January, Eldorado Canyon, Colorado. January is a fine time to be cranking in Eldorado Canyon; the crisp temps maximize the sandstone’s gritty texture, and the short days make climbing short pitches feel worthwhile. Routes like “The Evictor”, were not, however, at the forefront of my mind last January. I was training, planning, and dreaming about my upcoming trip, my first big international climbing trip. By the end of the month, I’d be cranking pristine white granite in the Argentine Summer!
photo by Ryan Day Thompson
February, El Chalten, Argentina. Aguja Poincenot and Cerro Fitz Roy, viewed from the front yard of the “Don Quixote”, the mostly water-resistant little cinder block house I shared with a few like minded gringo dirtbags for the month of February.
February, Aguja Guillamet, Argentine Patagonia. Blake Herrington leads a pitch low on our new route “Las Vent’uras”, our near-miss attempt to establish the first all-free route on the West Face of this peak. The route climbs the long, right-leaning crack system, leading into the intimidating maw of the chimney/OW/flare above. This was the first route that I ever helped to open ground-up, and now I’m hooked.
March, Valle Francais, Chilean Patagonia. After a productive February, I went into tourist mode and cruised over to Chile, home to the famous Torres del Paine. Of course, I did not get the chance to climb on any of these giants: Cota Dos Mil, Cerro Catedral, and Aleta de Tiburon. Someday…
April, Castle Valley, Utah. Back in the States, and back in my plucky little car. The following day, Blake and I would climb all of these towers, from right to left, for their first in-a-day enchainment of the Castle Valley Spires.
May, Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado. Cody Scarpella boldly goes ground up on “The Wasp” (5.12+). We traded burns on this amazing granite testpiece, enjoying the cryptic moves and bomber gear! Photo by Ben Walburn
June, Mt. Evans, Colorado. My friend Zack and I chilling at a belay on “Good Evans (5.10+), at Colorado’s most convenient Alpine climbing venue. The Northern Summer would prove to be just as fun as the Southern!
July, Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado. The first annual Alpine-a-palooza, held in RMNP’s Glacier Gorge! A dozen mountain-loving folks gathered to celebrate a week in that pristine alpine cirque, and much good food, good music, and good granite was had by all!
Here, the moon is about to rise behind Long’s Peak, and the crew readies our dee-lux double bivy cave for another night of well earned sleep.
This shot captures so much for me, Thanks to Forest Woodward for taking it!
July, atop our bivy cave. Alpine Scrabble, Oskar Blues beer, and crosswords! Also from Forest.
August, North Cascades, Washington. Garrett Grove exemplifying our fun-at-all-costs mentality on the West Face of Colchuck Balanced Rock (5.11). Between the glacially-fed river soaks, homemade margarita sessions, and other “lifestyle” pursuits, we did manage to do some climbing.
September, Smith Rocks, Oregon. Roaming backs towards Colorado, I stopped for a few pleasant weeks on the high desert plateau of Central Oregon to sample of the unique local volcanic tuft. Look closely for Brad Gobright on the ride side of the Monkey Face Spire, climbing on the aptly named “Backbone” (5.13a). Photo by Brian Mosbaugh.
October, Indian Creek, Utah. This sunset evolved over maybe half an hour, while we were packing up at the crag. As it started to fade, I ran down, trying to get some silhouette action with the Bridger Jack towers against the sky.
November, Indian Creek, Utah. It gets cold in the desert in November. Whiskey helps.
December, Long’s Peak, Colorado. Back in the ‘Rado for a few months, I’ve again been focusing on training for another big South American trip. Climbing ice and mixed terrain on Long’s recently helped to get me ready for gloved climbing, cold belays, and that well earned summit!
Photo by Cheyne Lempe