Vail GoPro Mountain Games

When Columbia Sportswear reached out to the #omniten several months ago to ask if we wanted to participate in the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, I actually took a pass. It was going to fall closely on the heels of school getting out and I wasn’t really sure what my plans were. After Amanda headed on to Denver and the airport on a Thursday, Sprocket and I found ourselves in Breckenridge with no real plans until Monday in De Beque. As I saw Tweets from Dave and Aleya about how excited they were for the games and realized that Vail really just was on my route, I decided that Sprocket and I needed to go join the fun.

Vail Mountain Games Bound

After another quick McDonald’s bathroom cleanup in West Vail, Sprocket and I started checking out the games. I occasionally tortured him with photo opportunities:

Sprocket and Bear statue

I’ve been to dog friendly events but this one really took the cake. Sprocket came everywhere with me. He met other dogs, which isn’t always his favorite as pictured here but is SO GOOD for him since most of the time it was people interaction (his favorite).

Dogs at GoPro Mountain Games

We checked out the rafting competition where SP was super sad that I wouldn’t let him swim. (Snowmelt season is a really hard time to be a lab in Colorado!) He made “friends” with this really cute photographer that I swear I wasn’t trying to take a photo of (no, really, I was trying for Sprocket and the water):

Watching the rafting competition. GoPro Mountain Games

Rafting competition

After the rafting competition, I met up with Dave and Shay. I’ve never met Shay in real life but we were both Stonewear Ambassadors at the same time and have been online friends for a couple of years. Dave and I were both #omniten Season 4 and have adventured in Park City and Jordan with Columbia plus he was part of the Ouray Ice Fest 3Up Party. Dave had signed up for the Citizen’s Bouldering Competition while Shay was his personal photographer (Check out Dave’s account of the games!). Sprocket and I were pretty much just along for the ride.

Dave-and-Beth-SP
Photo: Shay Skinner, Skin Poetry Photography

After we all met up and did a bit of wandering, it was time for dinner. I doubt I’ll find myself in Vail all that often but the truffle oil tots and some super delicious margaritas at Bully Ranch did not disapoint. The restaurant (but mostly Dave and Shay) were super chill about us sitting outside in the rain so Sprocket could join. Then, because I’m an obnoxious dog mom, I kept Sprocket with us as we went to that evening’s concert. Sprocket was completely unconcerned about the commotion as long as he was safely in the circle between the three of us.

Vail Mountain Games Concert

Finally, it was bedtime and Sprocket and I headed off to the parking garage to cuddle in the Jeep:

Jeep cuddling

The next day, Sprocket and I were up early so we spent some time at Starbucks taking care of some blog stuff and catching up on Twitter before meeting up with Dave and Shay. We all headed to the climbing competition where we watched for awhile before hunting up breakfast.

Bouldering World Cup

Rain threatened but we were all having fun anyway:

#Tryingstuff #omniten

Playing in the rain

A bit later, I met up with Aleya and Tori and we all rendezvoued with Dave and Shay for Happy Hour in the VIP area and then headed off for pizza. That evening, we all headed down to the concert again (I let Sprocket head to sleep that time since I’m not sure he actually liked the experience.) The next day, Sprocket got to live out his dock jumping fantasy:

K9 Participant

He wasn’t really sure about that clear pool and didn’t quite live up to the showings he makes at lakes everywhere we go, but he certainly enjoyed himself. He even got so worked up waiting in line that he whined and barked with the best of the pros. Unfortunately, Dave and Shay were over at Dave’s climbing competition so I don’t have any photos of Sprocket and I in action but I really think he had a blast!

Sprocket in line for dock jumping

Hanging out with great friends is always fun and my #omniten friends are even more special. I can’t believe I almost passed up the chance to hang out and I’m so glad that I made it to hang out with this great crew:

Photo: Aleya Jean
Photo: Aleya Jean

GoPro Mountain Games wristband aftermath:

Aftermath of wrist bands

VIP entry was provided to me as part of Columbia’s #omniten program but as always, my experiences and opinions are my own!

Ouray Ice Festival

Like many Ridgway and Ouray residents, I had a house full of company during Ice Festival weekend. There were no complaints from Sprocket and me: Dave, Aleya, and Jillian were awesome company. There was much merriment, catching up, and laughter but our common ground is adventure so we did our best do get out and enjoy Colorado especially since Jillian was all the way out west from New Hampshire!

