Friday, May 8, 2015

RMNP Spring 2015

Here's a generic, corny quote I've always related to:

I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the growth occurs while you're climbing it.” -Random quote, unsure who authored it-

Here's another:

"Take Pains with these things, be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all." 1 Timothy 4:15

There were several times on Mount Lady Washington, above 12,000', with winds howling, lungs burning, legs giving out...where I just wanted to stop and turn around. Several times I thought..."Man, this is not worth it. The views are good enough. Who cares if I summit or not. I'm cold. I'm hungry. I'm getting colder...I can't feel my toes...My fingers are numb. Again, who cares about this mountain?!?! This is no 14er...this is not one of the Colorado Centennials. For climbers...I'm sure this 13er is an afterthought...a mere footnote in most mountaineer's resume.

But, like anything else...I just kept telling myself, "Just one more step..., just one more step. Just keep moving." And sure enough, each step was more painful than the last. I told Scott that climbing these mountains hurt. There's not much physical pleasure you get out of them...they drain you, exhaust you, and leave you dehydrated, hungry, and bent over with headaches and sun/windburns.

Yet, I keep coming back...I still desire more. I can't get enough of the pain and misery one endures. In a sense, on these mountains,  I am a glutton for punishment. Like Lu said, "It hurts now...but come (work)day, I am going to wish I was right here, right now." And that's the truth.
Digging deep and pushing past difficulties is something I seek out here. I know it hurts...and I can easily turn back, but slowly and painstakingly making my way through these wild places is something I am constantly chasing. I want to know that I can. I want to know that I can be stronger. I don't know if it's healthy reasoning, common, or what not...I don't even know if I'm compensating for something. I just know, I like the feeling of doubt being conquered. This is a real life high for me. Yes, Summits are great...views are amazing...but beating myself, my body, and more importantly my psyche is what motivates me. I like to know that I have more to give... more to offer of myself. I like to know that I believe...can progress...and with each step up the mountain, my faith grows.

I like to think that my recreation mirrors my walk in the Lord. Yes, there are setbacks. Rainy days (sad and depressed)...hurting days (pain)...shutdown days (no motivation)...floods, avalanche, and rockfall days (emotional days)...whiteout days (blind, nearsighted and selfish)...gear malfunction days(nothing's working)...and on and on.

I know these days hurt...and I can turn back. But this is not where growth happens. Growth does not happen on beautiful blue-bird days. Yes, I want pretty days more often than not...but I want hard. I want to go to the wild emotional places of our lives. I want to cross the roaring rivers of anger, depression, and hurt at work. I want to scale the mountain of personal doubt. I want hard. I want to know that I can. I want to know, no matter what...with each step I take, that I am a conqueror. I don't want to turn back. I want to push past. I want to know that my faith in Jesus is real. I don't want to simply believe. I want my faith to be tested. I desire for my faith to be tested. And I want to know that my faith continues to stand the test of time...through the hard, ugly, and the most difficult. I want to know most, that when times get harder, I don't turn around...instead, I look up and offer more and more of myself.
What: Go up Flattop Mountain and Mount Lady Washington (13, 280') and North Table Top Mountain
Where: Rocky Mountain National Park and Golden, CO
When: 5/1/15-5/4/15
Who: Scott McGrubbercutty, Lu/Aaron for about 2 minutes Lawler, Myself
Day 1:
Attempt to go up Flattop Mountain...or get up as high as we could. Scott and I flew in from DFW the night before, drove into Estes Park Friday night close to midnight and set up camp. Lu is not a Coloradan...just moved to Denver area so he's just fine. Our acclimatization plan was to simply get a decent night's rest and get going early Saturday morning.
Saturday was slow going. We set our alarm for 5am...but we didn't get on TH until 7:30 a.m. We realized we didn't have enough water and the Moraine Campgrounds didn't have any running water at the time. So we got the Bear lake TH and filtered water from the creek. So we didn't get going until 8am. And this is late start if you want to spend a significant amount of time above tree-line. This late start dictated our plans for the day. But this was fine. Its was Day #1 and we were there to have fun and get good views.

Our Trip Profile:
Mileage RT: 6.2 miles
Elevation gain: 2532'
Start: Bear Lake TH: 9480'
Finished: Pt 12,012'
Start time: 8:00 a.m.
Finish: Unkown...forgot to keep note.
Day started out as partly cloudly...and we knew there was a high chance of precip and high winds blowing in the afternoon. And wind we got!
Going up...we could see the winds coming in.
And sure enough...winds hit us hard. Hard to say how fast...but we suspected 30-40 mph sustained winds...with a lot faster gusts...

