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Local Beta

TNT: A Perfect Rest (Sun)Day in Fort Collins

By Local Beta, Trip JournalNo Comments

Since Spenser and I are on a budget, we have rarely been patrons of the local breweries or restaurants, even though Fort Collins is full of them. Then, Zack Macfarlane said he was coming for a visit. We were psyched. This gave us a reason to explore FoCo in a way we haven’t yet. Zack loves booze, broads, and beers. Yes, I know the booze includes beer. It was for emphasis. And, okay, Zack was also here for some climbing. Lucky enough, Fort Collins has all of the above to offer. We picked him up at the Denver Airport bright and early Saturday morning and headed straight for Guanella Pass, after a quick pit-stop at a local breakfast joint. Zack ate biscuits and gravy with a side of chicken fried steak, Spenser a carnitas benedict, and I polished off a plate of gluten-free Johnny cakes. Needless to say, it was not going to be a serious climbing day, but it was going to be a blast! Guanella Pass provided us an excellent try-hard-enough day, so we decided to take a rest day and give Zack a tour of Fort Collins on Sunday. Another love of Zack’s that Spenser and I both share is ribs. We have had infamous feasts of homemade chai-spiced (oh yea, that’s right) ribs back home in the Bay Area. Sometimes we yearn for those nights. After working up an appetite climbing, we stopped by Smokin’ Yard BBQ on our way through Idaho Springs. Spenser’s face probably gives…

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The New Hotness: The Abyss

By Bouldering, Local BetaNo Comments

On Sunday (8/12) we were lucky enough to get a tour of a new area up on Mt. Evans called The Abyss. Rachel, Jered, Adam, and Mordy cruised up the hill with Vikki and I to meet Jon Glassberg and some other climbers, and we hiked in to the boulders. The Abyss is named for Abyss Lake, which is near the peak of Mt. Evans and is visible from the talus field. Most of the problems are given a nautical themed name, and by Jon’s approximation there are 80 or so established boulders, all contenders for the highest altitude V_ in the country. I think you end up parking at around 13,000 feet. The best part is probably the hike. It’s a 20 minute flat (flat!) hike across some pleasant tundra to the top of the talus, and from there you choose your own level of involvement. A few established lines sit atop the hill, and they continue all the way down to the valley floor, where a Lincoln Lake-sized boulder field sits, apparently called The Winds (the hillside we were on is called The Bends). The potential for moderates is enormous, but the development has focused mostly on harder lines. We were able to put up three new problems in a casual afternoon. The rock is similar to Lincoln Lake, mostly solid with a bit of choss and exfoliation. As with most areas, more traffic will help it clean up. Jon was there filming for an upcoming movie that…

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Alpine Stylee- Colorado So Far

By Bouldering, Local BetaNo Comments

Edit: The V7 corner thingy that I couldn’t recall the name of at Guanella Pass is called “Corner Matters.” Four stars, BTW. Also, the arete Alana is pictured on is called the Aspen Arete. The heat and visual homogeneity of the midwest drives one to seek satisfaction in overindulgence. The endorphin junkie must get a fix, but exercise is too sweaty, or inconvenient, or expensive. The only recourse is stretch receptor activation, an ancient technique that I believe dates back to our hunter-gatherer days wherein one adds as much calorie-dense food to their abdomen as possible without literally busting a gut. The midwest is where dreams of climbing go to shrivel, fester, or immolate (depending on the particular type of scorching heat one encounters). Colorado, then, is where your psyche actually has trouble keeping up. Do you see all the boulders in Chaos Canyon? Now count them. I’ll wait. Coming from a chosspile like Santa Barbara – where we would climb every section of rock possible and then some out of sheer boredom – one arrives in Rocky Mountain National Park and gets totally overwhelmed by…well, take your pick: the beauty of the scenery, the length and brutality of the hikes, the stunning nature of the lines, the amount of unexplored wilderness, the amount of unclimbed rock in well-established areas, the altitude, the sheer difficulty of so many of the boulders… And I haven’t even mentioned the Front Range bouldering that sits at the far west end of the Great…

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Farley Ledges

By Climbing, Local Beta7 Comments

Vikki and I spent the weekend in Boston watching Alec graduate and eating way too much food. There’s nothing like a Chinese family celebrating the success of its offspring to stop your diet plans in their tracks (we’ve been striding towards eating only plant-based foods). We did manage to visit Rock Spot Boston and drop off samples for Kevin, the retail manager. While there, we happened to meet Metro Rock gym manager John, who was at Rock Spot because he was avoiding the crowds! Apparently, MR is gigantic, but much more of a “scene.” After the weekend, we drove out to Farley. Vikki picked up a shift along the way, so we didn’t get there until Wednesday afternoon. A hilarious thing happened while hunting around for a place to stay, but I’ll relate that story later. The denouement is that we didn’t actually make it to climb until Thursday morning.

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The HP40 Way

By Bouldering, Climbing, Local Beta, Trip JournalNo Comments

Hey ya’ll! That’s right, we’re in the south now. ‘Bama. Steele, Alabama. Got lots to talk about but right now you need to be watching this little piece we put together about a crew of crazy crack climbers from Colorado. Underneath that, there’s a little piece I wrote about the climbing here in Horse Pens. Kinda blows Castle Rock, CA out of the water, but that’s not what this piece is about. It’s about humility. Enjoyment. Triumph and tragedy. And bouldering. Enjoy! I fell into the trap. At Hueco Tanks, the climbing is gymnastic. Straight-forward moves, steep terrain, rubber-smeared flakes and jibs and crimps and damn, if I could just crimp a little harder I would’ve cranked my first V-who-gives-a-shit.

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Driving, Dillydaddling, and Debauchery…the Road to Horse Pens 40

By Local Beta, Trip Journal3 Comments

As you have likely already gathered from either our previous blogposts or your own personal experience or research, Hueco Tanks is incredible. We basically had to force ourselves to leave (as many never do), but after almost exactly a month, that day arrived. We were debating about where to go next and and an opportunity that we could not pass by arose – Spenser’s brother, Eliot, would be in New Orleans for the Final Four. After looking at a map, we saw that New Orleans was a great stopping point between Texas and Alabama – it was decided, our next climbing destination was to be Horse Pens 40 and we were incredibly stoked.

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Hueco Wrap Up

By Climbing, Local Beta, Trip Journal10 Comments

Exciting times, as we have just completed Episode 2. This one chronicles our first “chapter” in Hueco: the week after finally arriving, with tons of friends and culminating in the Rock Rodeo. It has much more climbing in it than our first episode. We have tons more Hueco footage to put together, and hopefully we’ll have a couple more doses up soon. So enjoy, and please feel free to leave a comment. We’re going to spend Monday driving to Horse Pens 40, where we’ll stay about a week or so. Psyched! On Tuesday March 27, we loaded up all our bits and pieces in the trailer and hitched up for the first time in a month. The sepia-brown rock of West Mountain and East Spur faded into the distance as Bert lugged the Pilgrim onward, eastward into the hot Texas sun. Bound for Horse Pens 40 by way of New Orleans by way of Austin, we all reflected on our month spent at the Ranch. Encapsulating all the memories in a single article is impossible (and for you, dear reader, probably boring), so here are the highlights, memories, and lessons learned from your friends at the RV Project.

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