Aleya was actually the only ice climber in the bunch but when we met up with some of her friends, us newbies grabbed some demo boots and took our turns being lowered into the Uncompaghre Gorge for our first ice experiences. It’s a little nerve wracking being lowered onto your climb and knowing you need to make it out.

Beth Lakin, Ouray Ice ParkPhoto: Jason Gebauer Photography

Ice Climbing, Ouray Ice Park Photo: Jillian of Tenders And Trails

Ice Climbing, Ouray Ice ParkPhoto: Jillian of Tenders And Trails

I had a blast trying it out and am so happy that Jason and Jillian grabbed those sweet shots of me on my very first ice climb! On top of climbing, though, it was great to play tourist a bit. The Ice Park’s scenery is definitely not tough on the eyes:

Ouray Ice Park

Ouray Ice Park

By the end of the day we were tired, a bit cold, and hungry. We grabbed hot chocolates to enjoy while watching the tail end of the mixed climbing competition.

Competiton wall. Ouray Ice Festival

Beth and Aleya

After we refueled with burgers at O’Briens, Dave, Jillian and I lost steam to go to the Prom party up in Ouray but we were re-energized enough to take a drive up to Red Mountain Pass for a short moonlight snowshoe adventure.

The next day, we took the ’77 Cherokee out for her inaugural 3Up cruise and explored Telluride poking into stores, sipping coffee, and enjoying the day.

I hope my guests all had fun, it was a blast to have a houseful for the weekend!!

Thanksgiving Break 2014: Golden

Thankfully, we get a whole week off in Ridgway for Thanksgiving. This break was totally needed! Since I had a flight out of Denver on Thanksgiving morning (!) I decided it made a lot of sense to just head over to the Front Range right away and relax rather than working on the house. This turned out to be such a good decision. Both Sprocket and I were so ready to hit the road when school got out on Friday!

Beth on the road

Sprocket

I’d planned to get to Aleya’s house and promptly go to sleep. This didn’t happen, but that was a-okay with me.

Golden, Colorado

Turbodown twins

The next day, I relaxed a little bit at Aleya’s place, did some climbing with her roommate at Earthworks, had lunch at Mountain Toad brewery, made dinner at her place, and then headed back to Mountain Toad with Sprocket for a night cap.

Sprocket

Earthworks

Mountain Toad Brewery

Thanks so much Aleya (and your friends!), I had a blast.

Susan: #TryingStuff x2, Dating and Climbing

Since I’m off #TryingStuffInJordan right now, I thought I’d open the floor here at 3Up Adventures to guest posts about #tryingstuff.

Susan and I met online over two years ago. I’ve loved following her during that time as she’s discovered how much more she’s capable of than she ever knew: during a tough time she turned to exercise as therapy and has become someone who runs more 5K races than I can keep track of! During some recent adventures in online dating, she was invited to a climbing gym but she’s scared of heights. I love this post for it’s honesty about what really was important about the experience.

Susan

My most recent #tryingstuff moment all started off with what appeared to be, from the outside, an innocent enough text message: “If you’re feeling bold, want to try rock climbing tonight?” Just a few words on my phone screen attached to the name of a cute guy I was interested in. But they were loaded words. And they scared the crap out of me. We had gone on an amazing first date, he’s an adrenaline junkie and I… am not. I’ve never been a thrill seeker, I’m scared to death of heights and here was this attractive man who just a few days earlier, sitting next to me over dinner, joked about how he was going to get me to jump out of a plane this summer. But it’s the middle of winter and skydiving season was months away, so I was safe.

Well, mostly anyway. If I accepted the rock climbing invite, it would mean a second date (yay!), but would also mean my feet would have to leave the ground. My feet would have to leave the ground and help propel my body up a wall with only a rope and trust in someone I had only spent a few hours with keeping me from plunging to my death (ok, I admit that might be a tad over dramatic). I’m not exactly athletic, or coordinated, so accepting the invitation was only going to lead to me looking awkward, which generally isn’t the look one goes for in the early stages of dating. And I was scared.

