Archive for September, 2014

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch September 2014

We went to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch with the usual climbing group and standard trip dates (left late Friday/came back on Sunday). HCR has been one of my favorite places to climb at and is like an outdoor gym. The bolts are well maintained and the routes are plentiful. Furthermore, they really play into our strengths (at our gym), with bigger holds and bigger moves (as opposed to smaller, technical climbing like in South Dakota). I was pretty worried about this trip for a few reasons: For one, my left hand had a hole in it a little more than a month before the trip and that wound was still healing. I have a little lost sensation in the tip of the pointer finger as well, so that’s either good or bad for me (yet to be determined). Secondly, I hadn’t seriously climbed in about a month and was still feeling super unhealthy from eating on the cruise/not exercising as much. My climbing endurance was really awful and I was getting burned after a few climbs.

We got in around midnight and thankfully our friend set up our tent for us. We knew it would be pretty busy because it was Labor Day weekend and it was important to get a spot early.

Day 1-

We decided to do the farther approach to the East side of the park to avoid the crowd. Our first area was Roman Wall, where I did an interesting arete climb (5.10a).

If you look closely, you can see the massive overhanging part above me- those routes were pretty damn hard (5.12+).

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We did a hard crimp problem after that, which was a 5.11c. It was 5.10 climbing up until the last two bolts, where it was a tough sequence. All in all, a pretty tough climb but a fun one.

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We finished day 1 on some easier climbs (5.10s and 9s) due to it starting to rain. The area we finished on (Magoo Rock) was pretty neat and I would like to go back there. It didn’t rain too badly and we grilled some brats/hung out around the camp fire.

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Day 2-

We decided to stay closer to the camp and go to the North 40, an area with a high concentration of climbs with varying difficulty. The North 40 is a great area and we stayed there pretty much the entire day. I felt pretty warmed up from the approach and skipped climbing an easier route first.

There is a 5.12a that I tried the very first time I went to HCR two years ago. They have pre-fixed draws at the top (where the crux is), which is why I enjoyed climbing it. The climb itself is easy 5.10 climbing up until the crux, which is easily 5.12. It’s a massive move from an under cling to a bad shallow pocket to a pretty bad sloper. Anyways, I couldn’t get it the first time I did it and I didn’t get it this time, either. Tough problem!

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We continued to climb in that area and there was some good stuff there (varying 5.10s and 9s).

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After some rest, we decided to do ‘Big Top’, one of our favorite climbs we’ve done. It’s a 5.11c with two cruxes; one on the third clip and one on the 5th clip. The first is a sequence where you don’t have many feet and are doing some pull ups (on decent holds) while over hung. The second is a massive move to a decent sloper above a ridge. I did alright on this climb and had to get a few takes (I fell on the big move). I think that in the future, we’re going to try to project this one and really try to get it clean.

Here are some photos of that:

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We continued to do some easier stuff in the meantime and ate some lunch. Feeling tired and sore, we decided we were going to drive back home that night (8 hours) after climbing. We finished on a fun 10 and then left around 5 pm. Fun time, as always!

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Alaska/South Dakota/Colorado

Hey guys, long time no update. August was a tremendously busy month and I went to Alaska for a family cruise, South Dakota on a climbing trip, and Colorado for a week to visit.

Alaska– We did a 7 day cruise with my extended family to Alaska. It was sort of a family reunion of sorts and I enjoyed myself (despite cruises not being my cup of tea). I ate like a degenerate and while there were exercise rooms, I still gained weight and felt unhealthy. I also had the opportunity to meet my business partner in person, which was a fun experience. Here are some photos of that time:

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Spearfish, South Dakota (Climbing)– Spearfish was an interesting time. The rock was pretty slick (limestone) and not as featured as some of the other places I have climbed at. The climbing was characterized by smaller pockets and fewer feet on the wall, which made for harder climbs. The ratings were pretty stiff as well and we definitely got humbled climbing there.

I have mixed thoughts on Spearfish. I think that I would enjoy the climbing more at that location if I were stronger/a better climber. There weren’t a ton of easier climbs (5.10 >), which was the main target for our group. Furthermore, the protection (the bolts in the wall) needed maintenance and often spun. There were some really cool areas that looked like they would be fun to climb; however, they were all rated much higher than I was comfortable leading (5.12+). All in all, I had a fun time at Spearfish but I won’t be going back for a long time.

Here are some more photos:

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Colorado

I visited Colorado (Fort Collins) for a week shortly after Alaska. (I went to Spearfish before Alaska). I had a blast climbing in Poudre Canyon, hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and eating at varying Fort Collins restaurants. I am still planning on moving there next summer for the time being and am really looking forward to that. I didn’t take any photos for climbing since the area we climbed at was featureless (and not very memorable), but here are some photos from Rocky Mountain National Park (we did a cool hike called The Loch):

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I’ll post my Horseshoe Canyon Ranch TR up soon. Thanks for reading.

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