A quick trip up north turned out to be a great plan. The cooler weather and abundance of stone was a much needed boost. Fall is in full effect up in the Durango area, with a diverse palette smeared across the mountainsides, from fading greens to yellows, oranges and rusty reds in the scrub oak, to the bright yellow aspens up high, leaves fluttering and flashing in the wind like doubloons. Nights are getting cold up there, and the days are pleasant, maybe in the mid-60s during the “heat of the day”...
Up and Down, Back and Forth - Chris Schulte
We started up high, north of town a ways up at about 9500 feet, in a small limestone canyon cut by a creek and filled with vertical and slightly overhanging moderate sport climbs. Just a few weeks ago, I finished off a long-term project there, sort of a Rifle-esque endurance problem climbing out of a cave via several roofs with interesting climbing and dynamic moves. Ronnie put a strong effort in, and got it down to 3 parts within an hour. As the sun came over the lip of the canyon, we headed down into the creek bed to the only free standing boulder, and Ronnie repeated the v9ish GoGo Ibari that I FA’d years back. A nice walk back downstream took us to the van, and we repaired to another small area less than 5 minutes away. It was never really a secret area to anyone who lived in the area, bt it was obvious no one had climbed there in years, and many lines were super dirty.. We did a problem or two, worked on a project for a little bit, and then headed down into town for pizza and beer, too much of both after a long day.
Day two we headed west towards the desert, and ran into the new crop of locals, I guess you would say. Since I’ve lived in Boulder for about 6 years now, I’ve missed out on the community that has passed through my old grounds, which is not a big surprise, considering that it’s a college town. They toured us around a nice new area maybe 20 minutes through the scrub oak from another spot I’d climbed at for years.. What the seasons can hide..
Our time up in the cool was up, and we shot back down to Albuquerque for a shoe demo at Stoneage, arriving early enough to climb on the wild finals routes from the comp held just a few days prior. The routes climbed as well as they looked during the comp, and we had a blast in the few minutes we had befpre the demo.
The next day, it was off to Las Cruces for another demo at the university.. Our detour through City of Rocks state park was... educational... I’ll not recommend it- the rock, though interesting as you crest the hill that hides the area from view, is pretty chossy, and the lines are rather tall. We did a couple problems in our Spitfires, and rocketed to LC for tacos and the demo. Though small, the routes were well-set and fun.. It was good to move a bit after the teaser detour through the City of Rocks, adn we had a good time with the crew there. Once the crowd died down, we packed up and drove east, en route to Horshoe Canyon Ranch... I’m pretty excited to have a look at the sandstone down there, and now only 5 hours remain in the 16 hour drive... The weather looks good!