Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Estes Park, Weeks 7-9: Drugs of choice

We wanted to try Notchtop again, but first we wanted to go here:

A chance to climb with my son, Chris and his family: Andra, Catriona and Gavin.  At one point we had 3 generations climbing together.  There is something about climbing that makes the bond stronger.  We had fun climbing one day and hiking with Cat on another day.  Good stuff.

Devils Tower is unrelenting and hard for the grade.

 Back to Colorado.  Marijuana is a big deal there now.  You can actually go in a pot store and buy it.  All kinds  – 50 or so varieties of weed and 25 or so of edibles.  It’s legal.  As I recall, it was against the law to even dream of it being legal back in the 60s.  The names of the stores are entertaining: Up in Smoke, Canary Song, High Street Growers, Strawberry Fields and Bud Depot, just to name a few.  The town of Lyons (population of 5000) has 3 stores.

We want to get high too, but on chemicals produced by our bodies.  Adrenaline, endorphine (climbing drugs) and oxytocin (the snuggle drug).  Nothing like a 14 hr day in the mountains followed by 2 evenings of snuggling.  Or maybe 5 evenings of snuggling.  Toke it up!

All this is to say we went back to Notchtop.  Spent two nights at the Ritz and got back on the climb.  Brenda was sick again, but was determined to persevere.  And she did, sick as a dog, growling and cussing her way up it for 14 hrs, including the gully approach, climb, rappel and gully descent in the dark.  Gully thrashes are not trivial here, about 1 – 2 hours each way.

The climbing was spectacular.  A couple of roofs and lots of air around you as you get higher.

Throw in a bit of traversing and you can get a Rocky Mountain High.  Wow man!  Can you dig it?

At 1:30 we were over ½ way up and I said “We’ve got this”.  Arrogance.  May the mountains slap me goofy if I ever say that again.  6 hrs later we agreed this was a serious route.  We got back to the ground just as it got dark.  That just left the gully descent.  Then the bivy.  Ah, the bivy.

It seems that Brenda’s illness was carbon dioxide poisoning from burrowing too deep into her bivy sack because she was cold.  That girl needs a new sleeping bag. 

The next morning we hiked out.  She waltzes down the trail with a big pack and a smile on her face while I struggle to put one foot in front of the other.  The next day she hiked 11 miles at 13,000 ft with Andrea and Brad.  Check that girl’s DNA.  I think there’s some mountain goat in there somewhere.
Now we’re on the way to Moab.  Hopefully, we won’t get profiled at the Utah border.  After all, we are coming from Colorado driving a Subaru…

1 comment:

  1. And I always thought Devils Tower was made of mashed potatoes. Apparently not.

    Thanks for the updates and happy climbing! BillyS