02/02-04/2013

Link to just pictures.

I got an invite, and was able to make, this year's annual degenerate ice climbing trip to Ouray with a bunch of bad-ass climbers. A man-cation of sorts, with lots of trash-talking, meat-eating, and alcohol fueled poker games. I met up with James, Jeff S., and Doug in Gunnison on Saturday morning and we proceeded to seek out some new ice on the west side of Blue Mesa reservoir. James had just read about it in someone's blog and it was a great way to break-up the drive. We turned up highway 92, found a trench in the snow heading down, and parked. Geared up and headed down the slippery slope getting whipped by trees and bushes along the way. The "trail" funneled down into a canyon which turned into the ice called Chipeta Falls. We rappelled down the first couple of bulges to some bolts. After tossing a 60M rope we couldn't see the ends touching the ground near the frozen river, so we tied two ropes together and rappelled in. What a great find! We each did a couple fun laps on the sticky ice, then we pulled the ropes and James lead it out. I lead the extremely easy bulges going out to practice placing a couple ice screws then it was just ~700ft hiking out to the cars. We had a beer then finished the drive to Ouray.
Dan and Austin were at the house when we arrived while Brian, Kevin, Bob, and Scott were out on a climb. We unpacked, poured some beers and hopped in the hot tub. It wasn't long before everyone was back at the house and we downed some awesome Shafer homemade chili. Poker started, laughs continued, and Crown Royal flowed.
Sunday morning came too early and we hammered down gallons of coffee and breakfast burritos. We broke into two groups heading up to Dexter Slabs and Camp Bird Road. Our first choice had climbers on it already so me, Kevin, and Doug went for Chockstone Chimney while Dan and Austin dry-tooled a route. Under a boulder, up a short bit of easy ice, then gear up. Doug lead up to the bottom of the main flow and it was raining down on us. The ice was real variable conditions and Doug lead up the second pitch, setting up a top-rope. Kevin and I each did a lap, getting soaked in the process then we pulled the ropes. Setting up a V-thread took awhile since we didn't know if the ropes would reach all the way down from the upper rappel. Kevin and I just made fun of each other to pass the time. Finally back on the road we went back to the house for a bit, then went to The Schoolroom for some easy top-rope laps. We had a great time and climbed until the park was about to close. Back at the house there was a huge prime rib in the oven and we all got cleaned up for another night of debauchery along with the SuperBowl. The giant hunk of meat was a beautiful thing and we all ate too much, nearing meat-coma.
Monday morning I cooked up a potato, sausage, egg, and cheese mess then a group of us headed up to Camp Bird Road again with Senators Gulch on the radar. Another short approach for me, James, Jeff S., and Doug. Doug lead it first, then we hoisted up some more ice screwed to backup the shady pitons and we each did a lap. James and Jeff S. lead it while the sun was warming up the climb nicely. After another lap on the steeper and fun right-side, it was time for me to hit the road. Other stories that must be told in person involve keg stands, someone "sharting" themselves, and over-indulgence in wine. T'was a fantastic few days of climbing with a great group of guys that I'd tie into a rope with any day.