Friday, September 24, 2010

Nu Para Shooos

or, uh,
New Pair of Shoes

In the world of all-consuming hobbies/sports/obsessions, climbing is a pretty light one on the wallet. There's a pretty big startup cost; you have to outfit yourself with a pretty large array of gear. Once you've made that capital investment, though, there are few day-to-day cost to get out and rock climb. Most parks are free or very cheap (at $60/year, Eldorado canyon state park is one of the more expensive climbing venues, but that's still less than one lift ticket to a Colorado mountain).

There's gold in them thar hills! Driving to the mythical Eldorado.

If you buy good quality gear and take care of it, there's no reason why a set of cams, stoppers, biners, etc shouldn't last you 5-10 years. There are a few "consumables", though, and the big ones for climbers are ropes and shoes. With intense use, both can wear out in the span of a year or two.

So, climbers are ALWAYS psyched to check out new shoes. Having a fresh coating of sticky rubber on your toes does wonders for your climbing, letting you stick to holds you normally wouldn't trust. The new shoes smell alone is enough to have me reaching for my chalk bag and thinking about some intense edging testpiece (like Eldo's "Madame Guillotine").

So when the cool folks over at Climb X asked me if I'd like to check out a pair of their "Technician" climbing shoes, and I was very stoked!
Out of the box and onto my feet, it was unfortunately too late to run over to Eldo for a test run, so I did the next best thing and went to the basement for an indoor session. Our 10' bouldering wall doesn't really provide an actual climbing experience, but I could tell the shoes fit well.

Eldorado canyon, Thursday morning. I meet my good friend Zack in the parking lot, and the splitter day beckons with good temperatures and clear skies. We head up to try a new-ish bolted route, the Vaporizer. After a 300' 5.4 ramp approach, the climb achieves an airy position high over the canyon. Starting out with thin, off balance edging, and finishing with too-good-to-be-true jugs, this pitch certainly entertains. The shoes preformed well, sticking to the typical coin sized foot chips and slippery sloping rails.

Zack leading the colorful pitch "Vaporizer"

Enjoying the view across the canyon to the Bastille

As the sun rose higher in the sky, temperatures followed, and we soon were seeking shade. North Face of the Bastille is always a great option, with one of the world's shortest approaches.

My edging nemesis, Madame Guillotine, starts right off the ground and is a very convenient way to shred your fingertips! With cooler temps in the shade, though, I feel good on the micro-holds. No send this time, but I have all the moves. Just need to let my skin recover and give it another go!

We wrapped up the day with a fun link-up of Werk Supp->Nexus->Bastille Crack->Outer Space->XM->West Buttress. We didn't really do that many pitches, but we did climb a little terrain on all of those routes, making a massive rightwards traversing girdle of the Bastille. Still going strong, my feet hardly complain from all of the low-angle climbing. Topping out the Bastille at sunset, I change into flip-flops for the descent and hurry back to home, dinner, and beer.

What a great day outside!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Route in Eldo

My friend Blake and I got out to Eldo yesterday, enjoying a gorgeous early Fall day with highs in the low 70s and an amazing cooling breeze. We had some big plans for the day, thinking of attempting some "Eldo Insanity Link-up". We did not end up doing the link-up (we have a few ideas, something like The Wisdom->Naked Edge followed by Superarete->Doub-Griffith->Mellow Yellow). Hopefully the link-up will go down soon, look for a report in the next few weeks.

Anyways, after running up both excellent pitches of Evangaline, we found ourselves on the Upper Ramp, and Blake onsighted pitch one of "The Serpent" (5.10b R). The Serpent traverses hard left for the whole pitch, and with our rope hanging straight off the anchor, we spotted a potential line up the blank face, joining a steep corner up high and finishing at the Serpent anchors.

The King Cobra is marked in Red. The climber pictured (Josh) is leading "Rise Above" (5.12a). The upper dihedral portion of King Cobra is very foreshortened in the photo, it is actually 20' long.

After a quick top-rope burn, I led the pitch, which we believe is a new route. We called it:
The King Cobra, 5.10+ (5.8 R), Bennett-Herrington, 2010

 The route climbs pretty good rock with some runout 5.8 face to start, and then excellent stemming in good rock with solid gear up high. Go get on it!

Also, for anyone looking for a high quality, safe 5.11 pitch on the Bastille, my friend Rob and I did an old and fairly neglected route on the North Face. I posted the route on Mountain Project, check it out: Nexus, 5.11a

Fall is a gorgeous time to climb in Eldo Canyon, let's all get out and enjoy the beautiful Colorado weather!

Tom Evans and the El Cap Bridge crew enjoying tall boys of King Cobra!