Lately I've been making the big trek into Upper Upper Chaos Canyon. There are thousands of new boulders to be climbed and it feels so good to feel that passion once again, as I march up and over hill and dale in search of the next great thing. Last week I gave Jimmy Webb a tour and he put down one of the best projects I knew of, The Ice Cave. I've put some effort into this amazing line for a few years. I've felt close but Jimmy is a young climber and at this point it's great to pass the torch to someone I know and respect. Jimmy made quick work and did the FA of The Shining V13. The problem climbs out a massive roof in the starkest of alpine settings. It's one of the best problems in all of Chaos Canyon. Later Jimmy and I hiked around, like kids in a candy store. There are still so many unpicked plums and we are on the hunt always and only for the best. Of course there are other climbers involved, like Ryan Silven and Collin Horvat. I never lose sight that development and exploration is best when done with a group of like-minded people. People who want to push things forwardly. People who aren't content just repeating the latest V12, but who want to go a little farther. To clean, to scrub and to create. To find something new for everyone to share.
New Boulders in RMNP - Jamie Emerson
Last fall my mission was more of a solo one and on one of my forays I found a stunning overhang with perfect rails. I waited impatiently as the snow fell and the winds whipped, sealing the mountains in a frozen tomb of snow and ice. Long days slumped in my harness setting in the gym were tempered by thoughts of this perfect overhang. Slowly the spring came. The air in Boulder got hot, and forest fires raged along the Front Range. It was incredibly warm, and I thought perhaps the snow had melted. Perhaps the overhang sat there in silence as it always had, unaffected by the winter. Perhaps I should march up there and move it forward. Climb up it. Give it name and place. Motivation was building and finally the time was right. I made my way up the trail for an hour and half to the base of the overhang. Untouched, frozen in it's own winter, perfectly dry and just begging to be climbed.
It took a few days but I figured out a sequence that worked (that always seems to be the way, never the perfect way, but just a way, any way and get it done) and I climbed to the top free from the ground. I dubbed it Lonely Mountain in honor of the dragon Smaug. One of the best FAs I have done yet. It was without fanfare and we quickly moved to the next amazing line. But it's nice to take a moment and reflect on a moment I had waited for all winter, and I finally saw to fruition. And now it is open for everyone to enjoy, while we march on to the next one...