The beauty of it though was that I also felt like I was in a position that the only acceptable response was “sure!” because I was still very much in the wanting to impress stages of getting to know someone. He knew I was scared of heights, and here he was offering up a second date opportunity for me wrapped in the package of trying to push me out of my comfort zone. So I took to the internet with panicked words to my girl friends to ask what I should do. And was met with a handful of comments about how awesome of a date idea this was and how they were excited for me.

So I said yes… and proceeded to panic for the rest of the work day. The funny thing about getting out of your comfort zone and trying stuff, is that generally you have a really good time doing it. And I will admit it, it WAS a great date idea, and I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out like I normally would have because the really shocking thing? I want to go again!

We went to the local indoor climbing gym that’s in an old mill building. They even turned the elevator shaft into a climbing route! (I didn’t do that one.) My date walked me through the basics of how to tie the knot, how to belay, etc. He was calm and relaxed and I tried to soak that vibe in as much as I could. And then he hooked me up to a rope and told me to give it a go. At first there was only one other pair climbing so it was quiet and I didn’t feel like everyone was watching me clearly being a beginner and not knowing what I was doing.

Susan

As I walked up to the wall trying to not shake, I did have a moment of questioning what I was doing there and wondering why I had agreed to this, but then I grabbed my first handholds and told myself I WAS going to do this. I may have only made it halfway up the wall before getting stuck and not able to find a path to continue going up but it doesn’t matter. This wasn’t about making it to the ceiling, this wasn’t about impressing a cute guy with my killer climbing skills. This was about pushing my own limits and proving to myself that trying new things can be scary but can also be fun.

For the next 30 minutes or so we alternated climbing and belaying until the place filled up and got too chaotic for me and we decided to head out. I never made it further than about ¾ of the way up any of the walls, but I tried my best, at no point did I say “I can’t” without at least attempting it first. And maybe it was because I was trying so hard to not look like an idiot, maybe it was because the nature of rock climbing engages your full body and mind that there was no opportunity for me to think about the fact that my feet were no longer on the ground. But my fear of heights never kicked in. The panic attack I was so sure I was going to have never came.

Walking out of the building my date told me he was proud of me and that if he hadn’t known it, he never would have expected that I was scared of heights. More importantly, I was proud of myself. Did I love it? No. But I didn’t hate it. I can honestly say I had fun, and it is something that I would like to try again. I even looked in to it online and another local indoor rock climbing gym offers a ladies only lesson night where women climbers walk newbies through the basics of rock climbing that I would really like to sign up for. I’d love to gain some working knowledge of climbing now that I know I actually can do it without freaking out, and go again to see if I can do better, maybe even make it to the ceiling!

On a random Tuesday night in January, I learned that trying something new can be totally scary, but that it can also be a lot of fun. I said yes to something I would normally say no to and it is an experience I am so happy I got to have. I can only wonder now what my next #tryingstuff adventure will be!

Susan

14ers: El Diente & Mount Wilson

Thursday at 2am, we got up and headed out for another try at El Diente (and Mt. Wilson). This time we headed up via the Kilpacker trail and started our hike at about 3:45am. We arrived in Kilpacker basin just as the sun was coming up and were treated to this view of “The Tooth” catching the first rays of light:

El Diente at sunrise

Kilpacker Basin

Our timing was great. We did the easy trail hiking in the dark and started our scramble up the south slopes of El Diente while watching the sun creep along the ridges and valley floors.

F

Kilpacker Basin3UpAdventures.com. El Diente-Mt. Wilson Traverse.

Reaching the summit of El Diente was awesome. There was just the right amount of difficult third class scrambling to make it fun without being intimidating. Since we still wanted to do the traverse to Mt. Wilson, we didn’t spend too long on the summit, taking just enough time to share a Good2Go bar and drink some water.

F on the summit of El Diente

From El Diente, we finally got a glimpse of Mt. Wilson:

Mt. Wilson from El Diente

From the left: Wilson Peak, Mt. Gladstone, and Mt. Wilson:

Wilson Peak, Gladstone from El Diente

We started across the traverse. While parts of it were lots of fun, there was lots of crumbly, tippy, loose rocks with plenty of exposure. It demanded a lot of attention as we moved slowly towards Mt. Wilson.

