Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Break - Desert Spires and Colorado 14ers

I went hard over spring break, maybe too hard. I drove over 2,000 miles, visited friends and family in Utah, climbed 13 pitches in Moab, including two desert classics (Ancient Art and Castleton Tower), climbed and skied over 10,000 vertical feet en route to the top of two 14ers and one 13er on back-to-back-to-back days (including the highest mountain in Colorado), and visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Colorado National Monument. Another day, another dollar.  
A lot of driving and a lot of fun

PART 1: Northern Utah

Trail running with Wyatt the dog
Climbing in Big Cottonwood Canyon (Quartzite and No Stainless 5.10a)
I further indoctrinated myself at the Natural History Museum 

Wyatt wanted to go to Moab with me

PART 2: Wall Street and Castleton Tower via North Chimney (5.9 trad, 3 pitches)

Paul onsighted this 5.10 trad route at the Wall Street area
Castleton Tower 
The approach 
The North Chimney route follows the corner and chimney left of center
Paul leading the first pitch of North Chimney - classic pitch 
Luke and I following the 1st pitch
Me about to lead the off-width chimney pitch of North Chimney
Paul coming up the 2nd pitch
Luke sending the 3rd pitch
Luke stepping across
Paul approaching the summit
Panorama - Castle Valley and the La Sals
Castleton shadow
The descent

PART 3: Ancient Art via Stolen Chimney (5.10 trad/sport, 4 pitches) and River Road

30 minute appraoch to the climb. Ancient Art is the obvious bizarre-looking spire  
The base of the route and all the crowds waiting to climb the iconic route 
Paul leading the first pitch 
Luke working his way up the balancy section on the first pitch
Luke leading 3rd pitch
Paul following third pitch 
Paul on his way to the top 
Paul climbing  
Luke belaying me on the final pitch of Ancient Art
Me on top of Ancient Art
Me leading this fun bolted chimney along River Road in Moab
Luke climbing the chimney

I led this burly hand crack, should have worn tape

PART 4: Quandary Peak (14,265 ft) solo ski descent. ~3,000 ft. elevation gain

Quandary Peak (14,265 ft)
Following the skin track to the top 
Getting closer to Quandary Peak summit  
Looking southwest towards North Star Mountain on my way up Quandary Peak
Solo ski descent off Quandary Peak 
My tracks coming off Quandary Peak

PART 5: Mt. Elbert (14,439 ft) ~5,000 ft elevation gain

Break time
The Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rockies
About to ski down Mt. Elbert
Michael had enough

PART 6: North Star Mountain (13,614 ft)

Breath, breath
Summit of North Star Mountain 
Michael getting ready to ski down North Star Mountain
Michael shredding  
Michael leaving his mark and avoiding the old mining equipment 
Stopped to see the Painted Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Drove through the San Juan mountains on my way home - I'm coming for you