Click link to see full video on youtube. Turn it up!
It was a good first day. We Went up...experienced some thrilling winds, snowshoed back down...hiked a mile more to go see Alberta Falls and finished the day at Estes Park Brewery enjoying good brews and watching the Kentucky Derby.
Day 2: Mount Lady Washington 13,281'
Route: East Ridge, Class 3
TH: East Long's Peak TH 9400'
Elevation gain: 3881'
Mileage: 8 miles RT
TH start time: 5 a.m.
Return to car: 12:00 p.m.
Time: 7 hours
We woke up 3:15 a.m. to get the day started off right. We cooked breakfast, drank coffee and drove from Moraine Campground to the TH. There were several skiers parked and ready to go as well.
Unlike the previous day...the weather was perfect. Bluebird skies, no winds up until 12,000'. The snow was nice and compact and we used microspikes all the way up. In the middle morning hours...the snow softened and we basically snowshoed the majority of the way down. Conditions were absolutely perfect. My only regret...I wish I would have had my ice axe for the last couple hundered feet of Lady Washington. Just used poles and thee were a few spots I could have slid down on icy snow. Picture above of Lu gives you an idea of the snowpack on the trail below treeline. And I hear the Park is getting more snow this week! Lot of snow for this time of year!
As soon as you get above tree line, which took us about an hour and a half or immediately see Lady Washington with Long's Diamond face to the West. I thought it was really cool to be hiking at the tops of these smaller trees. Again...indication of how much snow is up there.
We didn't know what route we were going to take up Washington. Originally, we thought we would take the standard route up the North Ridge. But that required more travel towards Granite Junction/Pass. We looked directly up the East face of Washinton and figured we could climb directly above. So we chose to head towards Chasm Lake Junction and get a better view of the route.
...Long's East Face. The Diamond.
So our route started on the ridge and continued on the face. From below, it does not look too steep or even high up. Honestly, it felt like it was only 500' above.
We severely underestimated this mountain. This thing just keeps going...and going. From Chasm doesn't look like much. But turns are still about a mile and over 1500' of elevation gain away from the top. It's super deceiving. The the steepness of the mountain is also deceiving. The max slopes above is around 60% and the last few hundered feet had to avg around 50%. This was a beating. I don't know if its because I wasn't expecting much out of this mountain...but there have been several 14ers I've been on that are relatively easier than Lady Washington. Pay her your respect!
So...we didn't get to enjoy the summit for too long. The East approach was protecting us from the high soon as we topped out, the winds were knocking us off balance. We took a few shots, hugged, yelled, and then quickly found rock shelter below. The winds were a blowin' up there. Nonetheless...this place has some of the most impressive views of the entire park. The Mummy range to the North...Long's face to your was amazing.
S a look back...don't let that "gentle hill" fool you...its long, and way up there...You just lose all perspective with that white background!

We capped off the great weekend at Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont. Still my favorite Oskar Blues Brew...Deviant Dale's IPA. Just yummy goodness. Good friends (minus Lu), good times, good memories.
The following day...we were hoping to do a little rock climbing at Table was a rain out. So we hiked up to the top and drove through Clear Creek Canyon. I am looking forward to my return this Summer...Looking to get on some routes and I guess attend Lu's wedding that's going to take a chunk out of my outdoor time.

Again, thank you Lu for having us...always a blast to see you. Scott...thanks for joining us and getting to experience the mountains. Hope to have you on more trips.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Moore Fun! Spring 2015

"Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind." Phil 2:2

The scripture above says it all...We love you Jen, Sean, Maj, Addy, and B! You guys are loved and already missed.

Your family,


(if the above video is fuzzy or you want to enlarge, click here:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Red Rock and Zion Trip Report 2015

