Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rifle and the "Unnamed Dog"

We have made our way back to Colorado and it is strange knowing that we won't be heading west any more along this trip.  Alex Vidal came out to visit over Memorial day weekend and we had a blast despite the fact that I wasn't able to climb.  We left Joe's Valley 2 days ago after getting one last morning of climbing in Joe's and spent the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Grand Junction.

Combing our hair is quite a luxury...
After arriving in Rifle yesterday afternoon Mike and I embarrassed ourselves on the easiest pumpy limestone routes available in RMP.  They are LONG.  Much longer than the routes we did in New Mexico and Red Rocks.  As with all new climbing areas, it takes some time to get used to the style of climbing, especially in a place like Rifle which is extremely unique.  Rifle is a 2 mile long narrow canyon lined with limestone cliffs, and is said to be the best limestone sport-climbing area in North America.  Rifle Creek runs through the canyon and with the recent rain and snow melt, parts of the road are flooded and a handful of routes are still too wet to climb.  

RMP (Rifle Mountain Park) is known for its lack of beginner or intermediate climbing.  It is famed for its long, steep, hard pitches - and an prodigious amount of classic 5.13's.

Yesterday Mike and I worked on some of the classic 11's that are mostly climbed as warm-ups by the local crushers.  It is hard to trust the greasy footholds. 

This is partly to do with the geology of the rock as well as the fact that we were climbing the most popular warm-ups.  The rock is distinctively blocky.  It was frustrating climbing at a much lower level than we did in other places, but after a few days I am hoping that the style becomes more familiar.  I am also hoping that after a few days I won't have to worry about my tendons.  Luckily I didn't rupture anything but I do think I stressed the tendon which makes pinches, crimps and underclings really uncomfortable. 

Last night Mike and I camped in an area off the road that was described as free camping on public land in our guidebook.  The book was written in 2008, so there is a chance that had changed.  As we were eating dinner a couple on a camouflage ATV approached us.  The guy gave Mike and I the look of hate as he passed us, and after fiddling with some instruments in the creek they came over to talk to us.  He told us that although the land was not his, and it was technically public land, he did have a problem with people 

camping on it and he often drove up there to F*$@ with campers.  We were the fortunate campers that night.  He got a huge kick out of the fact that our bus looked like a "short-bus" and the fact that we did not have any LSD, shrooms or weed on us.  We could not have been any more different from this guy, and he was certainly more than confused as to why 2 young guys and a dog were sleeping in a bus traveling the country to climb on rocks.  I concluded that this guy, who referred to himself as the unnamed dog even after everyone introduced themselves, would make the perfect character for a movie.  His giddy personality and childish laugh mixed with his cowboy attire and hickish language made him terrifying (at least to me), and the fact that he owned all the land around us (and probably an arsenal of guns) only exaggerated the fear I felt.  Mike did not appear to be as nervous.  After exalting himself and making fun of climbers for about 20 minutes (laughing fitfully), and telling us not to "fall of them there rocks" because the flight for life helicopters scared his cows, he decided to leave, making sure one last time that we didn't want him to bring us a "dooby." We won't be camping there again tonight, as I would rather pay $5 to stay in the park than have another unbidden discussion with the "unnamed dog."  Besides, he told me if Juno got off the leash his dogs would tear her apart.  I'm a good dad and I know how curious Juno is with cows and horses.  It's not that i am scared for myself...ha.

We will be in Rifle for a few more days and should be back in Boulder/Denver for the summer before my birthday on June 9th.  




  1. You guys rock! I've most certainly been enjoying ya'lls blogpost from back home in Boone, it seems as if your grand adventure has continued to be awesome for the both of you. Anyways, have a great rest of your trip and come see all of us over here in Boone when you get the chance!
    - Tilley

  2. Haha, combed hair guys! Sounds all good! Rifle is hard to get used to, it takes some time. Everyone gets his ass kicked by the long blocky climbing! Really nice blogpost man! I can picture the 'unnamed dog!' Haha!

    See ya'll!

  3. That guy does sound nutty and scary. Good thing you moved to another spot the following night. Keep safe!