Sunday, October 17, 2010

Boulder Mountain Traverse, the "Boulder Six Pack," and the Boulder experience

For several years, I've wanted to climb the ridge up from Eldorado Canyon to South Boulder Peak, and then continue across Boulder Mountain. I tried it awhile back in an ice storm, dropped down to Shadow Canyon Trail, and spent the rest of the day shivering back to the car. So today, I went back.

-A talented climber could surely take an elegant route up the ridge. However, I am not such a person. Therefore, my climb to South Boulder Peak was a four-hour brush and scree suffer-fest featuring endless cliff-outs. Here's one:

Here's another:

And here's the universal sign for "tanning beds:"

Is that the top?

Nope, keep climbing.

Finally, I sat at the summit and enjoyed my lunch. And lo! I opened the register, and my blood turned cold as I read this incredible note:

I'd been one-upped (or more properly two-upped) only one day before by Ryan Hurst and Luke Siegal! I was only planning on climbing one mountain and then hiking to three more (Bear Mountain, Green Mountain and Flagstaff). Not only were they hiking two more destinations than me, but the full six destinations had a name - the "Boulder Six Pack." I was only contemplating a Boulder Four Pack! How I had missed planning for this?

But wait, all was not lost. First, the Boulder Six Pack must be pretty obscure - Ryan and Luke felt the need to describe the six destinations for squares like me. Second, they indicated that South Boulder Peak was the second destination on their route. What did this mean? Did they knock off Mt. Sanitas in the morning? More likely, they had already climbed Bear Mountain, indicating they had hiked up Shadow Canyon.

That means my Boulder Four Pack - featuring the long climb from Eldorado Canyon - is more extreme than their Boulder Six Pack! Sort of like the Great Divide Hercules Double IPA (which is both extreme and comes in four packs). Plus, my Boulder Four Pack featured great/classic form - I stayed on or near the ridge the whole time, and hit South Boulder Peak without using any extra trail (I left the Eldorado Canyon Trail right at the Rincon Wall hiker access trail). Sort of like Duvel (which has great/classic form and also comes in a four pack).

At that moment, a glider zoomed by about thirty feet over my head.

The pilot smiled and waved at me, completely in control. Piloting a glider mere feet from a mountain is definitely more extreme than either the Boulder Six Pack or the Four Pack. Such is the Boulder experience. But what if I climbed South Boulder Peak and BASE jumped off the top, like Dean Potter?


Later I saw this sign:

But what if I mountain bike across the land? Or snowmobile? If they didn't want me to drive my monster truck across their land, then why did they only specify hiking and jogging? I love these signs because they remind me of the awesome B.S. legal principle of inclusio unius est exclusio alteruis.

I also got some (blurry) shots of the awesome Abert's squirrel:


Totally unrelated:

I'm writing this EXTREME entry at the South Boulder Vic's. It's quiet and clean, with excellent coffee and outlets everywhere. It's everything I would want in a coffee shop, and there are maybe ten other places I like just as much (I'm easy that way). But not in Denver. No. You get dirty/smelly/bad coffee, or weird stuff like no wireless (Pablo's). I want Vic's/Brewing Market/Ozo/etc. Denver branch.

1 comment:

catherinekleier said...

Does that mean that four-pack abs is better than six-pack abs? I say yes!