Dates: Saturday June 14th – Monday June 16th
Miles Traveled: ~775 Miles (over just three days!)
Route: Sat: Denver to Durango (stay in Durango at our crazy cousin’s bed and breakfast), Sun: Parents start bike race, we head to Mesa Verde NP, then back through Durango over Molas pass to Silverton, over Red Mtn Pass to Ouray, then to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for camping, Mon: Black canyon back to D-Town.
What the Hell Happened: This trip began as my parents had the crazy idea of riding their road-bikes from Durango to Breckenridge with Ride the Rockies and convinced me to drop them off for the race. So, my sister and I decided we make the best of it and explore parts of Southern Colorado, an idea which morphed into an excellent adventure.
Lizard checking out Molas Pass on the way to Silverton:
Sunset over the Black Canyon:
Of course in true Andy style planning we pretty much started the trip with some ideas but no concrete agenda which allowed for us to just check out some cool spots without really worrying about time. After getting to Durango we stayed the night at our Cousin Al’s and his wife Emma Lou’s Bed and Breakfast http://www.lousbandb.com/. The next day the real journey began as the parentals set off on the bike ride and my sister and I headed out to Mesa Verde NP.
Mesa Verde is really cool to check out how this civilization lived and how they abandoned the cliffs; pretty interesting stuff and really crazy to see how fortified some of the dwellings are and how desperate their culture must have been at one time.
While there I had the pleasure of scaring the shit out of my sister when we did one of the tours and she had to first climb a 32 ft ladder to get into the Balcony House Dwelling and two 15 ft ladders (on a steep cliff face) to get out. She did not enjoy it too much, but I had a great time watching her…hehe.
At Mesa Verde:
After that we headed up and over the passes to Silverton where we hung out in the town. A little different then in winter when I visit that place. Taking the road up and over Red Mountain Pass was probably the most beautiful drive I have done in my life. The mountains were so lush it did not feel like we were in Colorado, instead it felt like a mix between amazon jungle and Siberian pine forest. The rivers were flowing at maximum and my picture taking skills just did not represent how gorgeous this place was at that time.
Our last major destination was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a huge chasm that cuts 2000ft deep into some of the hardest rock on earth. Here we camped out and spent a good chunk of the next day hiking and exploring this insane geological feature.
Check out the photos for more goodies:
Awesome! Had a lot of fun checking out the teva mountain games this year for the first time.Â First off thanks to Ben (and technically his uncle) for a place to crash in Vail; sure made the difference.
Back to the story, the games are a lot like the Winter X-Games which I have attended on several occasions, except everyone here seemed a lot more laid-back and chill. I was able to see several events such as kayaking freestyle, biking slopestyle, biking freeride, speed bouldering, a free Ozomatli concert, and lastly the Bouldering World Championships.
Rarely does something like the Bouldering World Championships happen on US soil and especially in Colorado. This is the second Climbing World Champioship to ever happen in the US and the first bouldering style comp; the last championship in the US was 18 years ago!
Therefore this is a pretty significant event and one that anyone slightly interested in should have attended. The format to the comp was actually a lot of fun as the semi-finals move along at a nice speed with lots of action happening all the time. We were with several people who do not really climb and they all enjoyed the event very much.
The finals were straight-up a very unique experience and quite insane to see. First off the official report was that 7,500 people were there at the finals (which I thought there was a good 4-5K), so just full of people that were all really getting into the show. The massive crowd combined with a beautiful mountain sunset in one of the most beautiful spots there is, made the comp just that much better.
Well enough talking, I am going to post the photos in a new manner. Please let me know if you like this way via the comments sections.
I didn’t really do a good job taking photos as I was more into watching the games and being a snapshooter, however check out these awesome photos from that weekend: http://tevamountaingames.com/ev_photo.cfm
Also for the climbing results check out: http://www.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/alex_johnson_wins_vail_world_cup/
Racked-up some excellent bouldering with Steve, Ben, and Terra on some South Platte granite at Sheep’s Nose. The drive is a little long from Denver, however the drive does contains stunning views of the rolling hills that line the front range.
Proof that Terra actually gets out and climbs and doesn’t just talk about it all the time:
Some of the views from Sheep’s Nose are very unique within Colorado. Pike’s Peak (14,110ft) is the backdrop for much of the climbing. Additionally the area was affected by Hayman Fire back in 2002 so most of the brush and a lot of the trees are burnt in the area adding an unusual ambiance to the climbing.
Ben up above the ground a bit on a cool slabby problem:
Steve working on the Air Jordan Boulder:
Photo of Chris on this sweet dyno on the Nine Lives Boulder; he is getting close to sending it:
Been spending some time over the last week or so finally really getting back into climbing. Went back to the nine lives boulder and spent the day working on a variation of the main arete and started to make some progress. Then a few days later went back out to the wood with Stephen, Chris, and Ryan and found new boulders in the Scary Monsters Area.
Chris on the Slabmaster Boulder:
That was on Friday night, then on Sunday took a huge crew back to the nine lives boulder. Seven of us had some fun on a really beautiful day in castlewood:
Chris Ivy on the Nine Lives Arete variation:
Maximus on the same problem:
Also if you are still reading this post I added this to the climbing wall in the garage: http://www.routesetter.com/2008/04/21/diy-wall-improvement-volumes/
Location: Deer Creek Valley, Montezuma
Date: 4/13/2008; the day the majority of the resorts closed in Colorado
Crew: Trent Cook, Evan O’Connell, Scott Miller, Duncan Maxwell, Tweak (aka Matt Holden), and Myself
After having to deal with less then ideal weather conditions for the previous 3-4 weeks we had one day of just pure beauty. With relatively new snow all over the hills we tore it up as we explored numerous lines across all of the faces that were skiable; each of us did at least seven runs (over 42 lines for you math geniuses out there!!!) and literally skied til exhaustion.
