Saturday, September 22, 2007

Little Matterhorn (11, 586 ft), RMNP

Little Matterhorn (11, 586 ft) via SW ridge.
From Bear Lake TH
8.4 miles roundtrip
2, 136 elevation gain
Indie Girls: Jill Salva, Karen Edwards, Lisa Foster

The Little Matterhorn is reached via the Fern-Odessa Trail or from the Tourmaline Gorge. We choose the Fern-Odessa Trail because it provides ample opportunity to scope Grace Falls and Guides Wall; home to fine winter ice routes.

With a slight nip in the air punctuated by strong wind gusts, we hiked to Lake Helene catching up on each other’s latest adventures. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

Traveling underneath Notchtop we wove around to the Little Matterhorn SW slope. Just below the moraine we began our ascent of talus…..heading straight for the stoneman.

Few people know that there exists an entire tribe of stonemen up in the park. This particular one watches us as we weave our way up to the SW ridge. Here we barley advert being blown off our feet as we scramble to the summit. The winds were howling. After a short break on top, we motored back down.

Click here for pics.
Another great day in the park. Cheers, ~jilly

Thursday, September 20, 2007

McHenrys Notch Couloir - Recon

Mileage, uppage, contemplation

With a day out of the office, a Thatchtop, Powell, McHenrys ridge exploration tour seemed like an appropriate adventure. There’s been much snow above the boulderfield on Longs Peak. I knew that today’s ridge endeavor might not be a go. Departing from the Glacier Gorge trailhead at 6:30 am, I took my time hiking, and enjoyed the daylight.

Past Jewel Lake I reached the Shelf Creek spur and started my scramble up the slopes. For some reason I felt like pushing it, so I chose some 5th class rock in my line. Higher and higher I climbed….thinking of nothing in first. Then the higher I climbed, the more I thought about Alison....our travels.....all the good stuff……my body and soul thoroughly enjoyed moving .... dancing across the stone, especially the feel of cool granite beneath my hands and boots.

Traversing over the upper flanks, I reached the summit of Thatchtop as the winds picked up. Gusts danced along the summit chilling me through two coats. Hunkered down in a talus bowl, I took a break and looked over at my beloved McHenrys Peak.

This summer, I’ve had a long love affair with it. Today, I had hoped to get a clear look at the Legendary Notch Couloir…..which I did.

Traversing toward Powell, it was obvious the gnarly ridge would be out of the question as a solo climb. Powell’s North aspect was coated with snow and verglas. After stopping to snap a few pics of McHenrys awesome Notch Couloir, I abandoned the ridge run and descended to Skypond.

Pausing for a break on the lakeshore, I gazed up at Taylor Peak, Sharkstooth, the Petit Grepon, and the Saber. Looking down into the waters, I noticed three cutthroat trout playing in the current.

Click here for some pics
Cheers, ~jilly

Monday, September 17, 2007

Longs Peak, Keyhole Route

Under mild temperatures and cloudy skies, David and Susan Burke of Iowa set their sights on the summit of Longs Peak standing at 14,259 ft above sea level. If successful, this would be a new personal altitude record for them.

At the onset of our adventure, we heard Elk bugling their love songs, serenading us as we ascended the trail. In the wee hours of the morning, we saw shooting stars.

Before the boulderfield, we happened upon a group of Ptarmigans all puffed up and vocalizing their annoyance. There were 11 of these globe-like birds and I wondered how soft or coarse their feathers might be.

We summitted at 8:45am. NOTE: The park service has upgraded the Keyhole route to technical.

Cheers, ~jilly

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Experiential Ed: The Logan School

We had the opportunity to host a group of spirited young people from The Logan School at the Nip and Tuck crag in Boulder Canyon.

The Logan School’s curriculum is heavily immersed in experiential education. When we met our group it was clear they were stoked and ready to climb! Dividing into small pods, the kids worked in teams coaching each other up the routes.

Some kids chose to onsight the climbs letting the challenge and experience unfold as it was happening. Others chose to analyze what we were doing with our bodies, before attempting a route. One young man taught us about force and its relationship with surface mass. There was much talk about journaling their experiences via poetry and art. The plant life and animals provided additional learning opportunities about the natural world.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Craggin’ at The Monastery

Recently, we climbed at the Monastery in Cedar Park. Many a climber has told a tale (or two) about the long winding approach. Yes, the legendary Monastery approach swirled in my brain. Could it really be as long and arduous as people describe? I was thinking…..probably not.

Taking a break from our back-to-back alpine days, we slept in and arrived around 9:30 am at the trailhead. And so our adventure began…..on a well worn trail. If you are a roadside crag-meister, then the approach will be epic. If you are an endurance athlete, like my climbing partner and I, then the approach is nothing more than an enjoyable jaunt up and down through a ravine and around some deadfall.

Once in at the rocks, you’ll see the magic of this area. There are large tilted fin-like stones loaded with bolts. Take a moment to look more closely and you’ll see thousands of crystals along with swoopy crystal-cluster-chunks protruding from the stone.

These sharp virginal-white surfaces will surprise you in the middle of a pitch. One minute you’re pinching micro-crystals and then the next you’re ready to put your helmet into a crystal-cave-alcove.

At this crag there’s something for everyone. The Outer Gates offer great warm-ups such as Going to the Chapel 5.8-, Monastic Groove 5.8, Simplexity 5.9+, and Southern Hospitality 5.10a.

We climbed most of the day until the late afternoon rains blew in. Would the hike out be longer? Nope. Going out was faster than coming in even with the final elevation gain out of the ravine.

If you’re looking for some different stone, try the crystal-laden rock at The Monastery. Cheers, ~jilly

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Evolving as an Artist: Longs Peak Highland Fest

As a self-taught film maker, each week I have been working on a short film clip forcing myself to learn at least one new aspect of my film editing software, composition, and the like. Choosing to work in this medium is exciting to me because it is yet another creative outlet (besides mountaineering/dance/climbing) , supporting my need to constantly move physically .... whether in the mountains or weaving through the relationship-landscapes in my life.

Today we hit the 2007 Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park. Gluttony for the senses! Lots to see, do, eat, drink, dance, and have fun.

Cheers, ~jilly

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ladybug Love

Ladybug Love

Princess gifting, bug beware
Joyful Bly-man, sentence stare
Cawing Neruda
Sky, free lunch

Birthing bunch

Tidal-Osprey, soaring high
Visions dancing

(c) 2007 Jilly Salva