RTW Ruminations: March 30 – Apr 1204/15/2015
Mon – Flatirons Scrambling+Green Mt (4:19, 7000′)
After the last four days on the road, it was glorious to get back to Boulder for a full day of scrambling: 1st Flatiron-Morning After-Green Mt Pinnacle-Challenger-Yodeling Moves-5th Flatiron-Angels Way-AP-PR-S-F before tagging the summit of Green and finishing off with a quick ascent of the 1st Pinnacle in the Amphitheater. Phew!
Tue – Fatiron+SoBo+Bear+Seal Rock+Green (4:29, 7500′)
Today involved more running than yesterday–it’s about 50min from Chautauqua just to get over to the base of the Fatiron, followed by a full ascent of SoBo/Bear Peaks and descent of Fern Canyon. I really like this loop for the vert and balanced mix of running and scrambling; it’s definitely becoming one of my favorites.
Wed – Flatirons Link-up w/ Buzz (3:00, 3000′) + Climbing Gym
Buzz is going to Zion in a few weeks for a big scrambling/peak bagging outing with Jared, so he was interested in putting in a couple hours in the Flatirons, dusting off his scrambling skills. After the last two big days of vert, I was in need of an easier day, and so much the better to share some time with Buzz out on the slabs.
On the bike up to Chat I noticed an ominous strained feeling in the back of my throat, which I can now look back on as the very beginning of a most hideous bout with the flu. Buzz and I started off with the First Flatiron, but he showed me an exciting variation that engages an improbably steep looking headwall. There are just the right amount of positive holds on it, though, so this is a slower paced line that I’ll probably hit more in the future. After downclimbing, Buzz was game for more, so I suggested we head over to the Morning After. This went well, and Buzz found a sneak around to the south to avoid the crux 5.7 roof moves. From there, we headed over to the Green Mt Pinnacle Chimney and Challenger—in my opinion, a couple of the most aesthetic shorter routes in the Flatirons (the Chimney takes ~2min to stem up, Challenger is a beautiful 4-5min arete). Buzz hadn’t been in the Chimney for over ten years, but he worked his way up the exposed rift with aplomb. We finished off the morning with a downclimb of Yodeling Moves.
I’d had plans to get out cragging with Jenny afterwards, but rain was threatening in the afternoon, so we instead went to they gym where I had one of my worst performances ever. My sore throat was gradually worsening and causing me to lose my voice and I felt laughably weak on the wall. Now, looking back, I know that the illness was just starting to sink in its teeth—of course I wasn’t going to be up to par.
Nothing. I left the house exactly once during this seven-day period. Geez, the flu can be rough.
Thu – 1st Flatiron+Green+Morning After (2:16, 3700′)
I finally felt strong enough to get out for a little perambulation today, so I biked up to Chat and did the usual thing. It was an uncharacteristically gloomy, chilly morning with low clouds and a notable nip in the air. I liked it, as it kinda fit my mood anyways. I barely ran any of this, just strolling up to the base of the First, having fun taking all kinds of little micro-variations on my usual route on the rock, and then continuing my walk to the summit of the mountain. On the way down I was feeling excited for a little more scrambling, so I descended down behind the Morning After and hit an easy lap on that, too. My body felt crazy stiff and creaky on the jog back down to Chautauqua, but at least by then the sun was starting to break through.
Fri – 1st Flatiron+Green+Dinosaur Mt scrambling
I still have a handful of Gerry Roach’s 53 Classics to tick off, so today, after my usual ascent of Green, I descended over to Dinosaur and scoped out Fi Fun on Fi and Quadratic Equation on Fo, adjacent formations very near the summit of Dino Mt. I think I’d been avoiding these for so long because Roach calls Fi “a dangerous summit to be on without a rope” and the 5.6 slab action of QE deterred me a bit. As I’ve found in most of my scouting of these routes, however, ground-truthing the guidebook is key and downclimbing off of Fi turned out to not be too much of an issue (but it took as long as the actual scramble to the summit), and QE ended up feeling basically as difficult as Fi Fun; I guess it was about as thin as, say, Satan’s Slab or the First Flatiron (other 5.6 slabs in the Flatirons), but I felt comfortable the whole time.
Now I only have the Backporch, the two Dinosaur Eggs, a route on the Central Shanahan Crag, and Tiny Tower remaining on the list. I’m looking forward to getting to them soon.
Sat – Fatiron+SoBo+Bear+Regency-Royal Arch-5th Flatiron-Fist+Green (4:12, 6500′)
More of the usual thing. I will say that the Regency-RA-5th-Fist ascent of Green off of the Mesa trail is a very pleasingly scramble-intensive route up the mountain. All of these formations are essentially in a straight line, topping out ~500′ below the summit of the mountain. On the initial run over to the base of the Fatiron I felt pretty terrible—damn you, flu—but I was surprised with the energy and pep I had going up Shadow Canyon. My ascent of Green was an unmitigated slog, though. I nearly gave up and headed home when I reached the summit of the 5th, but figured I could just go really easy. That’s sort of what happened. I mostly just grunted a lot. Of course, once on the downhill (Ranger-Gregory) everything was happy again.
Sun – 1st Flatiron+Green Mt (1:41, 3000′)
I had big plans today, but even on the bike up to Chat I could tell that my legs had nothing. This was confirmed when I tried running up to the base of the First and instead just settled into a desultory hike. Yesterday’s effort took more out of me than I wanted to admit; that flu nipped me hard.
Acoustic probably isn’t the most appropriate style for these guys, but I still like it.