Pre-nostalgia

Oh man, it’s the end of September. We’ve been living in Fort Collins for nearly three months. Here’s a quick recap, and a look forward to the last ~2 weeks of our stay, before we chase the sunset toward the good ol’ Sierras.

Vikki putting down Upperbot for her first V5

When we first got here, hiking sucked. Now it is awesome. I chalk this up to conditioning. Did we mention we’re staying with Brad, who has a gym in his house and a fitness company? Through that, we’ve both improved our fitness remarkably, benefitting from various passers-thru. A few weeks ago Tim Rose, Fernando Jimenez, Travis Gault, and Jen Burger stopped by for a couple of weeks to pull down on the RMNP gneiss and Mt. Evans granite. They are all personal trainers, gym managers, and/or super strong climbers. The restiest rest day involved a hike and some light bouldering in the front country. Other days were spent sharing training tips, putting each other through hard workouts, and eating healthy food.

Of course we had an unreasonable number of goals for Colorado before we came, and of course many of those have been more or less forgotten. These wayside goals include a lot of filming (we’ve gotten into photography a bit more), climbing in Wyoming more than thrice, climbing the Diamond, and visiting all the Boulder gyms. Oh, and getting famous. That hasn’t been realized either, though we did get to hang out with Alex Honnold that one time.

But the main goals have been achieved, namely, sell the big mother-trailer, buy a MUCH smaller one, and get the truck in shape for winter. And get psyched on the climbing here. More on that in the next paragraph.

The climbing: I remember our first day climbing outside in CO, when Paul and Emily took us to Wild Basin, home of hella DG V-hella-hards. We poked around, I flashed Mini-Dagger (V7), and flailed on Garfield and Odie (V8 and V6 respectively), finally nailing Odie on like the hella-dozenth attempt. Garfield still eludes me. Too much lasagna?

I should warn you that, though the climbing is really fun, Wild Basin is a chosspile. Some V6 had a huge block, like cubist-watermelon huge, break. Whoever broke it probably yarded it onto their own crotch, and I for one feel terribly for him or her. A massive foot broke off a V9 called Real Hero, or Greatest American Hero or whatever. It’s still V9, but the point is you can’t trust anyone, or any problem.

Fernando on Wild Basin. Sadly, no video of the send.

Then it was back to the Basin last weekend, and, shocker, I managed to pull off Free Basin (V11)! It was on that project list we posted a lil’ while back. Garfield still spat me off.

This is a common story now, pulling climbs out of our butts that we didn’t think we could pull. Our first trip to Upper Chaos, my favorite area, was a shut-down fest of sucktastic proportions. I tried Right El Jorge, and couldn’t do the second move. Left El Jorge seemed leagues away. Far Left El Jorge looked plain dumbsauce. Then, a month later, I cranked Right first go, and a month later I did all the moves to Left. I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to pull it off next trip, ‘specially now that it’s cold up there. Far Left now is quite enjoyable, and I plan to do it in a frenzy of Jorge sending.

Triple left hand bumps are required for ascending the Left El Jorge challenge.

For her part, Vikki was a little Russian dumpling full of BBQ and creamed meat and covered in weaksauce when we arrived. She was hiketarded, and was still bouldering in Mythos. After about 6 weeks, she cranked Upperbot for her first V5, and she nailed another at Emerald Lake two weeks ago. In some twisted manner, she managed to get up her first V6 shortly after we got here, weeks before doing a V5. See the vid?

She’s getting stronger, fitter, and much better at climbing than even she realizes. If I had to pinpoint her biggest weakness, it’s confidence in her ability to do moves. Once she believes, she’ll be doing some really hard things.

More importantly, she’s finally making headway dealing with her chronic injuries (more on this in Vikki’s next post). She has shoulder blades that look like vestigial angel wings, and has been instructed not to do pushups or pullups until her body can figure out which muscles to use. This is promising, because her technique has actually improved quite a bit, and she just needs to start some serious strength training and she’ll be like, I dunno, Sharma’s sister. Or something.

We’ve also made some awesome friends and climbing partners. You know who you are. (Also I don’t think they read the blog, so no point mentioning them by name anyway) But it’s cool to know that we have many people to visit and places to stay next time we roll through town.

But there’s still much to do. Free Basin and Upperbot may be off the list, but many projects remain. There are still some preparations to be made for leaving, like figuring out where we’re going. The idea now is to meander our way to Joe’s Valley, possibly by way of Independence Pass/Rifle, or by way of Wyoming’s awesome limestone sport climbing. Will advise.

And finally: we are nearly done with our newest video. Whoa…

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