An investment in CO (climbing)

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Rodc
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An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Rodc » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:34 pm

A fun one!

We live below our means and invest so we can have money later to invest in things we need and occasionally things we just want. This is about a case of the latter. I might add it is also why the not inconsiderable investment in fitness.

I got up from my desk one day this summer and went to Co to do some climbing. I'm not entirely sure what made me think this particular climb was a desirable thing to do. I climbed the 1,600 east face of the mountain behind the lake, Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is the premiere high alpine wall in CO. Something of a stretch goal for a 56 year old desk jockey and very part time climber. It starts not very hard and just gets steeper and harder as you go. After nearly 1,600 ft of climbing, at 14,000 ft it is finally overhanging, 5.10 for you climbers. The climb goes from the ground up 600 ft to a ledge 10s of feet wide (aptly named Broadway). This is 4th class (mountaineering sort of difficulty) to 5.5 (fairly easy technical rock climbing) which we did in regular shoes and glove liners as it was cold. The after that came the Diamond, the aptly named diamond shaped vertical face. The climb started about in the middle at the lowest point, then went up and occasionally to the left, and ended on the upper left edge of the face. This face is by modern standards "moderate" to verging on expert (tops out at 5.10). While not super hard, the 1,600 ft of climbing, 14,000 ft altitude, fickle weather, exposure, not to mention 5 mile and 3,000 ft gain hike in and out, made this a pretty daunting challenge for me. So, I confess I was pretty proud and excited to pull it off without much difficulty. Though I was fine I there was not a lot of gas in the tank by the time all was said and done. I expected to be totally sore all over the next day hobbling around, but I was fine.

I was actually out in CO for 4 days. One day of hard climbing in Eldorado Springs, one day easy climbing in Boulder Canyon, one day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, then this climb. Next morning on a plane home.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. It is a beautiful place. Given the recent devastation in that area I don't think you can even get there now. :(

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Here is another shot I took from some distance.
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Yours truly:
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My partner and I started out about 5:30am:
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Partner headed straight up:
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On an easy traverse, about 800 ft off the ground.
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Fun shot for scale. This is off to my right. Can you find the climber wearing red? This is only about half the climb, though his route is rather more difficult than mine.
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This is my climb. The picture shows maybe 40% of the upper wall.
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Basically the end. The climb ends over on the upper left edge of the face. From there you can either scramble up to the top and hike down the right skyline to a repel or you can just repel. I have hiked to the top a couple of times, and mindful of afternoon thunder showers our plan was to just finish the technical climb and then do the 8 double length repels back to the start.

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Last edited by Rodc on Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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livesoft
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:36 pm

Good stuff. Thanks for the photos.
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by InvestorNewb » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:45 pm

Looks pretty cool, but scary at the same time.
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GTF
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by GTF » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:13 pm

Rodc,

Those pictures and description bring back some great memories. I will probably never climb the vertical rock again but I will always remember the days I did. You have every right to be proud Longs Peak is impressive. Great photos.

Greg

Colorado13
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Colorado13 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:52 pm

Great photos! Thanks for sharing. I'm glad that you had a good time.

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mhc
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by mhc » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:45 am

Great photos.

I just looked out my office window, and it looks like there is snow on Long's Peak. Looks beautiful with the morning sun hitting it.

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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by SteveB3005 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:53 am

I think I got a little dizzy! Very nice.

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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Andyrunner » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:55 am

Wife and I love rocky mountain NP. Always joke we are going to retire out to Estes Park.

Not much of climbers but love hiking out to Sky pond and Andrew's Glacier. Great pictures, we still need to attempt longs peak one day.

Rodc
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Rodc » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:00 am

mhc wrote:Great photos.

I just looked out my office window, and it looks like there is snow on Long's Peak. Looks beautiful with the morning sun hitting it.
Given the recent flooding, I hope you are alright.

Would love to have that view or similar. Maybe in half a dozen years or so...
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The Wizard
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by The Wizard » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:02 am

Good job, Rod.
I was never into rock climbing but have hiked up a number of 14ers out there in years gone by.
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:33 am

Super cool! Thanks for sharing the trip report and pictures.

