dealing with my injuries and dreaming of snow. This is from Vail Pass a month ago on the first snow of the season. The winter has started in the PNW and im not sure if I'll be able to ski or not. Reassessing my life priorities.
It was the best birthday of my life. My favorite humans, gathered together at 11,000ft, for the first snow of the season, high in the Colorado Rockies. I have a lot to be thankful for, like you guys. Thank you. Let's do this again.
Chris and I met freshman year in college. He was an avid climber and adventurer. We spent 2 weeks in Utah climbing towers, cracks and endlessly planning trips. I was only 18. I am still beaming with stoke that we got to climb the Diamond on Longs Peak a couple of weeks ago at age 30. Chris is a badass.
On our friends wedding day, Taylor was swamped with bridesmaid tasks and I was left to my own. I had intended to do some big mountain bike trails I've done before in the valley. I started with the beloved sage hills trail in perfect conditions. After that I sat in Oktoberfest traffic on my way to Freund Canyon. I was cruising down Rosy Boa trail, surrounded by fall colors and lots of fellow riders, when i hit a jump, apparently too fast or slightly off balance and the next thing i knew i was being escorted off the mountain to the ambulance. I hit myself pretty good and ended up spending the remainder of the day in the hospital in leavenworth instead of at the wedding. This was my first serious mtn bike accident and it sucked.
Each year I travel to Colorado in the fall; to see family, friends, mountains and experience the changing seasons. This year we nailed it so hard. The Aspens were peaking, we celebrated my birthday in a backcountry ski hut and caught the first snowfall. #feelingblessed
Several hours of solid climbing at 14,000ft and we were forced to retreat due to delaminating ice falling from above and ice filled cracks in our next pitch. It was cold. After 5 long rappels, we made it to the bottom just as it began to snow. Ready to be back in Boulder, we decided to run in the rain and snow back to the car. A few hours later I was joined with good friends at the #mountainsunbrewery warm and alive.
View from 1000' up on the Diamond. After 4 pitches of being barraged by icefall we finally hit a pitch where the holds and crack were actually filled with ice. Temperatures had dropped significantly, fingers were numb, time to bail.
There was a pending storm. Chris takes the lead and the second rope up the 5.9 finger crack and squeeze chimney. Then a whoomf! sound from above. 1000' above us a refrigerator sized ice chunk comes flying straight down on us. It hits a ledge just above Chris and explodes into a billion sparkling ice shards. I get a baseball sized piece of shrapnel straight to the helmet. Dent. For the next couple of hours we are screaming ICE! as we dodge ice fall.
Sweat, snow, cold dry air. All the things I'm familiar with. Plan is to climb The Casual Route on the diamond. We make good time. At the base by sunrise. Weather is perfect. Only 7 pitches of alpine granite. Except it is at 14,000 ft. Heart is beating way to fast.