Denver Weekend

Matt & Maybe
During a very important meeting at work

Alyssa and I had an amazing weekend. Friday night we started with a great Indian dinner (plus Moscow Mules) in Denver and followed up with a live radiolab show. Jad & Robert were great live, and the amount of work they put into bringing a podcast into a visuals-oriented stage show was really something else. Way too cool, way too fun. It ended on a little bit of a sleeper, particularly compared to the life-size Dinosaur puppets that started the show, but ah well.

An aside: 'tis the season to wear bright orange Patagonia? (see above..) We were standing in line with two other guys rocking some bright colors. I fit in with the Front Range folk too well.

Speaking of Front Range...

Shelf Road

Cactus cliff 2
Cactus Cliff, as seen from Spiney Ridge

Saturday night we had a Broadway show to see, but we weren't going to let that get in the way of climbing. We got up early, ate a poor continental breakfast, and headed south for our first trip to Shelf Road.

The climbing was absolutely fantastic, and the weather caught us off guard. Sunny and 65 never felt so scorching.

Cactus cliff
Cactus cliff - the view walking in. Spiney Ridge is the furthest back wall to the right.

We climbed at Spiney Ridge, a wall with a high concentration of * climbs (that is to say, ze best) just past Cactus Cliff. Cactus Cliff is the epitome of Front Range climbing - nice, but oh so crowded, and everyone's got a dog, not all of them behaved.

Grady and Alyssa
A well behaved climbing dog. A tiny Alyssa up right.
  • Damn Right I've Got The Moves – 8 ***
    • Fun. Good introduction to how bolt spacing works in Shelf Road (read: bring stick clip if that's your thing). Cruxed at the third bolt, where feet became un-obvious, but otherwise fun enough.
    • The route itself was a splitter crack climb... with bolts. Pretty strange throwing hand jams and clipping draws, but woohoo.


  • Stone of Ignorance – 10a **

    • The route immediately right of Damn Right. Fun, easier climbing until you're a bit over halfway up, when suddenly you're pulling on tiny side-crimps and realize you're just cruising along in the zone. Really liked that ending. Alyssa killed the lead here.


  • Access All Areas – 10c/d *

    • Awesome awesome awesome. This route was at the perfect grade for me, really making me work to get the onsight through the crux at bolt 3/4, where you start traversing right after catching a mono on the left hand and moving on to junk pockets with no feet. I felt like a contortionist, and am pretty sure I heard Alyssa tell me I looked sexy while I was working through the crux. Brown chicken brown cow.
    • Two more bolts after the crux, things ease up significantly, but by then, you're dang tired son.
    • Oh, right. This route was immediately left of Damn Right. See what I mean about high awesome-density at Spiney Ridge? Perfect place to go when you've only got a few hours.


  • Rope management
    Alyssa pulling rope on Applauding Eagle

    The next routes were just a bit down the way from the last three.


  • Applauding Eagle – 10c/d

    • This is where we found out that the guide book really has some issues (sucks, one might say). We did this looking for the route below, and it turned into some adevnture climbing. A very tricky start (I just aid climbed the first bolt to clear the roof, since we had no idea what we were on) and inconsistent climbing / runouts. Essentially, adventure climbing at its best, but the worst thing to get on when we're trying to power through all the classics in the area in one afternoon
    • When Alyssa came down from it, I thought we would be on our way back to Denver for the Book of Mormon, but she talked me into trying one last route - the classic we had meant to get on when we did this guy by mistake.


  • Toxxic Entertainment – 10a *

    • Oh
    • Mah
    • Gawd
    • This route, wow. I don't know if it's just because what we climbed before was so poor or what, but wow. I actually feel a good amount of guilt that Alyssa didn't even get to try this route (she pointed out that it looked way better to lead than to TR, which we didn't have the time for :/ ).
    • That just means we have to go back, right? Alyssa, I owe you


Alyssa cleaning up after Grady... and the 10 dogs that came before him. Shelf Road's like that.
Alyssa cleaning up after Grady... and the 10 dogs that came before him. Shelf Road's like that.

After all that, we made it (running) to the Broadway show, slept, and had a great brunch with Brandon, Nicky, Jenn, Mom, and Dad. Stellar freakin' weekend.