Let’s go back in time. Not very far, just to late July of this year. During this amazing time in my life I was in Rifle, Colorado with my amazing girlfriend, Tiffany Murphy, and my two amazing friends, Dalan Faulkner and Joe Gifford. I planned my entire 3 month summer trip on the idea that I wanted to go back to Rifle and in the end we only spent a week there. However it was one of the best weeks of my life.
We started our Rifle adventures by meeting up with Josh Levin, Charlie Andrews and Kyra Condie. They drove out from California and only stayed in Rifle for like 3 days which seems crazy to me. This was the first time any of them have been to Rifle, except Charlie and Joe, and if you know about Rifle you know that it takes some getting used to. Tiffany and Dalan suddenly sucked at rock climbing again. I was in Rifle for two weeks last year with Joe, so we had a very short adjustment period.
This adjustment period can be crazy frustrating to people. When you used to climbing let’s say hard 5.13 and suddenly you flailing on 5.12 you might get a bit frustrated. My suggestion is go to Rifle for a long time and build a nice base. Or just don’t worry about flailing and have fun doing moves. Soon enough everyone learned how to climb again and everyone was back to normal.
Joe and I immediately started to look for something hard to get on. Joe got on Collinator which is a rarely climbed 5.14a. In fact there where spider webs up the whole climb and I don’t think a single hold had chalk on it. Usually not the telltale signs of a good climb. Joe said it was an amazing climb, so I jumped on it. The climb has a definite crux. As the guide book says “a shoulder wrenching sideways dyno” and shoulder wrenching it is. I did some of the weirdest dyno beta I have ever done. It was like something in a gym.
It took a couple tries, but I figured out all the moves. After refining my sequence I gave it send go and actually sent the thing. This was the fastest I have ever sent something that hard which was really exciting. Joe sent it shortly after I did too. From what I have heard only a handful have people have sent it which is a shame because it is such a fun climb.
Tiffany started getting more ambitious and got on Never Believe (5.12d). Her first time up there she got shut down. She could get through the lower crux and got frustrated. Until recently she never went outside much since she lived in Texas, so she didn’t have that project mind set. When trying something really hard sometimes you can’t do all the moves your first time up the thing. Later that day someone came up and gave Tiffany some wizard beta and she started making moves and eventually got to the top of the wall. I’ve never seen her more psyched on a climb in my life. With the new beta she worked out the subtleties until she was ready to send. She ended up falling really high a couple of times and got frustrated again, so she dialed in the top sequence and then walked up the thing. I have never seen her so excited to send something! She even skipped 5.12b and 5.12c.
Dalan was working on four projects at once. He would bounce around between Pump-o-rama, The Beast, Spray-a-thon and Zulu. At first Dalan was working on Pump-o-rama a lot and he was making good progress. Then he got on The Beast and started working on it. It took him a little while to figure out the moves, but one rainy day we went the Wasteland and Dalan sent the thing with a wet top sequence. Props for the aqua-send. Now Dalan was getting in the Rifle he had his confidence up. After The Beast Pump-o-rama came soon enough.
My next goal was Roadside Prophet. I got on it last year just enough to figure out the moves. I took me awhile to get up it this time as I was figuring out the beta. I was pretty sure I had a good sequence figured out, so I gave it a send go. I was surprised when I got passed the first crux. I rested up and kept climb and climbing. I couldn’t believe I was making it through each sequence until finally I was at the top crux. I knew what to do, but as I went for the hold I missed it and fell. All I had to do was about 5 moves and I would have done the climb! I was wrecked after that burn, so I waited until the next day, our last day in Rifle.
Unfortunately the next day was raining. We sat in the tent for a while hoping that the rain was stop, but it never did. If you have never done it, packing up camp in the rain sucks. Everything was wet and muddy. We drove down the steep dirt road which by this time had become a mud road. We slide down the mud road. When we got the wall and started to climb a bit the rain decided to stop and the sun came out! We still had to pack up in the rain, but now the rock would dry out. I reluctantly got on Roadside Prophet thinking the top would be wet. I went the climb as before, but this time I rested a bit more. When I got to the top I was surprised to see almost everything was dry. The finish crux felt casual that time and I sent! I couldn’t believe I did it so quickly.
We all celebrated at a restaurant in Rifle then drove out to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer and the Psicobloc Master Series.
My biggest draw back to Rifle was that we took very little pictures of climbing. All we got was of Joe climbing Vision thing. We also took picture of light which is always fun.