The Ouray Ice Park is the Most Unique Place You’ll Hear About Today

Two years ago, in January 2017, I returned from a trip abroad. I had spent a month in Budapest, Hungary, visiting my friend Shawn, and a month backpacking the Balkan countries.

Colorado weather being what it is, we had 70 degrees (21C) and sun that January, despite the fact that it was the middle of winter. Suffering from the usual post-travel depression, I met up with my friends for a day of sport climbing in Boulder Canyon as quickly as I could. My friend Ben, a Buddhist scholar at Naropa University, told me “I’m inviting a few classmates along. You’ll like them.”

Ironically, neither climbed at all. One was a monk; his order didn’t permit him. The other was Meg, who let us all know, loudly: “I’m going ice climbing tomorrow and I need to save my strength.”

That was the beginning of the end.

Over the next two years, Meg and I climbed some mountains and built a friendship. I found my way into her friend group of serious climbers, and I was slowly sucked more and more towards alpinism, mountains, and ice.

For the past six years, that friend group has taken an annual Super Bowl trip to the Ouray Ice Park, in Ouray, Colorado. I was invited last year, but I was in Italy at the time.

This year, I finally joined the fun. And let me tell you:

Ouray is cool.

There can’t be many places like this in the world. Learn why, below the jump.

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Escalada de Colorado, USA

[English here / ingles aca]

Este fin de semana, fuimos por una escalada grande en Eldorado Canyon, un parque estatal de Colorado, muy cerca de mi ciudad, Boulder.

Eldo es un lugar muy especial para mi. Es el hogar de muchos recuerdos buenos, y la escalada de una forma para olvidar recuerdos malos y cosas malas o dificiles. A este momento, tengo dificultades en mi vida y en mi corazon (ya te lo sabes si has leyido mis entradas de ‘Keeping it Light‘). Cuando aquellos problemas aparacen en la vida… La cuerda siempre te esperará.  Tuvé una dia buenisimo en el cañon. Me gustaría decir que pasaba el dia solamente pensando de la escalada… pero este no es la verdad.

Paso a paso.

Nosotros escalamos una ruta se llama “Ruper”, con un grado de 5b+ (5.8+). Es una clasica grande, alguna de las rutas mas populares en Eldo. Tiene seis largas (pitches) en dos secciones distintias — mitad abajo, y mitad arriba, con una rampa grande en pendiente hacia abajo en el medio.

La ruta sube el “Redgarden Wall” (pared jardin roja) a la cima. Redgarden es enorme — contiene miles de rutas, la gran mayoridad de tres o mas largas. Es un lugar espectacular para subir, con posiciones increyible y colores vivantes de rojos, verdes, y amarillos.

El clima de Colorado es muy agradable, con mucho soledad en todas las temporadas. Dicen que recibamos 300 dias del sol cada año — y yo lo creo. A la causa de eso, es possible escalar roca afuera en el invierno, incluso al disnivel alto en las montañas. Tuvimos 15 grados y un cielo mayoramente nublado. Usabamos chaquetas de plumas para estar calento en las largas arribas, pero estaba mas o menos, totalmente comodo.

Que buen forma de pasar un dia de invierno, no?

Colorado: Un paraíso. (No le digas a nadie, okay?)

Fotos de la escalada abajo.

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Home is Where Your Climbing Partners Are

Took a winter romp up the route Ruper (5.8+ YDS, 5b+ French) this weekend. Ruper’s one of the classic climbs in Eldorado Canyon State Park (Eldo). Ruper’s six pitches of beautiful, vertical Colorado rock climbing — just twenty minutes from downtown Boulder.

We had 58 degrees (14.5 C), with cloud cover and moderate wind — in the middle of December!! Winter in Colorado is awesome. We climbed in base layers for the first few pitches, but threw our puffies on for the climbing higher-up.

Not many words here — mostly pictures.

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An Almost-Disastrous Climbing Trip to Indian Creek

Indian Creek Creative Writing Essays

“There’s no cell service at the Creek.”

Jake’s garbled voice came through Meg’s car speakers. We were testing the ranges of civilization, on I-70 out of Colorado. Red, scrubby desert stretched for miles all around us.

“The only way to communicate at the Creek is by posting a note on the message boards,” the voice on the phone said. “We’ll meet you there tomorrow. Good luck.”

As we cruised through Moab, headed South, I sent the last messages I would send for three days. They bounced up from the Utah desert, hit a satellite, and then redirected across the Atlantic Ocean, to Italy.

We’ll be out of touch for a few days, I said. Let’s use this time to think about things.

Please be careful and come back in one piece? The response came. Otherwise all this pondering will be pointless.

Sure, I said, and the car continued on.

Within seconds: no signal.

Tomorrow would be the first day in four months, or maybe more, that this woman I and would not talk.

We drove on, and for there first time in months, I put my phone aside, my mind at ease.

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Catching Up on Colorado

Colorado flag graphic high res

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably realized I’ve been home for a bit. Home for me is Colorado, USA. Colorado’s one of the hottest states in the U.S. at the moment; one of the top places young people want to move. The migration is major, bringing both skilled and unskilled workers in large numbers to my home.

I can’t blame them; as I tell my friends and family when they ask about my travels, I’ve now seen a lot of places around the world. And the more places I see, the more convinced I am that Colorado is one of the better ones.

Here’s why I believe that:

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