new layer falling.

The real snow came last week and left a 10 inch carpet of white over town. Tree limbs fell under the weight. I crashed my bike on the way to work. I saw someone out on cross-country skis in the open space across the street. It looks and feels and smells like the mountains! Now I need to think about getting some skis to take advantage of the frozen element. And figure out which rocks dry out the fastest so I can get back to climbing.

Bike to Climb :: Rocky Mountain National Park
November 2, 2011, 2:38 am
Filed under: Mountain | Tags: , , , , , ,

I continued with the theme of using a bike to get into the mountains, but I took it to the next level. While living in Davis, I had contemplated biking to and hiking Pyramid Peak, near Lake Tahoe, but the whole experience would have been a massive bike ride with a little hiking tossed in. Now in Boulder, there are far more options for an excursion where the biking and climbing are more evenly split. The nearest high mountains are in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, but it seemed that there were better biking conditions a little north on highway 7 and I had still not been into Rocky Mountain National Park. So I settled on biking up to the Peak-to-Peak highway, ascending Meeker Ridge on Mt. Meeker, traversing over to Longs Peak and then reversing the route back home. It was incredibly satisfying to leave our driveway on a bike, touch the top of Longs Peak and then roll back home about 36 hours later. Here is a photo sequence that captures the experience.