After Great Sand Dune National Park we started working our way up central Colorado. At our first stop, Shelf Road, we continued our recent foray into sport climbing.
|Me on John Cruiser Melloncrimp, 5.10a|
It would be short lived. After climbing only two routes, and on an otherwise beautifully clear and reasonably warm day, we bailed due to the wind.
It was pretty frustrating, especially when the conditions were otherwise so nice. But the wind out here is relentless, and when you are 100 feet off the ground at the end of a rope it's hard not to feel like a human kite. It doesn't take long before the climbing ceases to become fun.
The forecast for the next few days wasn't much better, but we decided to suck it up. Apparently wind is par for the course during spring in the mountains. It's not like we had anything better to do, and the thought of sitting around trying to wait it out wasn't appealing either.
The next day we went to Turkey Rocks, supposedly one of Colorado's best crack climbing areas.
|Kristal on the first pitch of Gobblers Grunt, 5.9|
The climbing was good, but having just come from Indian Creek we couldn't help but feel a bit let down. At least we were back on the trad! After all the recent sport climbing it felt good to get on some multipitch routes that actually took us to the top of something.
The next day we headed to a cool park just outside of Colorado Springs called Garden of the Gods, which contains some really cool sandstone formations.
It is also a popular park for people to visit, and we were there on a Sunday. It felt like were were back at the Needles in South Dakota with all the tourists milling around. While we were warming up on a short easy route a cute little girl provided running commentary. Here is Kristal at the top, with the little girl on her own little boulder summit.
From the top we spied this crazy looking fin, second from the right in the picture below, which we just had to climb.
|You can't beat the approach, 5 minute hike on mostly flat paved pathways.|
It's called Montezuma's Tower, and the north ridge goes at a nice leisurly, though ridiculously exposed and a bit run out, 2 pitch 5.7. Below you can just barely see Kristal at the top of the first pitch.
Despite the gusts, which had me literally hugging the narrow ridge for minutes at a time, the climb was fantastic. A super cool easy route in a spectacular location.