Friday, July 11, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park 2.0 Part II

(The Diamond-East Face of Long's Peak)
July 5, 2014
Climb Jurassic Park

(Sarah holding on to "The Edge of Time", an area classic)
We had such a good time climbing at Jurassic Park last year, we decided to return and get us some more. Jurassic Park lies right of of Hwy 7 south of Estes Park. It is the noticeable rock ridge when you look up Lily Mountain from Lily Lake.

(Luke cruising up a slab)
Jurassic Park is one of the few sport climbing areas in the Estes park Valley. This place consist of moderate slabs with a few vertical walls. Most routes fall within the 5.6-5.10 range. However, if you are looking for a something a little more stout, you can jump on another area classic:
(Jess on Andrology 5.11d/12)
The Fin, a rock formation with three routes on the West face: Andrology 5.11d/12, Dynamometer 5.11b, and Slabbed up Side Da Head 5.11 are steper climbs. The first two are slightly overhanging up top and super pumpy. Andrology is a major pumpfest, sequency, techy, and a super classic route. It also chewed and spit me out. I hang dogged the last 10' of this route. Of course, Jess loved it but she's not normal.
(Hugo relaxing at anchors)
(Kids making their way to the top...I dont think these kids were supervised)
(Gray smooth scaling the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park)
(Elly onsighting Edge of Time. This is great, because Jess completely and utterly failed on this route last year. And then her munchkin daughter onsights this...no help needed. No falls. No complaining. Not sketched out once! Ok, slight exagerration, but not by much.)
(Sarah working out crack sequence)
(Our group)
Ok, so my quick rant...apparently, local guides bringing up groups around here can suck...like big time. Yeah, we are a big group...and yeah, we have tons of little kids...and yeah, we can take up rock real estate when kiddoes are climbing. But dude...you dont' have to lie to us and tell us you need a permit to climb. We are not a guide group. We are families trying to introduce the love of the outdoors to our kids. We are also trying to instill the love of climbing to them as well. The same way you are introducing rock climbing to all your boy scouts, is no different than us teaching our kids to climb. On another note, we're not thrilled you guys get up there in the wee hours of the morning to set up ropes and take up routes all day long. That's like a dog peeing on a tree man...let's not mark territories when climbing. If it's a busy day at the crag, let's just communicate. Let's be courteous to one another...hell, maybe even share lines and work together. It seemed to work with other climbers using the same space, why not you guys? Now, I'm just being pissy here...there were some cool guys up there guiding groups and I appreciate you being kind to us. I know for every jerk, there are 10 super chill, great guides out there. But man, that one idiot sure causes a little dark cloud everywhere he goes. He's lucky our boy Hugo didn't rip his head off. Hugo is gangsta dawg...and he would have gone hood on him in a second. Just saying. Ok, I'm done.
Approach to Jurassic Park is not easy. It's about 30-45 mintues with kids. 20 minutes without them. And its a strenous hike with all your gear on your back. But the views are awesome.
(Hannah R. and Pia after coming down from Jurassic Park)
July 6, 2014
Twin Sisters Peak 11,428'
RT: 7.4 miles
Elevation Gain of 2475'
(From the top of Twin Sisters, you have stunning views of Long's Peak. Picture above is Long's in the distance and Twin Sisters Shadow looming in the valley below.)
Brad, Rod, Hugo and I got up at 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning and drove out to the TH. We started our hike at 4:05 a.m. and summited at 6:05 a.m. (2 hours to reach summit).
 
 



From the top of Twin Sisters, you get a 360 view of RMNP/Estes Park Valley. This was an great hike. It's rated strenous...but it's doable. We hung out on the summit for 30 minutes, took pics, ate a snack, and enjoyed the views.
Another look at Long's from Twin Sisters Peak. This is an impressive mountain, with an even more impressive rock face known as the Diamond. I'm looking forward to being on the top of that mountain one day. We hiked down and were back down to the TH at 8:00 a.m. The hike, with rest up top took about 4 hours total. It was a sweet way to start the day...
July 6 (the same day as Twin Sisters Peak Hike), we also enjoyed the Trail Ridge Road up to the visitor Center.
  
Trail Ridge Road is a stretch of hwy (Hwy 34) that is the highest continuous paved road in the U.S. 8 miles of it is above 11,000'. It traverses RMNP from Estes Park in the East to Grand Lake in the West. It also crosses the continental divide at Milner Pass. The road stretches to nearly 40 miles and has several look out points where you can park and hike.
 At the visitor center up top, you can park and hike 200' up to a point where you reach 12,000'. I know this hike is no big deal, but I felt like it was a big deal for me. This is the highest these kiddoes have ever been. And personally, I was excited to see my kids reach this point and know they still felt great. My plan is working!!!!! I am slowly grooming them to be climbers and mountaineers!!! HAHAHA...
...and yes, this happened up there. Brad...or should I say Benny!!!! showed up. Mr. Diva himself...We all know Benny is all ego! And this is him at his best. Benny Zoolander!
After driving down trail ridge road, we all picknicked down in Hidden valley...a pretty, serene, lush valley off of trail ridge road. 
 and on the same day...later in the afternoon...we got in a quick bouldering session on a random boulder we found in a boulder field...
 Thanks to Jess and her nonstop pursuit of climbing...and never say die climbing attitude, she dragged us to go climb some more.
 The boulder we were climbing had a few problems to send...I don't know if they have ever been established or not...since there were no tick marks and the boulder was not cleaned off (still tons of lichen on it). There was a V0, two V1's, and a V?(too hard for us to grade since we could't solve the problem...though I can tell it was harder than a V5...the one pictured above...the one of me throwing myself at, gastoning a two finger micro flake like an idiot to the sloper finish we never touched you see above.)
Another great vacation...another great time spent in the mountains. This was a big trip. This was the first time my nephews got to see real mountains. This was exciting. I know they are drawn to these places. I know for Brad, this is a big moment...to be able to share this place with his family. He always talks about bringing the boys to places like this. I'm glad he has the opportunity to do so...matter of fact, they are still there. After all of us left, they weren't done. They were headed to Breck, Mirror Lake to camp, then to the San Juans where they are going to get to play in Ouray and Telluride. This will be a great week for them.
 
