climbing bliss

One of the advantages to living in a place that is so close to the sun is that you get to go climbing. Outside. In the winter. Because 55º in the sunshine can feel really warm. Or at least warm enough to play around on some rock. And, yesterday that's exactly what I did. I met up with Kate and Mark, Doug and Liz and their friends, David and Jess for a really awesome day outside at North Table Mountain near Golden.

I haven't been climbing all that much since I moved to Denver. Mainly because I don't know anyone down here who likes to do said activity, but also because it seems a little more difficult to get to than it did in Fort Collins. I'm not really sure why that is either, because the reality is, there's a lot more options that are just as close by, or closer even. I think what it really is, is that I'm a chickenshit—I'm nervous to climb in front of new people. The group of people I climbed with in FtC was really laid back about it and I feel (maybe erroneously) that that's not the norm in the climbing community. And I'm afraid I would hook up with the hard core 'bras' who want to go at everything hard and don't consider it a good day unless they break an arm or something.

At any rate, for some reason, yesterday I felt really good climbing. Normally my head gets in the way and I have to struggle to get up even the simplest of routes, but yesterday I had one of those days where everything just flowed. Granted I took the easier options on two of the harder routes I tried yesterday, but still. I didn't have to hang, I made it to the anchors without falling and I climbed all three without any beta. It felt good. And I felt pleasantly wiped out when I got home last night. Instead of burned out. And, most of all, it felt great to climb with people who aren't out to shatter any records, who just wanted to have some fun in some winter sun.

I need more days like that.

* That's not me, that's Mark on 'The M Route' 5.9.


jones' pass

For the first time in what seems like years, the temps soared up above 10º on Saturday, so M and I decided to get in a short snowshoe trip. This has become my favorite way to bring in the new year (along with purging and shredding), and although I'm a week late this year, I think it still counts, right? This time around we went up to Jones' Pass right outside of Empire, Colorado (on the way to Winter Park).

This trip was made all the more special because we almost gave up before we even got there. 1) It took twice as long as it should've to get to the exit off the highway — I got my first tiny taste (M says it's usually much, much worse) of what westbound I-70 traffic is like in the winter time and I have to say, I'm not fond of it. 2) Then we missed the turn-off for the trailhead and ended up going about 12 miles out of our way before we figured out we'd gone too far. We finally made it though and the 4-mile walk we did in the snow and sunshine was well worth the trouble it took.

The sun felt good on my face and there was enough of an incline to get the sluggish winter blood pumping.