When school gets out and the warm Colorado sun begins to shine, I have only one thing on my mind: Alpine bouldering. I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park for this first time of the season on May 18, and as usual, I was not disappointed. Though last winter’s snow was so plentiful that it seemed it would never fully melt, the boulders were completely dry and and spirits were high.
Thanks to a perfect snow filled landing, I was finally able to try the ultra-classic Whispers of Wisdom at Emerald Lake. After sussing out the beta, I gave it a few send goes but was unable to come away with a top, as the hike in and the power endurance required to climb Whispers proved to be too much for me that day. In typical park fashion, we hiked out of the previously sunny Emerald Lake in a full on blizzard.
After a quick three day trip to the East Coast to visit some family, I headed up to Lincoln Lake with a great crew for the first of many times this season. I was incredibly psyched to be back among the boulders that have been haunting my dreams all winter, and had no expectations of doing anything remotely challenging. I ended up getting to try an old project from last season called Bebe Wolverine, an incredible V12 put up by Dave Graham during Lincoln Lake’s booming first season. After an hour or so working out beta, It felt very doable and I figured within a few more sessions, it would be in the bag. After watching my buddy Zach Groenwald cruise up it, I was inspired to try and give it a few send goes just for the hell of it. Thanks to incredible conditions and just a bit of luck, after a fight and a half I found myself in disbelief as I barely latched finish jug and pulled the lip! Having just put to rest a project that only last season felt impossible, I was elated.
A few days later, due to an unfortunate weather induced road closure at Mt. Evans, I found myself heading back to Emerald Lake with my good buddy Michael Bartley. After a stellar day, I was extremely grateful to be able to put down Whispers of Wisdom and Storm Shadow Stand, two classic V10 compression blocs that have become two of my favorite boulders in The Park.
Lincoln Lake and RMNP have gained a special place in my heart and soul. I have grown immensely as a climber among the jumbled talus and thin air, learning how to deal with failure after failure after failure while also reaching significant milestones in my climbing. I have fond memories of long, tiresome days spent with friends old and new, united by a shared passion in places so beautiful, I can hardly believe their real. I know that the good times, failures, and hard sends are far from over, and I look forward to countless more summers spent in the alpine.