Friday, January 18, 2008

Hangin' in North Carolina

I always try to get out dodge when I have a long break between work. After all, a man can only take so much chaos in the big city. One of my favorite get aways is the western NC area. I went to school out there so I'm familiar with it, still have friends there, and it indeed is a beautiful place. In some ways it seems like a lost area not quite in touch with modern times, almost ancient in many ways. Heading down Rosebourgh, a dirt road that winds down off the Blue Ridge Parkway into Wilson Creek nearly seeming endless, places you into an area that seems untrammeled by man. An area that could easily be in the wilds of Africa, or the rainforest of South America. Picture, Green vegetation of every hue, mist rising out of the mountains, big swirly gray gneiss boulders that are so numerous that one can imagine an indian tribe, or a family of hobbits, living amongst the village of rocks in another world. While out there it rained all three days leaving much of the rock unclimbable but I still made the most of it. Little things like waking up in a tent every morning (except the one night at Linville Gorge where it was pouring so hard that me and Gray fled into our cars to spend the night to escape constant downpour) helped to re-set my mind and make me appreciate life to its fullest. I'll have to get some pics of my new tent, it is by far the coolest shelter I've stayed in. Thanks again babe for that present, you know me so good. I know many of good times in amazing far away places will be spent in that tent. I managed to hike one of my old favorite trails the Boone Fork Trail the first day. I also made good progress on a boulder problem that I wanted to check out called Have Guns Will Travel. Pretty sure I can send that fast. Its a great line, I wish I had some pictures. Finally, me and Gray went up the Daddy in horrible conditions probably doing the stupidest ascent ever on it. We thought it would be a good challenge to link the entire line in 2 really long 200 foot pitches. Bad mistake. Rope drap sucks and slows you down way more than just building an anchor and climbing more pitches. To make matters worse the entire route was soaking wet which made for some spicy sections where foot friction is important. Nevertheless, we made it up and its always a good time with a friend on a climb. Here are some pictures of the trip.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gotta Get Back to Chasm Cirque: The Diamond-Longs Peak, CO

This is hands down one of the coolest places I have ever been. This 2000 foot wall forms the north face of Longs Peak, CO which tops out at over 14,000 feet. Me and my buddy Gray made the 9 mile hike in and spent 3 days bivied under an overhanging boulder trying to climb a crack system that runs nearly the entire way up the wall. Unfortunately, we only made it 600 feet up the wall. In the end, the altitude, ice, route-finding, and overall enormity of the entire cirque proved too much for us. However, our failure did result in some serious memories. I soloed up 70 degree ice in approach shoes sans crampons and ice ax with only a rock to use as a pick. Probably the scariest "lead" of my life. The 600 foot north chimney took roughly a peice of gear every 50 feet or so and at that time in my climbing career those kind of runouts were pure horror for me. Anyway, I hope to go back at the end of this summer and climb this monster. Matter of fact, after 2 summers in Yosemite and the Sierras, I hope to climb a few routes on the Diamond. Until then I'll dream about that monster of a wall lurking high above Rocky Mountain National Park.