A last minute decision with unexpected results...
-1%er - Chris Schulte
Rising early, breakfast, packing lunch, out the door. Traffic still running from the Fourth of July weekend, kinda like a leaky syrup bottle.. Clear Creek Canyon is slow, full of rafters and ol' folks going to drop the social security check off at the Blackhawk Casinos, but lucky me, I get to turn out of this dragging mess and head up to Mt. Evans. Passing cars who have the nerve to drive the speed limit, I feel like I'm being driven myself; I'm pretty psyched to get back to the Lincoln Lakes area on Mt. Evans. A couple of recon trips have shown this revived area to be pretty much tops; in my opinion it's high among the best in the Front Range. As I whip around the last turn before the gate, I'm kinda struck off-course, and I find myself turning into the parking area for the long hike into Area B, on the other side of the mountain. The parking lot was busy, but not full, so I got a good spot in the shade and packed up light: Team Shoes, BD Satellite pad, lunch, a little water, chalk. I'm surprised how cool it is for the time of year, and the hike goes fast.
I dunno what made me bail on Lincoln that day, but as I passed through Area A and into the space between the two spots, the voices of other climbers on the Dali, Seurat, and so on died away, leaving me tromping down the trail through the flowers (awesome after the scattered rains). I had lunch on the edge of a 70' long flake traverse that juts out into the sky, an awesome warm-up, something like v3/.11b, and afterwards just cruised for a bit, doing warm ups that I knew well, just on the have-a-nice-day plan. I'd been sitting around feeling lazy for a few days, so it was great to get out and be out, move on rock, have some sunshine... B is a bit higher than A, and the breeze was blowing a little; I wished I had brought a hoodie! When I thought about that, I headed over to a project I've been working for about two seasons now; last fall I went all-out to try and finish it before the snow came, injuring my left bicep and shoulder twice. The climb is short, a proper little bloc at maybe 10' tall at the lip, and squeezes up through small, bad slopers with the left hand and an interesting run of holds for the right, from a jug at the start to an odd "ball" sloper, kinda sharp-ish, to a cool little fin and then a neat go-again bump to a crimp with all kinds of heel hooks and toe hooks (team shoe crucial on the toes!), all setting up into a techy little bicycle for a LEAP to the JUG at the END, swinging out into full scorpion.
The Move was the second, but after this spring, it became the first. The opening two are the crux, and then it settles into maybe v10, but the first move is hard: a right hand jug sidepull, a left hand one-pad sloping "edge", a good, but BAD, left foot, kinda bunchy.. Pulling on this toe for all you're worth, a scraping slap to the next poor sloper is possible most of the time, but sticking it is pretty 1%.. Math-wise, it's more like .01% by now; I in no way did this thing quick!
The first time I stuck the first move, I went to the top (having done the rest of the problem SO MANY TIMES really helped).
I don't know how hard it is.
I do know that I spent a lot of time and a couple visits to the acupuncture clinic and one to Mr. Massagee.. The thing tried to tear my shoulder out.
As usual, when it happened (it felt more like the line "happened", not so much like I did it) it wasn't so bad. The stars aligned, so did my hips and shoulders, and after topping out, I packed up my little kit and hiked out through a million blue dragonflies.
Now I can move on, to the other side of the mountain.