What: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Zion National Park
Who: Cheang Moore, B-Rad Benny Hardin, Germany Hendrix, and myself
When: April 9-13, 2015
What: Climb "dumb" Rocks
Trip report will include some beta, lots of pics, few vids.
Day 1: Climb Birdland 5.7+, 5 pitch climb
Approach: Enter the Scenic Loop Rd., pay $7 entry fee, drive 10 miles around to Pine Creek Canyon Parking Lot. Load up and the Birdland approach is 1.3 miles to the base of the climb. The trail is both rocky and sandy at times. Rugged trail but no bushwacking involved. We entered the Scenic loop at 6:00 a.m., which is the time they open this time of year (check for times, they vary depending on time of year). It took about 15-20 minutes to get to parking lot. The approach to the base of the wall took us about half an hour or so. After racking up, the first climber was on the wall by 7:30am. We were all off the route and and rapped off by 2-2:30p.m. Back at the car by 3:15 p.m.
You can identify the route by finding the bushy ledges. It climbs the crack system up through three pitches, face climbs the 4th pitch and finishes on a sweet finger crack on pitch 5. The topo of the route is above. If you look (or click on picture) hard enough in picture above, you can find parties of climbers at different belay stations...give you a good scale of wall. There is one bolt on pitch three protecting the traverse into the crack. Important to have several runners for this this route wanders and traverses after pitch 3.
We were a party of four, but climbed as a group of three. Climbers three and four climbed simultaneously. This is definitely a slower way to multipitch climb...but we were in it to hang out and enjoy each other while climbing. Enjoy the pics...
So after pitch three...we just kinda stopped taking pics. Sorry...after climbing Birdland, we head over to Calico Basin...
and climbed a couple routes. There are several routes on this huge boulder. routes from 5.8 through 5.12+. There is a red rock classic 11b/c on the arĂȘte I wish I would have done. maybe next time. (Brad blends in with rock in picture above).
Day 2: Climb Physical Graffit 5.6 and Big Bad Wolf 5.9...Drink Beer  5.Wonderful
The approach is mellow compared to everything in Red Rock. Park at the Red Spring Parking, and you don't have to enter the loop and save $7 bucks. The approach to the base is 1/2 mile. You hike past Cannibal Crag and hike West up the slabs towards the route. This area is beautiful with cool looking rock everywhere...
Physical Graffiti is a fun 5.6 cruiser. At least the first pitch. The second pitch is a long 180' crack climb that takes gear all the way to the top...minus the last 10 or 15 feet on easy 5.0 terrain. Person leading the second pitch needs to be ready to plug anywhere from 15-20 pieces, depending on how comfortable they feel on this grade and climb.
When you top out, you will anchor off and climb 10-15' unprotected on 5.0 terrain and head south on class 3/4 ramp until you see cairns. Be careful, there is loose rock up there...

Big Bad Wolf is the 5.9 to the left of Physical Graffiti. Although, I thought the beginning of the 3rd pitch slabs were the crux...that sketched me out. Jeremy and I went up this quickly, swapping leads. We chose to rap off since there was no party below us.

After two days of climbing...we headed over to the "Old Strip" off of Fremont in Vegas to enjoy the brews and views...

Had a few drinks at Bangers Brewery in Vegas...
and enjoyed the lights. Next Stop...Zion National Park.

Day 3: Hike Angel's Landing and explore the Narrows...
Angel's Landing...
Sean coming up Walter's Wiggles...
Great White Throne in the background...Brad was the only one to summit. Sean, Jeremy, and I stayed right here...where you see this last picture taken. There were many people on the trail already and I quite frankly didn't want to get frustrated being "stuck" behind people. I was ok with this decision.
We jumped on the shuttle from Angel's and headed straight to Narrows. We got on the trail and took a detour to eat lunch.
The narrows has to be the best hike in America. So far it's my favorite. There is so's my third time up this creek and I feel like it's new everytime. This time around, we to Orderville Canyon and went up creek for 1/4 a mile. It's a spectacular slot canyon. There will be a day when I hike all the 16 miles down the Virgin River...from top to bottom. One day.
Sean, after doing the Landing and Narrows. What a wuss...

After taking a nap...he bounced back and joined in on an hour of bouldering in arguably the most scenic bouldering spot in America...
I mean...seriously...that's our bouldering session! How bad ass is this?
Oh yeah...our campsite views!
Day 4: Hike in Kolob Canyon's South Fork of Taylor Creek...go get on Namaste 5.12a.
Dos Mitras 5.11b
Dos Mitras
 Namaste 5.12a
Sweet place to recover...full body back and knee bar...If you plan it right, you can find sweet no hands rest...
These walls are anywhere from 45-55 degrees...for 120-140' long. The name of the game is power endurance! Routes are bolted to the top. All you need is about 12-14 draws. Be careful, there are some runouts with potential decking.
Some 10b/c slab...forget about it. No thank you. Give me the overhanging stuff. Jeremy enjoys these routes. I think he is crazy. There are a handful of slab routes on the opposite side of the canyon. Again...some of these routes are crazy run out.
Day 5: We climbed at the Panty Wall. Great outing. We climbed several routes...ranging from 5.8s to 12a. My favorite climb on the wall is Panty Raid 5.10a trad route that goes up a beautiful plated varnish. Takes big stoppers and small cams. We climbed for half a day on this wall...we were flying out this same day.
This was an incredible trip. With incredible guys. I had a blast...from connecting the pitches on Birdland through Zion and the random smoky rundown Casino...this was a great trip. The weather was good, the beers even better, and the views perfect. Thanks to the guys for joining me...and can't wait for another Red Rock trip!!!

This is a very short video recap...I hope this works: