Monday, November 8, 2010

Grand Junction

When we heard the announcement that the annual Reel Rock Tour would be showing in Ottawa in November we were pretty bummed that we would miss it. We quickly checked out the tour schedule to see if we could catch it somewhere along our travels. We noticed that it would be showing in Grand Junction Colorado around the same time we were planning to be in Moab. Of course we also looked up any climbing we might be able to do in the area, and ended up visiting for a couple of days before heading back to Moab.

The Reel Rock Tour was of course fantastic. Maybe not quite as awesome as previous years, but still full of entertaining films. As for our own climbing, we checked out some of the bouldering in Unaweep Canyon, which is chock full of sandstone boulders. Here is Kristal on fossil rock, so named for the obvious bone imprint that she is holding with her left hand.

We also spent a day in Colorado National Monument, another beautiful destination, and climbed Otto's Route up Independance Monument, which is the thin tower on the right in the picture below.

This route actually has quite an interesting history. It was first climbed in 1911 by John Otto, a local with a fierce passion for the area. He lobbied for years to have the area designated as a national park, eventually succeeding, and acted as custodian of the park for many years. In addition to spending time and energy developing trails, he also made the first ascent up Independance Monument. Of course it was 1911, so the way he did it was by inserting pipes and chipping steps into the rock. The pipes are long gone, but the holes he drilled for them, and the steps, remain. You can see the steps clearly in this shot of the last pitch.

Today the climb goes in 4 pitches at around 5.8 . Here is Kristal just before the crux of the second pitch.

And just before the crux of the last pitch.

And hanging out at the top of the last pitch, with six feet left to go to the summit.

We were excited to find another summit register. Here's the obligatory shot of Kristal filling it out, with the town of Fruita in the background.

We did a bit of hiking through the park the next day. Here is Kristal tentatively standing on one of the many roofs that line the rim of the valley.

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