Last weekend Eric and Tracey were able to make the trip up to Estes from the Spring to spend a weekend with us. Due to work schedules, they ended up getting here pretty late on Friday but we still rocked the night away with Rock Band. If you haven't tried Rock Band yet I recommend that you quit reading this blog and immediately make friends with someone who has it. It is a great party game. We need to pick up one more guitar and then 4 people can play at a time (vocals, drums, bass guitar, lead guitar). Anyhow, here is Eric tearing up on on lead vocals with his attractive band in the background.
Molly playing some blues riff
This pic makes me think of Animal from the muppets
After much persuasion we even talked Tracey into singing a song. Next time you see her ask to hear "Eye of the Tiger".
Saturday we woke up late and wandered up to the Mountaineer for breakfast, where Bernie (the waiter) was sure Eric had been there a few days ago with a different girl. The original plan was to go snowshoeing up in the park but the late start and beautiful weather lured us to warm granite rocks instead, so we decided to check out an new area called Big Elk Meadows which is about 10 miles out of town. We packed the crash pads and headed out.
After hiking about 10 minute through the cold woods we found ourselves climbing a steep hill into the warmth of a blazing sun, thanks to an old forest fire that destroyed all the trees.
Note that I gave Eric the new monster sized crashpad to carry. I got it a few weeks ago with my Christmas money and this was it's maiden voyage. The tag is still on it!
Enjoying the hike
The steep hill dropped us off in the middle of a granite boulder playground known as the Dragons Nest. I am guessing the name has something to do with all the burned trees. Layers were quickly removed and shoes quickly applied. We warmed up on a few easy slab routes near the Gill boulder.
We spent some time working a sweet V3 on the Gill boulder involving bad feet and a huge throw to a crystal. I stuck the move and then chickened out on the top-out. Next time up my feet popped during the throw and I managed to simultaneously flapper both hands (def: flapper is somewhat common in bouldering where a chunk of flesh is dug out of a finger by a sharp hold and left flapping and bleeding). Glad Eric had some tape! Eric sent it handily on his next go and was man enough to pull the top-out. After all, he knows John Gill, the guy this boulder was named after. We moved on to a large boulder with a crack but it was pretty uninteresting. There was a great line on it but the landing was smack dab on a nasty pointy rock, so we moved on to the Y boulder around the corner.
The Y boulder is built for bouldering. Flat landings with a variety of routes on good rock. And the top is high enough to feel serious but not desperate. We started on the awkward center route, on which I am ashamed to admit that I used my knee. Poor form, unless you are Jimmy. Here is Molly working the awkward section
We moved on the the left arete. Here is Eric beasting his way up. It looks like Tracey just stuck a gymnastic move in the Olympics.
This expression is not posed. I literally heard a growl.
Pulling over the top
Here is Molly working another route on the right side the the Y boulder
We were fortunately to catch a fleeting glimpse of the infamous Rocky Mountain Sasquatch
The day continued as a blur of frenzied bouldering that ended in raw finger tips, sore abs, and stinky feet. Here are an assortment of shots...
We rounded out the night with dinner at Ed's, Rock Band, Tropic Thunder, and part of Oh Brother Where Art Thou before we fell asleep.
Sunday we woke up to cloudy skies and wind. Bummer. So we rolled down to the Big Horn for a leisurely breakfast while we discussed our options. We settled on some moderate roped climbing up at Lily Lake. At home we packed the gear and layered up, knowing it would likely be a cold day.
Eric got the day rolling by leading an real nice slab with an incredible view of Longs. It was a great route that we could all enjoy. Here are some shots.
The only bummer about that route was that is was right in the wind and cold! So we moved down the hill a bit to a new rock that seemed to be a little more sheltered. Eric promptly busted up another beautiful slab route with with some spicy gaps between the bolts. Here I am keeping Eric off the dirt
Here is Tracey sending the route with a frozen Lily Lake way down below
Me heading up
In the crux. It is hard to tell but the run out between the bold at my knee and the one below was pretty substantial. The climbing was easy between the two but a slip would not of been pretty. As I was nearing the clip the peanut gallery below started talking about how nasty a fall would of been, how high I was and generally messing with my head. Not cool. Fortunately, the crux was well protected.
After this route, the wind started back up so we decided to end the day on a couple hard routes, which Eric easily onsighted with frozen fingers. Unstoppable.
We closed the weekend down with some Indian food at the Thai Kitchen (yeah, I know) before Eric and Tracey headed back the the Front Range. It was a great weekend and we both look forward to hanging out a lot with those guys.