This Thanksgiving weekend started out with a wonderful climb on Wednesday. Chris convinced me, through my nervousness, to take advantage of the nearly 60 degree weather and get outside and climb.
When I first jumped into climbing the 3rd Flatiron a month or so ago, I wasn't nervous. I had only been climbing a few times, and while I knew the risks and knew the heights involved, I was pretty naive and not too nervous. Once I got on the rock, I flipped out once, but quickly got into a groove and climbed without too much hesitation. Having already done the 3rd and having climbed inside and outside several times since, I felt really nervous to climb the 1st Flatiron. I know that it's still considered a relatively "beginner" climb and small children do it, but I was still a little reluctant.
Chris reassured me, and convinced me that I'd feel better pigging out on turkey and pie if I'd done a big climb the day before, and we set out to do it. He also bribed me with delicious Starbucks hot chocolate if I could get up and commit to do it. When we got up to Boulder, we enjoyed the hike to the Flatiron and met up with another couple roping up to do the same route. We talked with them for a bit, and decided to climb first while they followed up behind. They were a nice couple from North Carolina and generally climbed at a similar pace. It was nice to have people to talk to at the belay points.
The first pitch of the climb is considered the crux. There aren't many good hand/foot holds, and you mostly have to rely on the friction from your shoes and some palming of the rock to stay on. I watched Chris fly up it to the first belay station and he made it look very easy. As I got started it wasn't too bad. The hardest part was that the rock was very cold which made for some uncomfortable hands, but other than that it was like crawling up a wall. Unfortunately I took a weird line toward the top and got a bit stuck a few times.
The view down from one of the belay stations. Those trees are FAR away!
The rest of the pitches were generally easier, although each had their own challenges. Overall the climbing was more difficult than the 3rd, and it required a lot more attention and friction moves. Overall, however, I enjoyed this climb more. There were lots of interesting little sections, including a slot where I had to climb under a rock (finally my shortness comes in handy climbing!) and a rocky, exposed ridge that we climbed as the sun was setting.
The slot is to the left of the middle of this shot. Taking a break on the wall. The climbing was more difficult on this flatiron, so we didn't get any actual climbing shots. In this picture, I am probably 700 ft off the ground.
Chris did an awesome job leading this climb! He was careful and precise when placing gear and climbing up ahead of me. He kept us moving, kept me positive, and kept us laughing. I couldn't ask for a better climbing partner.
After scaling the ridge in the beautiful sunset, we reached the summit of the 1st Flatiron! We still had a 100 ft rappel to complete before calling the climb a success. The other couple that we climbed with set up their rope and let us rappel from theirs. This allowed me to go down after them (so I knew the rope reached the ground and was properly anchored), but before Chris so he could double check my harness and remind me how to do the rappel. This one wasn't as long as the rappel on the 3rd, and it was only free hanging for the last 30 ft or so.
We all safely reached solid ground, packed up our gear, and hiked back to the car in the dark. Since we were rushing at the summit to beat the dark, we weren't able to get a proper summit picture. We did, however, get a really bad picture of us on the hike back down. Keep in mind it was very very dark and this picture blinded both of us for the next few minutes. Personally, I love my hair in this one ;)
When all was said and done, it took us about 7 hours from car to car to climb the 1st. It was not nearly as scary as I expected and when we were climbing, we moved pretty quickly. It was the perfect way to start the weekend and I'm glad we got to take advantage of the beautiful weather.
Thanksgiving itself, despite being one of my favorite holidays, was a complete bust. An early exit from the family dinner left Chris and I dessert-less, but thankfully wonderful Chris saved the day. A quick detour to a closing Safeway resulted in a delicious end to the day. Frozen pizza, granny smith cider, and whipped cream with pumpkin pie made the perfect snacks to go with a movie and wild game of rummy. If you haven't seen Run Fat Boy, Run you should. It's a pretty great movie!
This is how we roll in this house. Is there pie under there? I think so.
Chris left yesterday afternoon to climb Mt. Elbert in the cold with some friends. Not surprisingly, I wasn't able to be coaxed into venturing out into the wind and snow to summit a peak that we already summited in beautiful weather. So, while he headed up to Leadville for the night, I stayed home and watched Turbo and my brother's dog, Sydney, play in the newly fallen snow! It is nearly December and this is the first actual snow in Denver this season. The dogs LOVED getting to go out and play in the snow.
Happy late Thanksgiving to everyone out in bloggerland!