TB Athlete: Charlie Kelly’s Awesome Weekend in Colorado
Being in Colorado, all it really takes to have the best weekend of your life is a pair of climbing shoes and a chalk bag. After my shoe tore at the gym, Trailblazer was quick to help, making it so that this weekend could be (and was) the new best weekend of my life.
On Friday, It started off with a training session in Movement Climbing & Fittness in Boulder, CO. This state of the art facility opened two years ago and has grown to great fame in the climbing community since. The gym, which hosted adult nationals last winter, will be home to an IFSC World Cup in October. It’s filled around the clock with pro climbers. While I was there, Angie Payne, Daniel Woods, and Cedar Wright, all made cameos. Working on problems with these people who I’ve seen in magazines for years now was the perfect motivator for a nice long climbing weekend.
Saturday was an early start and a beautiful drive through the mountains to Echo Lake, a high alpine tern with views of Mt. Evans and the Chicago Creek Basin. From there, I began an intense approach to the beautiful granite boulders that crowd the base of Mount Evans. Following the Chicago Creek trail down into a massive basin and up, from there, to another stunning lake, every turn provided a breathtaking view. After passing the lake and arriving at the boulders, I was fully out of breath, but the heavily featured granite boulders were exciting enough to make a rest seem unnecessary. With the encouragement of my friends, I got on a very highball, 30ft V1 called Timeline.
Climbing this line was a great experience, because it reminded me that a climb does not have to be hard to be intimidating. Half way up the slabby boulder problem, I was yearning for the safety and comfort of my crash pad 15 feet below. The cheers from my buddies, Brennah, Becca, and Phil managed to coax me all 30 to the top, however. Gotta love the climbing buddies.
Mount Evans bouldering is at a very high altitude, between 11,00 and 11,500 feet, which means that the weather is anything but predictable. After completing some warm-ups (The Ladder V2, Canvas V3, and Anorexic Gymnast V5), a nice mountain thunderstorm set in on us. The only very challenging climb I was able to work on was a beautiful V6/7 that used small, sloping holds to ascend a magnificent pink boulder, called Pink Fink. Unfortunately, with weather rolling in and damp holds, it didn’t go for me. I’ll have to get back there soon!
Even though the storm made it hard for us to work on all the climbs we wanted to, send hard, and go home feeling like champions of the world, I think it’s fair to say that all of us had one of the best days climbing of our lives. I hear so frequently from people that they “can’t” go outside because they are tired, or it’s not sunny, or it might even rain, but the more time I spend doing this mountain stuff, the more I realize that if you put all that aside and just get out, more likely than not you’re in for a good time.
Sunday, I went to a great sport climbing area just miles from downtown Boulder, CO with my friends Brennah and Becca. They’re both rad company, and climbing Animal Riots Activist (5.12a) and Joint Venture (5.11c) in the rain was just a ton of fun. Brennah hurt her hand on Saturday, so she brought along a hammock and sprawled out at the bottom of the crag—a perfect example of how every free day, no matter your injuries or the weather or a lack of motivation may be keeping you down, can be a mountain day.
One of the nicest things about being in Colorado is that the climbing is so close to the living. Going out for a day of climbing doesn’t mean that I can’t grocery shop! Yep, Sunday wrapped up with a nice, long trip to Whole Foods and, subsequently, hot chai out of a mason jar and some Kerouac. The muscles are sore from climbing and the mind’s ready for another workweek. That’s the way to feel after a good weekend and I couldn’t be happier to keep on.
Photo creds: Brennah Rosenthal, except for the one of the group, which is Phillip Tatti.