I Can’t Stop This Feeling

Will Gadd soloing the Drool in fat conditions.

Last week I felt something I haven’t in a while: I was stoked on winter! The snow was falling in a steady fashion, slowly but surely piling up outside. Combined with the start of Thanksgiving break, the night had a magical feel to it, and beckoned of winter adventures not yet dreamed up, possibilities that lie in wait should we choose to walk that path.

The last couple years I’ve focused more on rock climbing year round than skiing, which was a big departure from my normal ski-from-November-to-May-routine for so many years. But the gains in my climbing were undeniable, and I was sucked in. Add to that the development of some good winter crags, and suddenly it didn’t seem so crazy to be a climber year round, even here in the Roaring Fork Valley, where we get “real” winter. (Except for that one year, the endless November, that was a good year to be a climber in the winter.)

That night I found myself digging out the ice gear from storage, as with all the moisture we’ve had this fall, things are shaping up to be excellent in Redstone and everyone’s talking about how epic it could be when it gets cold. I don’t really travel for ice climbing, but when it’s good in the Crystal River Valley, there’s so much to do you don’t need to go elsewhere. Last week I was out finishing up a new sport route at a new crag on perhaps the last nice day of the year, and I could already see decent amounts of ice on the usual early season spots. And given that last year was one of the worst in recent memory for local ice, the promise of a big year is exciting!

Or maybe it’s the change in season. The days are short and feel shorter. The snow is falling, and it just feels like it’s time for something else. Don’t get me wrong, on sunny days you’ll probably see me out in Main Elk with everyone else, but perhaps it’s time to go exploring again in the nooks and crannys of Redstone. There IS that one route I haven’t done up in that one gully, or the thing that came in last year briefly that I heard was sick…

Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

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