The first run of the day happened at 9:15am and the last one happened at 4:00pm, and the result is as shown below:
Check out the picture gallery for the top 25 pics from the day: http://andylibrande.com/pictures/photos/album37
Tweak cruising through:
Click the following for more action:
That’s just a few of the pics the rest can be found at the gallery listed above. I have a bunch more things coming including some additional video action that should be straight crazy.
Yep. That was Sunday April 13th. The day the resorts closed.
You are only getting one pic for now…(mainly ‘cuz I have 500+ that I need to edit down).
Scott launching off a cornice between cone 2 and 3 in Zuma:
Hopefully this quells the masses. More to come…
On the way up to Silverthorne last Friday night I set my camera up to take a bunch of photos to make a time-lapse of heading up I-70. I threw it into a video/slideshow editor and came-out with this rough video; includes some nice ski/riding shots as well.
Let me know what you think via the comments section of this site:
Along the gentle flow of Cherry Creek, nestled between willows and small mud-cliffs sits Punani. Over time the forces of nature have created this unique chunk of rock that contains one of the most aggressive boulder problems in Castlewood.
Simply put Punani is the first real badass boulder problem that I laid my eyes (and hands) on; it sits far from any other climbing in the area and contains a couple real smooth lines. The first time I saw this boulder it was Fall of 2005 and I was just really starting getting into climbing and bouldering; Chris had found it just a little before then and at that time all we could do was look and stare.
Flash ahead to the next summer (2006): Chris begins to really project the boulder (I still can’t get my fat-ass off the start holds), and here are a few photos from spending the day out there.
Here is what Punani looks like from below:
That day alone Chris threw himself at this problem countless times and was literally being spit off each time:
Towards the end of the day the most minor of progress was made:
Then there was a huge hiatus for 2007 bouldering in that I never once visited the boulder. I was focused on exploring new parts of Castlewood such as the 9 Live Boulder and began exploring new areas such as Three Sisters near Evergreen. On Jan 5th, 2008 I took Steve to the boulder for his first time to see the problems; even though we didn’t climb it there was the feeling that we would focus on this boulder over the next few months.
Finally the Main Event:
On a cool late evening last week (Thursday 3/13/2008) I joined Chris and Steve in the wilds of Castlewood to descend on this boulder in a evening that was eerily beautiful:
Five days prior Chris and I spent the whole afternoon sessioning the boulder with him sending Gerbil in a Chute and me finally making progress on that problem. However this night we had an intense focus on Punani and as it began to get pitch black the action really started to heat-up.
Steve at the beginning of the climb:
Next thing I know Chris stuck the crux, threw his second hand up and moved up on the top-out. Meanwhile it was 7:45pm well over an hour since we have seen any sunlight, it was completely pitch-black, and somehow Chris finished off this problem (unfortunately I have all this camera gear and still learning off camera flash so the pics are not as good as I was hoping they would be..)
Chris Storms on the Crux move of Punani V7/8 (for you sport climbers: ~5.13a); congrats!
Finally we see that it is possible…
Fully photo gallery can be found here: http://andylibrande.com/pictures/photos/album36
Dates: Saturday February 16th, 2008
Cruised-up to the little town of Montezuma to take advantage of the clear early morning weather. Myself with Trent, Scott and Evan took the trek to this beautiful basin where we were greeted with perfect weather and perfect snow conditions.
Full photo gallery can be found here (of course after you are done here).
Trent (right) and Evan on top of Big Chute eyeing out the line:
Evan cruising down the middle part of the steeps. Fun stuff:
Evan catching some air with the sled off of the Keylock Cornice (if you are curious ask Trent about where he came up with the name):
Myself coming down the first run of the day. Apparently each line is about 700-800 ft in verticle (thanks to handy GPS) and all of it was perfect. Also note the large avalanche debris fields that we had to navigate around:
Yeah it was that good:
For all of the photos from the trip: http://andylibrande.com/pictures/photos/album34
So, to begin this I will preface this whole thing with these little gems of wisdom (?). For some reason I have been trying to have a portal that I can share some of the adventures I have with friends and let them see some of those photos I usually take of them (as all of you are always asking). In reality I been wanting to do something like this for a long ass time, so here it is in all of its glory.
So to start out I feel it only makes sense if I recap January as a very good month to be out bouldering. Yes I had several excellent days of climbing along with several great snow days all in January.
We begin this little adventure at Castlewood on January 5th!!! Plenty of snow to hike through, however, luckily Steve and I found some well covered rocks for a solid little session.
Really can’t believe that with as much snow as we had this area was dry (Location Link)
Bushwhacking (!?!) through c-wood.
Now for something a little nicer/warmer. Carter Lake evening session. Myself and Chris decided to go fly-fishing in Estes Park to take advantage of the day, well the fishing was going good until the wind picked-up and made it a little hard to toss those tiny flies. With Carter so close we decided to finish off the day with a quick evening session.
The next day we needed a little more climbing then the handful of problems we did at Carter, the only logical thing was to head off to Castlewood for late afternoon bouldering at the Buddha Cave area. Accomplices: Chris, Steve and Toby.
Chris in Berthoud Cave:
Steve trying to catch Monkey Shots:
On the way out we headed into a little trouble with the law. Apparently the park closes at 5:00 and when you come out in pitch black at 6:15 on a sunday night you get fined and stuff. But it’s all cool, we found out he was riding dirty…