Traveling Part 2: Fort Collins
Today went by super fast. I’m really gonna have to try and slow the next few months down or they will whizz by. Now that I think about it, the last few days have been a blur. I landed in Salt Lake City at midnight Sunday night (I guess technically Monday morning). I woke up early on Monday morning and ran errands all day in an attempt to tie up my loose ends. I finished packing, said some hard goodbyes and then hit the road around 5:00pm.
With the truck loaded down I only went about 60mph the whole way to Fort Collins. Eight hours later I rolled into FoCo, tired as shit but stoked to climb the next day. This morning I was back up at 8:00am and hitting the trailhead at 11:00pm after a big breakfast.
My original plan was to hike to Greyrock in Poudre Canyon, do a three pitch 10a trad route called Keep The River Clear, hike out and drive up canyon to the nearly zero approach Crystal Wall. Theres a two pitch sport line right up the vertical face that goes at 12c. Pitch one is 10b, pitch two is 12c. However, not only did we start late but the hike was significantly longer than I was expecting. Greyrock was good though. The hike was pretty chill for the most part. It was only an hour approach but very secluded rock. The peak is literally all stone. It just protrudes out of a valley with a meadow in it. The entire area was affected by a giant forest fire and everything was super apocalyptic. There was virtually no understory and everything was black. Every step in the trees forced thin whispy black clouds of dust into the air. After a little bit of route finding we sat down to eat at the base of the climb.
You could tell which one of us had a girlfriend. Ben opened a tupperware box full of teriyaki chicken, whipped out his fork, and began to munch while staring out at the view below us. Meanwhile, I spent 10 minutes prying my canned chicken open with a knife, before continuing to eat the chicken with said knife. After all was said and done, Ben was finishing his protein bar between dabs of his folded napkin while I let my dog lick all of the chicken juice off my hands.
The crux of the route was the first 40 feet. After some thin slab moves with little protection the route comes to a roof. The roof has two finger cracks that are leaning which allowed for me to lock in the upper crack while doing some awkward stemming moves into the lower crack. Some scrunched up moves coupled with some grunts and and awkward breathing patterns put me above the roof and cruising through easy ground. I put in about six pieces altogether in the last two pitches which was about 200 feet. It never got above 5.7 and was really fun, easy ground. We walked off the summit to find an excited puppy and trucked back down to the canyon floor.
By the time we were hiking down from Greyrock it was 4:00pm and the sun was setting. We opted out of the Crystal Wall and hit the liquor store instead.
Tomorrow I’m hitting the road by 6:00 am and heading to Spearfish to see some family. I’ll be climbing in the Rushmore/Needles/Cathedral spires of the Black Hills through Saturday and then slowly making my way southeast.
Below is a link to a short clip of the Fort Collins leg, it’s pretty shitty because I don’t care that much and I made the whole thing with my iPhone. Enjoy, feel free to leave some feedback 🙂