Rock Climbing – Flatirons – Satellite Boulders

On Sunday morning, I met Eckhard at his casa. We drove to David Garcia’s Momentum studio, and met up with David, Nicole, and Julie. With crashpads in hand, we drove up to Chautauqua Park on the outskirts of Boulder. It was a gorgeous day, so there were teems of people, dogs, and automobiles.

I dropped the guys off at the Ranger’s Station and found a place to park. I love having the Fit in these instances. I was able to find a parking place quite easily, and parallel parked in a space nobody else would dare…save a scooter or Smart or some other teeny car.

We headed towards the Satellite Boulders, smack dab in between the 2nd & 3rd Flatirons. The hike uphill was nice, and I could feel, in my legs, a little fatigue from late night Ultimate game the night prior.

I was not expecting a hike, so all I had were my Chacos…No ankle support but the biological. Oh well, the Chaco’s felt great. It was so nice to finally have the gravelly bits under my toes again. (After a long winter of not having my toes exposed)!

Everybody was chatting on the hike up, but my mind was wandering. Thoughts about the last time I was near the Flatirons, thoughts of soloing them, thoughts of all the people who have died in this vacinity, and also about all the lucky people who get to live so close to such wild formations. I wondered what it would be like living in one of the homes on the edge of the park, I wondered who lived there presently, and I wondered if they were all insane champions of fitness.

It took a good while for us to reach the boulders, probably 40 minutes. I pulled out my backpack and put my shoes on. I was so happy Eckhard carried my ginormous 3 fold mad rock pad, and let me carry my smaller misty mtn pad. It felt fabulous in the shade. All our backs had sweat marks from the crash pads!

I quickly set about following Julie’s lead in choice of warm up routes. Eckhard & Nicole bantered away about the positive and negatives of various trendy, safety conscious choices of water bottles. How complicated our life is when we can spend 20 minutes discuss what brand & type of bottle we should drink our water out of!!!

In a short while, folks were gathered around a central boulder, taking turns on a climb. I, being supremely impatient, found a nearby boulder and picked out a project of my own.

Soon enough, two really nice strangers, Jeb & Lindsey, approached me. Turns out they had worked this one for three weekends. So the three of us took turns hacking out the moves. Lindsey was about my height, but blonde with green eyes and fingers like vice gripps. Her friend Jeb was 5’9″ and quite muscular. They were both calm and had an analytical approach to working out the moves. No drama just strength & finess. I enjoyed their company for awhile. After trying the problem another 4 times, happy with progress made, I went back to the big daddy boulder and my exhuberant posse.

Everybody was hanging out trying problems on this boulder, and I managed to earn the mother of all flappers on my pinky finger. All the skin from my palm to the knuckle was torn away. That’s what I get for flashing a boulder problem that Nicole had been working on for quite some time. Universal Payback for Showing Off. I guess I deserve it.

The one good thing that came out of my flash was folks started to analyze alternative ways to solve the problem. And, while my beta didn’t exactly work for others (it rarely does), it certainly got their brains stirred up. Not too long after, Nicole sent it (like she owned it!) and Eckhard laid the smack down with gusto. I was psyched for both of them, even more so than myself.

I wandered around the rest of the day, mostly by myself, but sometimes with the posse. The multitude of boulders available seems endless. I was a little afraid of getting lost in a vortex of “Ooh, what’s over there…let me just do ONE MORE problem!”.

David showed us a really fun roof problem, which I tried a couple times. By this time (probably 3 or 4pm), my skin was an ever lessening commodity. I got stumped at the crux, but I vow to come back for revenge. Maybe with all 7 layers, and fresh muscles, I can give it the energy it truly deserves.

I think it was around 5 pm when we started heading out.

We stopped at a “Cool Down” boulder, where David made fun of Nicole by imitating her form when she was a newbie. He climbed, feet splayed sideways, nearly campusing up the V0-V1 wall claiming, “What footholds?”. He looked like a bow legged monkey. We were all laughing. I pondered, “What did David’s peers think he looked like when he started climbing?”.

As we descended out of the trees, back to civilization (and the sun), the group started chatting again. I thought about the boulder problems I had tried, playing in my mind the beta reels, thinking intently on what problems I would try first if I returned. There are several unfinished problems to select from, not to mention the flatirons themselves!

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