Rocky Mountain NP-Combat Rock

Reunion Thier Pad Sunset at KOA

After the scrumptious dinner with Ann & Dylan, Sat. night, we discussed places to climb the next day. I left it up to them to set up the itinerary with my only request being that we climb one day “sport” and the other “traditional”. We set a leave time for 9am the following morning.

Dennis and I were just a little late, rolling into the RV park where Ann & Dylan live. By the way, their RV is quite nice. It is definitely not “roughing it” by any stretch. Dennis & I both marvelled at the amenities, and the simplicity of their set up. How Cool! I digress, this is supposed to be about climbing…not progressive lifestyles of our dearly missed friends.

We piled into their green Subi, and headed for the green mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park where we would be climbing green rock (just joshin!). Looking at Dylan’s guidebook on the way up to Combat Rock, I was impressed with the volume of climbing available. How is it possible to pick one wall? Combat rock was the winner due to it’s local (close to the road), and it’s “sporty” disposition.

View of Road from Combat Rock

Turns out that Combat Wall is much like our beloved Sierra crags, as the bolts were placed only in spots where you can’t put gear. The bolts at Combat Wall are supplimental to a rack, so it’s really more like mixed climbing.

My first route of the day was Rambo Santa, 5.7 and quite long. We needed two ropes to be able to rap off the anchors (fixed chains). The joining knot was about 75 feet from the ground, so when somebody was TRing,we had to pass the knot. Most routes at Combat wall are long, so if ya go, take two ropes! Rambo Santa was fun, the crux was getting past (3rd?) bolt. There was also a sporty little boulder problem type move just below the chains.

Top of Rambo Santa Close-up of anchor

At the anchor of Rambo Santa, I met a nice guy named Ken who was from New Hampshire. He was belaying his partner who was leading the second pitch (we opted out), which looked like 5.10 overhanging crack that traversed for about 50 feet to the right from where we were.

Ken and his partner were word jousting back and forth, both poking fun at each other (as partners do after climbing together for 20+ years!). Ken took my picture on the way up to the belay, and that was quite funny as he never got my email or asked to take it in the first place!

Dylan cruises Rambo Santa

Dylan cruised up next, making the move at the top with a smile (he thought it was fun too!). He trailed a rope, and we both rapped off. Ann and Dennis both did the climb, making it look way easier than it felt like on lead!

Starting Up Battle Fatigue First Pro Placement A second placement

Next up, I jumped on Battle Fatigue 5.8R. Honestly, if I had known it was an “R” I might not have opted to lead it. The route pretty much goes straight up, starting at the base of a scraggly tree. However, about halfway up, after a bolt, there is a 50 foot section of blank wall. There are lots of hands and feet, so it’s not desparate (like the slab pitch of White Punks), but it’s pretty vertical, and the granite is pretty smooth in spots.

Stay Focused! I see a Bolt-Whew!

About 20-30 feet up from the bolt, I was standing on a ramp, starting to question myself. “Dylan, I’m not sure where to go from here, it doesn’t look like I can place anything.”. I look down at the balance beam width sloped ramp I was on, and I saw a very thin crack, incut from the ramp. Voila, a NUT PLACEMENT!!!

Rummaging through Dylans rack, I found a very small nut and blindly started fishing it in the crack down at my feet. It was grasping at straws. Suddenly, I felt a solid tug, and relief ripples through my body. Slinging it out a bit, I was hopeful the horizontal placement would take a 30 foot fall (since if I slipped up ahead that’s what would happen). I asked for Dylan, Ann, and Dennis to “Talk to Me”, while I climbed through the next series of moves. They were great, “Go Clare, You Can Do It, Remember to Breath”.

When I made it up the next series of ramps, I found an even larger crack. Plugging a number 1 Camalot in there was cathartic. I looked down over the last 20 feet, with a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Ann Cleans Ann checkin out the placement Dennis Flies Up Battle Fatigue Dennis Up High

Happy the nut didn’t pull, and excited to hear what Ann thought of the placement on her way up. After we all did Battle Fatigue, Dylan set up a TR of the nearby Pearl Harbor (5.10b).

Dylan Setting a TR

We all TRd that one, Dylan’s ascent was by far the most graceful. There is a slabby moment of surrender, which made us whimper. Ann found a superb fingertip undercling, which I was able to use, but was useless for the guys. Ann was composed through the crux section, but I dropped some F-bombs on everybody for sure. It was a fun climb, but we all agreed to lead that climb is stout!

Start of Pearl Harbor I'm not happy here Cheerleaders!

After a great day of climbing, we drove up to Estes Park to watch the Elk butting heads. (Joking, that’s what the Tourists were doing). We were getting out of the car to look at the crags and chat about the climbing areas-traffic was backed up for miles though because of the elk! We also saw the lodge where The Shining was filmed. It’s a beautiful lodge, and if you want to spend a small fortune, you can stay there!

We took “the long way home”, making a loop back to where we were earlier in the day. We avoided the backed up traffic, and instead were passed on the mountain road by only one car-some kind of sportscar, driven by a pretty blond chick who waved cheerily as she went by.

That night, we went into Ft. Collins for dinner. Opting for the ever popular local brewpub Coopersmiths. Yummy fare, and tasty beer. Good combination after a day of exertion. Dennis got the beer sampler, and we all tested out the flavs. My favorite (not suprisingly) was the light and fluffy wheat beer.

Ft. Collins is a very youthful town, teaming with college folks and teenagers hanging out. On the way back to our hotel, Dennis was accosted by two dudes in monkey suits promoting the opening of “The Drunken Monkey”. There was much revelling in the streets, and we found our hotel, “The Armstrong” just fine.

Our room (#218?), was a lovely room. Cheerful Lime green/cornflower blue color scheme with silver colored appliances/fixings. The view was nothing special, but the blackout shades made the room quite nice for sleeping. Unfortunately, they did not have a blackout shade for the small dormer window above the door to the room, so it was still light in the room. We fixed that by hanging towels over the window. The king size bed was devine. Both nights I slept solid. The blankets were real, none of that filmy polyester lining they have at cheap hotels!

We were excited as the next day we were going to Wyoming to climb at Vedauwoo, woo-hoo!

Comments are closed.