Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bounty on a Sharkstooth

Date climbed: July 17, 2012.

Cory and I had "the itch." We needed to go climb something. Our goal was to ascend the super classic "Ellingwood Arete" on the Crestone Needle, The day before we planed on leaving, Cory and I congregated at his home to pack. Though we had been checking the weather periodically all week, a quick look at our phones and we realized our dream of climbing the Needle was quickly washing away. 70% chance of thunderstorms isn't something we like to drive 7 hours to encounter. So our trip changed course. The weather predictions for Estes Park were much more inviting, though the chance of a storm was still less than we would have preferred. We set our sights on the Sharkstooth in RMNP. 

The next morning (Monday), we left Amarillo at about 9:30 and made the all too familiar drive to Estes Park. The scattered rain storms we experienced caused us to be slightly concerned about the weather the upcoming day. By the time we started eating pizza at Cheesy Lee's I felt cold was starting to feel a bit sickly. I forced down a few pieces of pizza and surrendered what remained of my half to Cory. I prayed silently that I would begin to feel better and not let Cory down. I mean after all, 8 hours is a long way to drive just to turn around empty handed!

We headed to the campsite and packed our gear for the coming day. Thankfully, I was feeling by this point. We went to sleep at about 10 and tried to savoir every oz of sleep that we could before out 2am wake-up alarm.We figured waking up this early would maximize our changes of beating the weather later on.
Cory woke me up a few minutes before 2 and we quickly broke down the tent and threw everything into the back of the car. We reached the trailhead and started hiking at about 3. We hiked briskly and reached Loch Vale at about 4:15. In the dark it was  a bit difficult to locate the Andrew's Creek Trail, but after some searching through the forest, we found it and followed it to the tree line. 


Our pace remained rapid until we reached the Gash and the awful talus it contains. We lost the trail, but mad our way up to the base of the Sharkstooth. This took a bit longer than we would have liked. 

We began climbing at about 7. I climbed the first rope stretching pitch, climbing up the easy blocky terrain to a decent belay ledge. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was too far to the right. Upon reaching the belay, Cory began leading and quickly discovered my routefinding error. After about 30m climbing up and right, he reached and adequate belay ledge and put me on belay.



I began leading the next pitch following some slightly chalked holds another 60m to a fantastic belay ledge. According to Mountain Project, this was supposed to be the "money pitch" of the climb. Turns out it was. Especially since we bootied a yellow camalot C4!



Cory followed and gave me the next lead. The next pitch was pretty easy, but through the marvelous exposure we gained the summit -- another great pitch!






The weather seemed pretty nice and it was only about 10:15, so we took our time on the summit and snapped lots of photos. 








After a while, we began the descent and reached the top of the gash after three rappels (2 60m and 1 30m)





We snapped some photos of some climbers topping out the Petit and scrambled down to retrieve our gear.




Marmots at our stuff. Seriously, those little farts ate half the quark off our trekking poles, and nibbled a bit on my guide tennies. I very much do not like marmots. We taped up our trekking poles and headed down the Gash. 




Twelve hours after we began our day, we arrived at the car--an excellent day.
We picked up a pizza at Cheesy Lee's and began the long journey home. 


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I try to spend my time being all I can be in everything I do. I love Jesus and enjoy deepening my relationship with Him. I love climbing in almost any form especially when It involves the high peaks.

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