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...




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