|shelf road looking towards the cactus cliff crag on the right - photo by dylan jones|
We climbed early in the morning, during the afternoon heat stroke, and in the evening when the air cooled down. Eric boasted a perfect record, onsighting every route he touched. To do this in a new area, at altitude, on virgin rock, is quite boss. I experienced major improvements as well, with clean sends of the 5.9 grade (on back to back routes) for the first time. The same evening, we mountain biked down to a crag and I stepped it up even futher with a clean send on a 5.10+ route. The route ended on a big roof pull, and as pumped as my muscles were, slapping the anchors released a huge rush of endorphins.
|blm signage detailing the climbing areas - photo by dylan jones|
As I sit writing this at a coffee shop in Canyon City, I can't help but feel like we were there for weeks. That's the beauty of the wilderness experience. A few days turns into an eternity. Now it's time to move on southwest to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a wilderness of several-hundred foot high sand dunes pushed up against the 14,000 foot peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Stay tuned dirtbags!
|view of the gorge, shelf road and the surrounding mountains from cactus cliff - photo by dylan jones|
|eric leading a classic 5.7 crack / chimney route - photo by dylan jones|
|dylan cleaning the 5.7 route during high winds - photo by dylan jones|
|eric soaking up the experience while rapping down a 5.10a at cactus cliff - photo by dylan jones|
|the van at our campsite framed by an epic desert sunset - photo by dylan jones|
|flowering cactus against the high desert environment - photo by dylan jones|
|the single pitch sport routes of cactus cliff framed by some unknown big walls in the surrounding mountains - photo by dylan jones|
|dylan's super awesome bike (better than eric's) on the way to the piggy bank crag - photo by dylan jones|
|our next stop - the sangre de cristo mountains, the barrier between us and the great sand dunes national park - photo by dylan jones|