Saturday, December 23, 2006

Elk Hunt 2006

Camp Wells Gulch
For the first time in ten years I missed opening day of hunting season. Dave and I actually missed the first two days because we were at Lake Powell. I had not been to Powell in a few years so it was good to get down there and do a bit of fishing. It was a great time and very relaxing.

So my first hunting day was Monday and we hunted the radio towers. I went to Dalton's rock via the ridge trail, but seen no elk.

Tuesday we again hunted the radio towers and I went to second notch. Down in Well's Gulch I saw a cow elk and took a shot. I hiked down in the bottom but found no sign of her. I then hiked all the way around the gulch and back down to camp. This year we camped in Well's Gulch rather than on Peterson Mesa. That evening we took Steve's jeep up the road to the right that end at the bottom of Alkalai Basin. Dalton shot at a herd of elk crossing a meadow, but missed. We can't keep missing shots!

Wednesday we went back and hunted the meadow where Dalton shot. I went across the valley and up the far ridge. Dave hunted up the ridge to the left that defines Well's Gulch. Dalton watched the meadow all morning. I seen quite a few deer up on top in the thick pinions at the end of the Alkalai Basin road.

Thursday we got snow which should have helped the hunting a bunch. We took the ATVs up the Delta Airport road. Dalton and I hunted the top of Alkalai Basin, Dave took the bottom. We seen a big buck, but didn't shoot it because we had no tag. In the afternoon we went over to Bull&Brown and met some guys shot a couple of bulls up that trail. We tracked some cows but eventually lost their trail. On the way back my ATV ran out of gas. Dave had to push me all the way from the top down to the airport. Major bummer.

Friday we still had snow so we went back and hunted the far ridge at the Radio Towers. I saw mountain lion tracks which was cool, but no elk. No actual elk that is, there was plenty of elk track going every direction. I came very close to the herd according to Dave, who was spying from the main spot on the Radio Towers trail. Dalton again missed shots way low almost to the desert.

Saturday Dalton watched from our main spot on the Radio Towers trail. At 11 am Dalton spotted two cows in the lower park, but he missed. I hiked around and down in to see if I could spook them. My feet were really sore hiking back out.

Sunday I took the point at our spot, Steve took middle and Dave stayed on ridge. Dave shot a cow. I shot at a bull and missed. Pack out was fairly easy. I definitely need to practice shooting more and in different situations. There are a lot of elk in our area, but you need to make the most of the shots you get!

Next year I'm getting my bull.

Castlewood Canyon - 2nd Trip

On our second trip to Castlewood Canyon we decided to tackle the 5.8 climb just as you reach the Grocery Store wall. This climb proved to be great fun. The start looks harder than it is. Then the crux is about 15 feet up. I used my knee to help mantle up to the first ledge.

The second half requires a bit of a left traverse. There are some nice hand holds that then lead to an under grab to get to the top.

We then climbed a crack that is down the trail to the left. This crack was an easy and not very interesting climb. Since we had taken the time to rope it up I climbed both cracks and then tried to straddle climb it.

Finally we went around the corner to the right. The rope slid into the crack and after a couple of times trying to rig it we gave up. Some of the eyelets on the top are missing so there isn't a good way to rig the rope.

Castlewood Canyon - Grocery Store Wall

Sean and I decided to do some roped climbing in Castlewood Canyon. It was my first roped climb outdoors. After years of scrambling and over a year of gym climbing it was about time. We decided to go to the Grocery Store Wall and picked a couple of climbs to warm up with.

We had some trouble identifying the climbs, but picked what we thought was one of the easiest climb on the wall. I believe we climbed Peaches and Scream which is rated 5.6. You can check it out over at Mountain Project. It is listed as a trad climb, but you can top rope it.

It is fun easy climbing until the crux. About three quarters of the way up there is a slight overhang of rock that doesn't have an easy holds. It requires a bit of friction and a bit of faith for a couple of fourty-somethings who are not rock gymnasts. Basically you need to be comfortable with dynamic moves to get past this piece of rock.

We then went around the corner and practiced on the far side before the wall breaks up. The climbing was more my level here and we had fun. The rock is a bit jagged in places here and I nicked my brand new rope. Check out the picture and tell me if you would climb this rock.

I had a great day climbing roped for my first time! Thanks, Sean.

The Second FlatIron

Sean and I decided to scramble the second flatiron of Boulder's famous FlatIrons. Matt and I had done it a couple of times this summer, but it is a fun climb so I was happy to return. To approach from Chautauqua Park simply follow the guide signs to the 3rd FlatIron. Before you reach the third, you will come to a sharp switchback with a rock face sloping to the sky. It is not marked, but this is the start of the 2nd flatiron.

One of the joys of the second is that you never take the same route twice. Sean says that it isn't much different than Third FlatIron climbing. The third just doesn't have an easy escape from the top.

I divide the climb into 3 sections. First is interesting scrambling on fairly steep rock. When this rock is wet it can be quite challenging and I would not recommend free climbing.

Second is the crux with a tricky move or two. As you get up a couple of hundred feet the hand holds get farther apart and some friction moves might be necessary.

Once you are past the hardest section, the climbing angle eases a bit, but you climb yourself to a point. You can take a flying leap from this point over the gap to the other side or you can down climb a bit and escape to the other side that way. From here the Pullman's car soars above you as scramble easily to the top.

The Keel

In September I met up with a new climbing partner named Sean. He was searching online for FlatIrons and found this blog. None of his other buddies wanted to do any scrambling so we decided to hook up.

On our first outing we decided to try the Keel. The Keel is just to the south of the Shannahan crags. The scrambling here is easy, but the wayis n ot obvious and the rock is broken. It was fun but not the best scrambling in the FlatIrons.

We decided to proceed up to Bear Peak. From where we were it required a bit of bushwhacking. The peak was quite windy, but the view is great. Sean is a cool guy and knows his stuff when it comes to climbing, so here's to more adventures together.