It was great to be able to spend time with our friends and family. Colorado Mountains vacation 3.0...only a year away! I wonder, Estes park again? Or maybe a new place? We'll see...




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park 2.0 Part I

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence- continuing to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phillipians 2:12-13

As of late, I have been struggling to see any spiritual fruit in my life. There are many reasons I can think of that explains why the spiritual well feels dry (laziness being one of them). But what really saddens me is I cannot see, hear, or feel the spirit moving. When this happens, I am stagnant. Life is different. What's worst, when I am living differently, I fail to see the Lord's work around me. And since I'm a visual person, this is very discouraging for me.

But the Lord is faithful! Yes he is.

While in Colorado for family vacation, I was hoping for rejuvenation. I was hoping for something special. And sure enough, it came. But not through the mountains, rivers, or valleys...no. Not through the fun and fellowship of friends and family while climbing, hiking, or fishing...no. It was through my best bud, Sean Moore, who emailed me from Haiti and shared a few words of wisdom with me. I immediately felt a kindling in my heart...and my faith began to feel stronger.
Sean wrote me via Ken Gire (author of Moments with a Savior (and many more books):

"Simply this. That God's purposes are not thwarted by our humanity, however weak and wayward it may be. That He works in us and through us and, more often than not, in spite of us. That he works with us, as a gardener works with his garden. Lifting, pruning, watering, weeding. Whatever it takes to bring it to fruition. Or however long it takes." -Ken Gire-
This truth came in perfect timing. For we know that God works in and through us. Jesus says God works in us for His good purpose. What I often forget though, is that God continues to use me...despite of me. Imagine that. Regardless of myself...regardless of all my struggles, inadequacy, and unwillingness, God will continue to see His purpose through. God is not thwarted by my humanity...no! He works in and through me, as a gardner does in a garden. I, with God's Grace, need to understand that I'm called to continue to work out my salvation, and allow the Lord to lift, prune, water, and weed me! Allow the Lord to bring me to fruition.

Thank you brother Sean! Thanks for the timely words. There is fruit in me. Despite my humanity, despite my condition, God continues to pursue me and cultivate me...no matter how long it takes!
What: Rocky Mountain National Park Family Vacation
Who: Hardin Family, Gilbert Family, Reyes-Ortiz Family, and Pasquels!
When: July 3-7, 2014
Where: Estes Park, CO
Activities: Climbing, Hiking, Fishing, Sight Seeing, and a lot of fun.
July 2
We arrived to Longmont after a 12.5 hour drive from home. We set up camp at St. Vrain State Park and headed into town to eat dinner and have a few (root) beers...
 We visited Oskar Blues restuarant and their brewery in Longmont. I particularly enjoyed their Deviant Dale's Pale Ale the most...good beer.
July 3
Pasquel family arrived in Estes Park and climbed Lilly Mountain. We spent most of the day enjoying/acclimating to about 8000' while rock climbing.
I was really proud of Hannah for climbing her first 5.8! She onsighted her first 5.8 (TR). She was super excited as well. Good job Banana!
July 4
Hike to Mills Lake to fish and hang out.
Round trip hike: 6 miles
Elevation gain: 700'
 Mills lake is a beautiful alpine lake that sits at 9,940' above sea level. The hike starts at the Glacier Gorge TH and hikes up 700' for about 3 miles (unofficial because the mileage signs on this trail are off).
  The trail all the way up is a class 1, moderate hike. Most of the trail follows Glacier Creek up to...
Alberta Falls. The hike to Alberta Falls from the TH is about a mile long. This waterfall roars down 30'. Very powerful waterfall.
 
 Rest of the hike from Alberta Falls to Mills Lake is about two miles.
Mills lake is beautiful. Mills lake is named after Enos Mills, the man known as "The Father of Rocky Mountain National Park. He was a great naturalist and outdoorman. He summited Long's Peak (the only 14,000' peak in the park) by the age of 15 and had over 300 more successful summits in this lifetime. But he is credited with the creation of RMNP by lobbying congress and writing numerous letters to create and perserve this beautiful park.
 
 
 Mills Lake is relatively big for an alpine lake. It is a 1/3 of a mile long. Supposedly, Mills Lake is one of the better places to fish in the Park. They have all kinds of trout (Rainbow, Brown, Greenback) to different kind of Suckers. However, we weren't very lucky.
Hugo is the only one who caught anything. We believe it was a rainbow trout, but we don't know for sure.
We all spent about 2 hours fishing up there before the afternoon showers started rolling in. Place is truly incredible. By the way, that peak you see in the backgorund is the backside of Long's Peak.
I was very proud of the kids. They hiked 6 miles. We were up in the mountains for 5/6 hours and they all had great attitudes. I told Sarah that this will probably be the most memorable part of the trip for me. The fact that the kiddos hiked 6 miles! I know my girls have never done that before. They were all good sports, made this day enjoyable, and somehow still had energy left over at the end of our day.

Big time memories for me so far:
-Hannah climbing 5.8
-Kids hiking 6 miles
-Me fishing with the girls (which never happen)

great start to ur trip.

Part II up next...