Saturday, May 25, 2013

Days 4-6

5/22/13 continued:

We rolled in in the wake of another thunderstorm, but again not much rain so everything was dry. We have really lucked out on this whole weather thing. The routes here look absolutely amazing—tall limestone and big holds, a welcome change from the Penitente slab… We went ahead and grabbed a camping spot here at Sand Gulch and settled in for the evening. That night there was a thunderstorm on the horizon, and I tried my luck at some lighting photography. They aren’t great pictures, but I’m proud of my first try.


We woke up early to a hazy and chilly morning. After breakfast, we made our way down to the nearest wall to start the day. Unfortunately, this would be the beginning to a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, and Very Bad Day for me… After a mix up in reading Mountain Project, I ended up warming up on a much harder grade than I had anticipated. Having cleared up the debacle, I attempted to pamper my ego and tackle a juggy 5.10 a route over.

That’s where it happened, a bolt away from the chains. I was laid back on a big crack going for the clip when I lost my grip on the polished rock and proceeded to take a rather egregious fall. The layback had positioned me over a ledge, which I fell into, sending me into a spin and slamming me back first into the wall! Luckily, I walked away from the incident completely unscathed, save a scratch across my back. Needless to say, my psych was shot for the day. Every rout I looked at after that made me a little sick to my stomach. The rest of the day was top-rope and cop-outs for me. Merritt, on the other hand, made the most of the day and got in some solid climbing. 

Shelf Road is not for the faint of heart! The routes are tall and if you are climbing on anything under about 5.11b the bolts are ruuuuuuunnnnnn out… The climbs are great, but they will test you mentally.


I woke up, having shaken yesterday’s funk, and hit the wall fresh. Today promised to be a wonderful day of climbing. After an eventless warm-up, Merritt and I set about climbing some quality routes on the back wall. The climbing today was so great it was hard to imagine how awful yesterday had been.

The sun was out in full force today, so chasing the shade was the name of the game. We started the day on a west-facing wall and held out to midday, catching a bit of shade in a dihedral to have lunch. By now we were out of water and there was no shade to be found so we headed back to camp to refill and grab a quick siesta. We finished the day in the shade of the opposing wall, burning out in anticipation of a rest day tomorrow.

Merritt trying to find any shade he can!

A rather large snake that decided to pay us a visit
Friday evening brought on excitement of its own. The camp area was beginning to fill up with a wave of holiday weekenders. Around 9:30 a couple of guys from, would you know it, Texas rolled in, and we ended up sharing our site with them. Turns out they even knew a friend of ours. It seems you can’t go anywhere without running into Texas climbers.


Another adventure in interacting with the real world! On our way into town we pulled over on the side of the road to do some washing up in the river. Clean—well, less dirty—we made our way back into CaƱon City for a little Internet connectivity. Took a chance of ruining my trip by checking my final grades, luckily everything turned out all right!

I think this officially makes us dirtbaggers... 
After some Vietnamese food for lunch we settled into a coffee shop at the edge of town, which is where I’m presently typing this update. Going to try and find something exciting to do for the rest of the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! If you are ever in the area we are, hit us up on the Facebook; we are always happy to have good company!

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