Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Family bouldering in Colorado Springs

On Saturday I pulled into the town of Fountain, near Colorado Springs, for two fun days of bouldering and hanging out with my brother Chris and his family, as well as my mom who had arrived the day before.  Since retiring from the Army and returning to his house in Colorado, Chris has recreated his garage as the Close Family Bouldering Cave, and I was excited for my first official pilgrimage to see it.  With 20 and 30 degree walls meeting at a right angle, and eventual expansions being considered, it's a place that I'm sure would make me loads stronger if I had it at my regular disposal.

For a good part of Saturday night and Sunday morning, I went through his favorite circuit and made up several more problems of my own, making my fingers more sore than they had been even after a week at Leavenworth and Squamish.

Even the pets like to get in on the fun...

I particularly enjoyed the decoration of the room, with the wall containing various stickers and a copy of the same patch used on my crash pads and chalk bags.  Along one of the beams, my brother has a fascinating collection of old climbing gear used over the past few decades by both himself and our uncle, including mementos of military climbs he participated in.

On Sunday after a morning session in the garage, we were able to beat the rain for some bouldering at both Garden of the Gods and North Cheyenne Canyon.  Starting at the Snake Pit area of the Garden, warming up on a few easier lines on the Mongoose Block, as well as a fun low problem on the west overhang.

We also managed to do a few short problems on the Traverse Boulder before the rain forced us to pack up and move on.

Driving over to North Cheyenne Canyon, we stopped at the roadside Graduation Boulder, where we did several vertical variations and a couple fun traverses.  The best was the classic layback problem Graduation, which wasn't too difficult but had great motion.  According to my brother, it also has a long history as a training problem for local military climbers.

Unfortunately the rain showed up again before we could do much more, but that was probably a good thing in an area so recently devastated by fires.  Just means there's that much more for me to go back and play on later.  For now, I'm happily sitting on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, with a couple great days of hiking and bouldering behind me and a few more still to come.  Should be fun!

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