I often estimate that at the core of rock climbing in the United States there are perhaps about a thousand people give or take. A thousand people who fully live
for climbing, who re-arrange their entire lives to climb, who have made climbing their priority regardless of wether or not they are 'professionals' (few actually are which is another conversation and a sad one if you ask me). They live in Vans, trucks and cars. They work remote or part time or code or barely work at all mysteriously but one thing is for sure - they found a way to be at the cliff more often than they are not at the cliff.
If you journey across the country to the key spots you will notice an obvious migration of these stoked individuals and one of the primary meeting grounds is no doubt Rifle Canyon. It's not even as though Rifle is necessarily 'good' in the summer months it's just that everywhere else is awful, so why not? Those core, committed climbers slowly trickle in around June and populate the canyon's camp sites, picnic spots and caves. This is a gathering of climbers unlike any other in the heat of the summer. It is Rifle Summer Camp.
|Shaina climbs 'Hawaiian Two Foot' 13a|
|Dru boinks to infinity and beyond|
|I climbed 'Diarrhea Mouth' 14d in the Skull Cave|
Well it had been quite a few years since I bathed in East Rifle Creek, but man it felt good to return. It's easy to have a good old fashion love / hate with Rifle but man, it's hard to beat in the dead of the Summer. In our first few days the heat was so overwhelming that we weren't sure we could actually stick it. Slowly we adjusted, learned the ways of the siesta and the unique pacing of a crag where there are no approaches, virtually no driving, and on a weekday hardly ever a line up.
|Genevive on 'Conception' 13a|
|Me climbing 'PHAT Camp' 14d |
|Nate climbs 'Genesis' 12a|
|Dru climbs the hard hard 'Music for the Dead' 13b |
We had a great time after all. Two glorious weeks of relaxed mid-days, creek dips, quiet nights and friends. We sent a few things which was awesome because I hadn't climbed on hard routes other than my own for a long time. So important to check back in with the outside world every now and then. We also had a pretty easy time feeling COVID safe which I was unsure about, but it was fine.
We will be chilling hard in the Front Range for a month now, but I hope to link back into the migration of core senders before too long. Unfortunately I slammed very hard
on my mountain bike last week so I will not be climbing for a while - more on that in my next blog...