El Diente from Wilson Peak Traverse

The last pitch up the summit block of Mt. Wilson was quite the climax to the day. The last few moves are definitely class 4 with plenty of exposure. Finally, though, we were on top. It was almost noon so we didn’t linger very long on the summit and started our decent down into Navajo Basin via the northeastern slopes.

Marmot Navajo Basin

Decent route

When we finally reached the basin floor, it was time to get walking. The clouds were gathering and we knew that it wouldn’t be long before we got wet. Fortunately, we got to see Navajo Lake from above before packing the camera away from the rain that was almost upon us. The six mile hike out was really wet but we’d made it!

Navajo Lake

Mushrooms near Navajo Lake

Trail Stats:

Miles hiked: 16
Feet of elevation gain: ~5,200′
Time: 12 hours 45 minutes
14ers summited: TWO (Mt. Wilson and El Diente plus West Wilson)

Nature 1, Us 0

Wednesday morning, we hit the road at 3:45 am to climb El Diente and Mount Wilson. We arrived at the Navajo Lake trail and began the first few miles of our hike in the dark. As we reached the meadows below the lake, the sky began to lighten and we got our first glimpse of El Diente (and South Wilson).

Sunrise on the Navajo Peak Trail

Finally we climbed the trail over the headwall of Navajo Basin and got to see the slopes of El Diente. We enjoyed a snack on the shores of the lake before starting the long scramble up to the West Ridge.

Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake

Our chosen route was steep. The going up the scree was slow but our views got better and better as we moved up in elevation. Mostly it was just a lot of two steps up, one step back but there were a few places we got to do some scrambling.

F on the slopes of El Diente

Up El Diente

Climbing the chutes

Climbing the chutes

Finally, we popped out on the ridge and we saw El Diente for the first time since leaving the meadows. Wow.

First glimpse of El Diente

Our views out to the west weren’t too bad either:

To the West

Traversing the west ridge was a lot of fun. We weren’t making awesome time because there were plenty of places where we had to cross some sketchy areas like this: (Yes, it’s a long ways down)

Knife's Edge

To the North

Ridge hiking

Ridge Hiking

Just as we started to feel within reach of the summit, the infamous Colorado summer thunderstorms began to develop. We watched as the clouds began to get more and more ominous. As we watched the clouds began to move to our south so we began moving again.

Ominous clouds

Within minutes, things went from sketchy to very bad. As my hair stood straight up and we got a fuzzy sensation, F sternly instructed me to get down and the two of us hit the rocks and rolled down the ridge 20ft. BOOM, lightning struck over head. Luckily it was cloud to cloud that time.

As we regrouped, we realized 1) that we needed to GET OFF THE RIDGE, 2) that we’d put holes in several hundred dollars worth of clothing, that F had 3) bent his thumbnail back ripping some flesh and 4) sliced 3″ of his hand open on the rocks.  We bandaged his hand with my t-shirt and hair tie (my free tshirt from S2V met a bloody death and I doubt my coworker wants her hair tie back…).

Two miles of ridge top traversing did not sound like a good idea but we weren’t sure we had much of a choice. The alternate routes on El Diente were on the other side of the summit and the sides of the ridge were full of cliffs. As we scrambled our way along the ridge F spotted a chute that appeared be decendable to Kilpacker basin and we both agreed it was worth a shot to get ourselves out of a sketchy situation. So we “skied” down 1000ft of scree while trying to avoid going over the cliff.

When we arrived in the basin the imminent threat of severe weather seemed to have been replaced with a slight summer drizzle and we were treated to a side view of How Close We Were.

Hand gash on El Diente's slopes

Instead of following our tracks out to the Navajo trail, we decided to hike out Kilpacker trail to see if trying the South Slopes approach would be a better idea next time. Just shy of the trail head we met a father and son who had made it to the top of El Diente before the storm but had to abandon the traverse to Mount Wilson. They kindly agreed to drive us back to the Navajo trailhead to pick up the Jeep.

Bummed about not making it to the summit, we took Last Dollar Road from Telluride back to Dallas Divide. Along the way, we saw elk herds, some Aspen and pine groves, and lots of trails to explore.

Elk on Last Dollar Road

The Jeep even got to have some muddy fun:

Green Jeep.

Back in Ridgway over pizza and beer, we began to make plans to give the climb another shot. We’re on a mission now!

