Alpine season around Boulder, Colorado is in full effect right now. Areas like Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Mount Evans, and Lincoln Lake are receiving their daily thunder showers, wildflowers are flourishing, and tourists are taking up all the good parking spots.
It’s a coveted time of year when these high altitude areas melt out and unveil vast amounts of world class climbing. There’s so much to do in so little time, and no recourse but to accept the rat race that is projecting in the alpine. All you can do is try your best, and hope you’re lame enough to let that idea comfort you when the season’s over and projects x, y and z got the best of you. It’s harsh, but so is the alpine, damnit!
This year’s weather has been par for the course. Rain storms appear quickly and stay indefinitely, and it’s difficult to predict if and when a boulder problem will be climbable. That was the case a few weeks ago when I ignored the inclement weather forecast and made an afternoon trip to RMNP. I felt close on my project Top Notch, but decided that day to focus on Riddles in the Park. Riddles is a problem that is safer early in the season when snow is there to flatten the otherwise talus landing, and the snow was melting. Despite the mist in the air and intermittent showers, the holds were dry enough to send. I moved on to Top Notch and next thing I knew I was hiking down in the rain with a shit eating grin on my face.
I felt so fortunate to have completed two classic lines in such bad weather. That same weekend I made my first trip this year to Lincoln Lake and kept the streak alive, sending Great War for Civilization while the weather allowed.
Since then I’ve shifted focus to The Wheel of Chaos.
This 21 move RMNP power endurance test piece sits in thin air at 11,000 ft. I first looked at this line on my way up to a new area called The Throne Zone. That day in The Throne Zone I got the first ascent of a fun crimp line on bullet rock called Little Finger.
While working on The Wheel of Chaos I had a chance to finish a couple other notable lines in RMNP. I finished Busch Pilot and European Human Being, and snagged what I believe to be a second ascent of The Da Vinci Macnhine.
Then just last week, I managed to send Wheel of Chaos. It’s my proudest send this year and I feel some relief that I can hang my hat on this, regardless of what happens between now and the dreaded end of the alpine season.
There’s roughly a month left in the alpine season. It’ll be sure to fly by, but I’m hoping for a couple more memorable sends before these areas close shop (Jade, Freaks of the Industry?). With any luck, I’ll at least be able to say, “I tried my best,” and feel better for it.