DW and I haven't made it out to RMNP yet, but we plan to at some point.
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Alf 101
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Alf 101 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:33 am

Well done; there are no "gimmes" on the Diamond. You have some altitude, the weather changes quickly, and it's a mountain -- with loose rock and the standard alpine challenges. September is a great time to climb most anywhere though, but particularly so in RMNP.

By the pictures this looks familiar enough my guess this was the so-called Casual Route. If so, I did that one some years ago, though on a day that didn't seem quite as nice. I remember it as being very fair for the grade, with the best pitches near the top of the route. A great route, really.

Any plans to return to the area? No doubt you've done the north routes on Sharkstooth and Spearhead. The Petit Grepon is also quite good, though with a lengthy descent. The south ridge on Notchtop was another fine one, though the route finding was a little more challenging. I also did a route on Hallet that was a skitch run-out. All are good climbs for us mortals. Just curious what's next.

All in all, I think it was an excellent investment. If you can save a certain amount of money, why wouldn't you spend it having an adventure and building memories? Life's not about being cheap, it's about finding value.

Rodc
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Rodc » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:13 am

Hi Alf,

Yes, this is the Casual Route. And I thought the best pitches were near the top as well. You get the "enduro" pitch, a rather continuously moderately strenuous 5.8 dihedral with a nice crack in the back. Not all that hard, just not much rest and you have already climbed 1200 or 1300 ft by then and the air is getting a little thin. Then something similar, only steeper and with a rather thinner crack at 5.9 up to a strenuous squeeze chimney. Then you pop out on to a short bit of overhanging 5.10a. Those two pitches together coming right at the top are really nice.

I did Sharkstooth and the Petit many years ago when I was a student at CU. Got off route and lost on the Petit and made it rather harder than it needed to be. :)

I was out on a family vacation last summer and wanted to do Hallett but the weather did not cooperate. May do that next. I didn't lead the Casual Route, but I could lead one of the 5.8s on Hallett which would be nice.

I'd like to next get either up to Canada or the Alps and add some snow and ice in the mix, at least for something "big". For sure will be some snow and ice routes here at home on Mt Washington and some of the local New England ice flows over the next several months. That won't get going for two or three months.

How about you?
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FoolStreet
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by FoolStreet » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:12 pm

great fun!

I'd love to add it to the bucket list :-) Would you mind sharing the costs and whether you used a paid guide to run the sharp end of the rope up?

My most memorable climb was Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. 1k vertical climbing starting at 10k feet. 360 deg views from a tabletop perch at the top. Mostly 5.8 and 5.9, nut it was all exposure. Great times.

Rodc
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by Rodc » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:52 pm

FoolStreet wrote:great fun!

I'd love to add it to the bucket list :-) Would you mind sharing the costs and whether you used a paid guide to run the sharp end of the rope up?

My most memorable climb was Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. 1k vertical climbing starting at 10k feet. 360 deg views from a tabletop perch at the top. Mostly 5.8 and 5.9, nut it was all exposure. Great times.
Sounds like a great climb!

I did use a guide. This was more than I wanted to lead and I did not have a partner lined up at any rate.

I used Colorado Mountain School (http://coloradomountainschool.com/).

I climbed with a guide named Eric Whewell (http://ewhewellguiding.blogspot.com/). Very solid and personable.

I have also climbed with the famed Colorado climber Bob Culp (http://bobculp.com/site.php?page=home). He is now in his 70s but still gets it on pretty well. This was a little more than he was up for. But Hallett or other slightly more modest climbs would be good. If you wanted to climb something a little less demanding than the Diamond you might give Bob a call because how often can you climb with a legend who has put up who knows how many classic first ascents back in the day?
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:20 am

That is one of my favorite climbs of all time. Thanks for the PM as I had missed this. I can't believe how exhausting it is to climb "merely vertical 5.8" at 13,000 feet.
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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by T_in_ATL » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:02 pm

Thanks for posting the photos! My wife and I have family in that area and try to get out there every year for some hiking. We hiked to Chasm Lake a couple years ago and sat marveling at couple guys climbing the diamond. Nice to see your pictures and get a bit of a different perspective!

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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by mike_slc » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:49 pm

Nice man!

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Re: An investment in CO (climbing)

Post by diasurfer » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:56 pm

Cool! thanks for posting.

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