I have a lot of stories to tell now. Hopefully this post doesn’t get too long…We changed the location and I am waiting in front of the Clear Creek Recreation Center of Idaho Springs, still Colorado. We had the first shower in weeks and it was one of the best feelings ever.
Anyway, I am not on this trip to tell stories about showers. A lot happened since my last entry and I hope I can write it down in the right order. One of the last things you read were the bouldering lessons for Collin. We also took another beginner with us, Alison, and she had hard times with us. The hike up there to Upper Chaos Canyon was already harder than she expected. Matt and me were used to it, because we did it at least every second day loaded with our crash pads, food and climbing gear. She had fun climbing but was scared in the top out, even when she did it. The weather was great and all of us enjoyed the time up in this canyon.
Some of Matthias” best sends at the Park are:
I’m not satisfied with my own tick list in the park (there are still some V8’s missing Matt has done), but I think we are both not doing bad.
Some weeks ago, Matt woke me up in the middle of the night by grabbing my leg and said “Shhhhhhh! There is a noise!”. I was really afraid and shocked, because we parked just off the street in a little pull off. After some seconds he spoke again: “I think there is a mouse in our car!”. What a relief! I had this crazy imagination of a bear around the van or even worse, some guys trying to rob us. The mouse kept him awake almost all night, but not me. I fell asleep again immediately. He tried to kill the mouse with a knife by setting out some treats, but it wasn’t rewarded. We got everything out of the car the next morning and cleaned everything. The officer who searched our car lost her gloves and now they got another purpose as mouse poop cleaning tool. The mouse’ nest was found very fast and we tore it apart and got rid of it. I thought I saw the mouse jumping out of the car and we put everything in its place again. We got breakfast afterwards and noticed that the mouse chewed on some of the cereals. We checked the packages for more mouse poop and didn’t find any, so we assumed we were alright now. We heard the same noises just some nights later and we were sure the problem wasn’t solved at all. We met the nice police officer again and returned the gloves to her (we didn’t mention that we used them to clean the mouse poop). The mouse poop cleaning device was gone now and we had to do it without. It was really disgusting. We didn’t see the mouse this time, but we plugged every hole big enough for a mouse to get in the van again. Right before we finished the job I was looking for a hook in our climbing storage container and found the second nest in one of my shoes. The mouse got five babies and we had to get rid of them and brought them into the bushes. They died because their mother escaped and never came back. But our problem was solved and we were pretty happy about it! That’s what matters to us.
For everyone car camping in and around Estes Park: they have a great health club called Rocky Mountain Health Club. You pay 50$ per month for showers as long as you like. They also have a hot tub, perfect for the climbers rest day, and a sauna. Also very welcome on cold days. That’s the place where we met Calvin. He is a retired navy doctor who invited us over for BBQ several times. He and his wife are one of the nicest people we met so far! We enjoy the time we can spend with you. And Linda: Matthias and I hope you are doing well after your surgery!
The days up in Chaos Canyon are very similar. One thunderstorm will roll in almost every day and you have to come prepared. We went up to Lower Chaos Canyon one day, the lowest area up there just as high as the timberline, and a thunderstorm hit us. We were stuck under a big bloc, big enough for room for our gear, some friends and us to stay dry. There was this one lightening so damn close to us! It was only 30m away! None of us was frightened of thunderstorms before, but now we are. At least when it you are so close to the clouds.
The next big event except bouldering almost every day was another rest day activity. It seems like rest days are even more exciting than the climbing days, I honestly think so as well. We thought it would be an awesome idea to hike up the ridge at the end of the canyon. We wanted to see what’s beyond the last snow field, we wanted to enjoy the scenic view with hopefully snowy mountain peaks. Like you would imagine the Alps I guess. We took some friends with us, Alison, Louise and Collin. The ‘experienced’ hikers (Matt and I) didn’t expect the hike towards the last snowfield to be that long. Alison wanted to turn around and hike down several times while hiking up. The last snowfield was steeper and longer than all of us thought it would be. Therefore we tried to hike up the left side of the snowfield, in the small gap between chossy rock and steep snowfield. Matt led, the two girls and Collin followed him, I was the last one. We almost reached the top, when a 60kg bloc fell on Matt’s leg. It hit him also in his face. I saw it happening from 20m away and thought his leg would have been broken, luckily it wasn’t. A huge wound was there anyway, right above his knee. He was still able to walk/climb out the really sketchy part. I could believe that the two absolutely unexperienced girls did a climb that sketchy after I did it myself. That was impressive! The view wasn’t. It was flatter and less snowy than expected. We had a really good lunch on top of the ridge and hiked out two other peaks afterwards. The ironic thing is that all peaks were surrounded by clouds and we couldn’t see nothing. It started clearing up once we reached the parking lot after 3h of hiking. It wasn’t very rewarding. Wounded Matt had to see a doctor also, the wound was bigger than he thought and we met Calvin after we dropped of our hiking guests at their dorm. Matt got sewed up in his kitchen while they had guests. We felt really bad to interrupt them.
We left the RMNP area some days later to get some more impressions, different boulders, higher altitudes, colder temperatures and to get stronger. We meet too many people talking about the “two German guys parking in a small pull off down Devil’s Gulch RD” and that’s why we are here at Mt. Evans now. The higher elevation makes hiking just ridiculous exhausting. You breathe as much as you like but it feels like getting not enough air. One of the best advantages is, that we can camp up there in the Mt. Evans wilderness area. We pitched a tent half a mile away from the street and everyone is happy now. Car camping is not allowed up there so we just have to say that we sleep in the tent, even when we don’t…staying up there means less driving. We charged the phones, tablets and laptop multiple times without wasting thoughts that this behavior could make us run out of power to start the car. And so we kept doing it until we emptied the two batteries and we were not able to start the car anymore. Matt started to stop people the next day to find someone with a jumper cable to help us out. The first one had it with him and we were able to get down the mountain.
The last few days are full of rain and it seems like we always choose the wrong day for a rest. Every rest day is sunny and almost without rain or thunderstorms. Our climbing days are not. We get hail at least two times a day, mostly accompanied by a lot of rain and thunderstorms.
We were still able to climb, you just have to find a roof boulder big enough to be dry in a storm. And so we were able to climb some really nice lines like Tangerine Man V8, The World Famous Pow Wow V8 and I sent Dream Snatcher (my 2nd V9). And we met Daniel Woods out here again, he sent our V9 project as warm up. Anyway, our rest days are fine. We went rafting last Sunday. That was an awesome experience on the Clear Creek River. Better than the rafting itself was the fact that we drove down the interstate with the rafting company when we lost the trailer including boat and paddles. It is always exciting with us and we are looking forward for the next adventure and story to tell…