I first climbed with Harry and Iris last summer. We had a couple of fun days rock climbing down at Taylor Canyon. This spring, Harry contacted me via email and inquired about climbing around Colorado with me this summer. My ears perked up at the chance to work at some of my favorite remote, exciting, alpine places with two great folks who are always up for an adventure.
Both Harry and Iris were interested in furthering their rock climbing skills as well as climbing in the mountains around Crested Butte. They both live in the U.K. and have climbed and skied extensively in the Alps so I did my best to show off local treasures right here in CB.
The basis for all technical travel in the mountains begins with a fundamental understanding and use of rock climbing skills and techniques.
We began at Taylor Canyon and climbed a variety of multi-pitch rock climbs. We were able to hone in on movement skills as well as ropework at the crag and then apply those skills to the mountain environment on rock and snow.
Some of our alpine objectives included a traverse of the Ruby range via an ascent of the S Couloir on Purple Peak and a rarely visited rock and snow route on Goldentop, a local 13er.
Our final objective was to climb a route in the Black Canyon. Climbing in the Black is a test of rock climbing skills but also incorporates alpine climbing skills like route finding, dealing with loose rock and being very alone in a very remote place.
We selected Maiden Voyage III 5.9 as our climb. Unfortunately Iris was ill that morning so just Harry and I headed down to the Black. We left Crested Butte at 0400 to ensure an early alpine start and to beat the heat.
We topped out at 1115 just as the sun hit our route. Instantly, a chilly morning turned into an 85 degree summer day. Good thing Harry and I cruised the route!!
All in all, we had six great days of very unique diverse climbing and rarely saw another individual. Our granite is not quite like Chamonix's, but we had it all to ourselves, and only saw two Frenchmen smoking cigarettes throughout the six days!
I want to thank Harry and Iris for a ton of great, exciting climbing but also for their wonderful camaraderie and great sense of adventure. It was a pleasure working with them both, and I am looking forward to it next summer.