Hike by the numbers:
Miles hiked: 11.8
Feet of elevation gain: 3800′
High point: 13,600′
Stitches needed: 9
Summits reached: 0
Dollars worth of clothing torn: a lot 😥

 

Indian Creek, Part 2

In the morning, we found Haley and Scott and discovered they hadn’t been able to find Katie and Niko either. Back at camp, we shared our coffee with Mikey and Adam and talked about what our plans for the day were. Mikey and Adam were planning to climb South Six Shooter Peak and we asked if we could tag along on the hike to the bottom of the climbing pitch with them. They seemed happy for the company so we pulled out following them to the trailhead. They pulled over at a parking area and began to unpack their car, explaining to us that there was a “big drop off” ahead that we couldn’t drive down. Forrest suggested that they hop in the van and we’d go check it out. As we reached the “difficult” section, there was another climbing party unpacking their car for the hike in so we decided to invite them to hop in as well.

vanoffroad

Davis Canyon

South Six Shooter Peak

The afternoon turned out to be lots of fun—the hike up the talus slope kept leading to better and better views and hanging out at the base of the climb was actually a ton of fun. It would have been even more fun to climb ourselves (although Forrest scrambled up the first pitch to check it out). As I was relaxing on a rock, basking in the sun, another climbing party reached the top of the trail. It was Haley & Scott—this time rather than waking them up in camp, I properly introduced myself and found out that I “knew” Haley via Twitter.

Petroglyph on South Six Shooter Peak

Forrest free soloing the first pitch

Sprocket being a crag dog

Back in the campground, we talked to a couple from Canada who are traveling in a Unimog with a camper mounted on the back. It was really fun to talk to another couple who were on the hunt for the perfect adventure vehicle: 4-wheel drive, gas mileage, and livability. We also headed back over to our friends from Saturday night to hear about their climbing exploits of the day.

Mikey and Adam rapelling

Haley on summit pitch

Thank you to everyone we met in Indian Creek. I was totally floored by how welcoming everybody was to a couple of maybe-sorta-wannabe climbers. You all made our time there so much fun. We’ll totally be back.

Family picture

Arch Canyon

A couple weekends ago, Forrest, Ezra, and I decided we were going to head up Arch Canyon in Organ Pipe National Monument. We were hoping that we’d be able to find a way up the steep canyon walls to reach the summit of Mt. Ajo and return via Bull Pasture.

Arch Canyon trailhead

Natural Arch

One of the things Forrest remarked upon as we hiked through the canyon was how much it reminded him of Utah (and also how incredibly green everything was!). The canyon was very tight in some places as we made our way up the wash—everything was simply stunning!

Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

We weren’t able to make it onto Mt. Ajo’s summit ridge; we headed to the east as soon as we thought we could traverse the ridge and were foiled by some areas that looked too sketchy to do without ropes. In retrospect, it may be possible to summit if you stay in the wash proper as long as you can and head more directly for the summit. Despite not reaching the summit, we had an excellent day of hiking, scrambling, and even doing some light climbing.

Arch Canyon

Spring, Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

Arch Canyon

Ezra climbing in Arch Canyon

View from Arch Canyon

Forrest climbing in Arch Canyon

The summit of Mt. Ajo is visible on the left: (SO CLOSE. Yet SO FAR.)

Mt. Ajo

 

Wedding, Part 18: Tuesday—Climbing

Tuesday morning, we headed towards Morning Glory Canyon again to do some climbing. F and I were anxious to do some more free exploring like we’d done briefly in the Cable Arch area. We parked at Morning Glory and walked back east on the road looking for a place to pop out on top.

Climbing up from the road

It took a few minutes but we finally found a crack that looked like it would “go.” The rock was pretty crumbly but we all made it up to the top without incident. We all enjoyed our time scrambling around.

“First one to bite it buys a round.”
Moonflower Canyon

We found ourselves in some difficult spots but still had a great time. After eating lunch on top with views to Behind the Rocks, out to Canyonlands and Arches, and down to the Colorado, we hiked out via the Moab Rim jeep trail. (The big rainstorm rushing in from the west complete with lightning was enough to keep us all moving quickly!)

Blaze climbing.
Looking back to Behind The Rocks.
Hiking in Behind the Rocks WSA