We've been back in Boulder a few days now. Hot weather, typical for July. I hiked up to the Satellites to try Face Full of Brian, a classic little V8 power problem. However things were a bit warm and humid and I could not stick the move off the sloper to the fingerlock. A good reintroduction and warm-up to bouldering with an approach. I checked the elevation gain and it is roughly comparable to that for Lower Chaos Canyon, over a shorter distance. The reason I think that's interesting is that the pad-stashing controversy is apparently back with the NPS actually removing stashed pads in RMNP. The Climbing Narc has posted on the topic and I have weighed in at that site already. The short version is that pad-stashing is weak, selfish, and detrimental both to climbing access and the climbing environment. There is no reason that even two reasonably fit climbers couldn't carry up enough pads to protect most of the problems in both Lower and Upper Chaos and carry them back down.
I am thinking about going up to Lower Chaos tomorrow, pretty early. Not sure yet what I want to try but I would like to get up there and look around. I think it's time that there was a much more respectful attitude towards the environment in RMNP. I suspect the "insider" attitude towards the area has resulted in more abuse than respect. Boulderers take themselves very seriously but it would be better if they took their responsibilities toward the environment and other visitors equally seriously.
Speaking of taking things seriously it is very hard to take the recent article in Climbing on Rifle very seriously. Essentially it profiles the history of sandbagging at Rifle, particularly at the 8b/8b+ level. A Boulder climber whom I know fairly well is described as the master of downgrading and is quoted along the lines of, "Why rate something 14a when some Euro might come along and flash it?" This is a classic instance of how to sabotage your path to improvement. When you become so obsessed with a number and your "reputation" as a climber that you can't get past the idea that a route might really be harder than you felt it was, you are probably not focusing on getting a whole lot better as a climber. The article was an eerie throwback to a scene in Rifle that was dominant in the 90s or at least was until Chris Sharma did Lungfish in an afternoon and put everything in perspective. That scene with all its dysfunctionality has since dissipated somewhat, helped along perhaps by the increasingly exorbitant cost of driving there from Boulder. The math is c. 350 miles roundtrip at 30mpg so about $45 plus 7-8 hours driving time wasted in polluting the atmosphere all to send the "proj".
That's in part why I started exploring local projects instead of queuing up for the 18th ascent of 7 PM Show. It was nice to see a little recognition in an article in the same issue by Abbey Smith about Clear Creek. If I had to choose between Rifle and Clear Creek, I would take Clear Creek any day. Good bouldering, multi-pitch routes, moderate routes, tons of potential, and no parking and camping hassles. The surface is still only being scratched regarding really hard climbs there.
Anyway it's good to be back in town, even if the weather is hot.