Mike and Amy made the long drive out to Colorado to help Molly and I welcome the new year. They arrived late Sunday night. After a bit of discussion, we decided to roll on down to Clear Creek canyon on Monday for a day of climbing. The weather forecast was to be somewhat warm (for December) and sunny, an excellent combination. After dropping a rental car off in Loveland and we busted down to Clear Creek Canyon just outside of Golden. The Highlander crag was fully in the sun so we made the somewhat arduous approach, which the lowland Iowans felt. When we left the car the temps were in the high 30's but by the time we got to the cliffs we were in the sun and warming up quick.
We quickly racked up for a 5.9+ and Mike belayed me. It was hard to believe we could be climbing shirtless on the last week of December.
The route was sustained and awkward but we all took a shot at it. Here is Amy giving it a go. This was only her second time climbing outside and the exposure gave her a run for her money.
Here is Molly sending
Here is our outstanding picnic rock.
After lunch I led up an intimidating 5.10. It started out with a couple hard moves over a small roof. The second clip was awkward and felt like I may hit the dirt if I blew it. Not my favorite position to be it. After the initial roof the route crepted delicately up 50 feet of tricky slab. Here is a shot of just past the first roof.
And working through the slab
After the slab, there was a second roof to pull through, which was super exciting (aka scary). Big holds and lots of air under your heels. Unfortuntately I back clipped the draw and ended up taking. Here is a shot after the roof.
Above the roof is another 30 feet of slab to the anchors. The climbing wasn't difficult but with all the air below my heels, it felt hard.
Here is a shot of Mike using his new GriGri to keep me off the dirt.
Here is a shot of Mike getting close to the second roof.
By this time the sun was starting to dip so we decided to pack up and hit the trail. Here is a shot of the group before heading back to the car.
We finished the evening by checking out the big REI store in Denver and then rolled back to Estes for some noodle bowls.