Someone in Pinch Fest 5.12b

This has been the best outdoor climbing experience I’ve ever had until now. Attractive red/gray steep and vertical walls next to each other along the road. A beautiful flowing river, tons of hummingbirds, marmots and ground squirrels made the experience complete.  I was in Rifle, a sportsclimbing area for lazy climbers that want to try hard!
Since I’m in Colorado I forgot a little bit about the fun of route climbing. I liked Shelf Road, but didn’t climb routes in the gym. I’ve never bouldered so much in my life, but Rifle changed this and I’m totally addicted to climbing again.

Wednesday we started the four hour trip to Rifle Mountain park. Familiar area until Vail. After that we saw new landscapes. We drove through amazing impressive gray checkered walls near Glenwood Springs. Coming closer to Rifle we crossed a large farmers area. We cruised this wonderful green area with our windows wide open, music on loud and the fresh breeze into our car. Then we saw the Rifle canyon for the first time. Craving to climb the next day!

Pascal woke up 7am for a short conference call. He needed to drive out of the canyon for signal and I slept a little bit longer. After I woke up several times, wondering what Pascal took so long, I started to get nervous. At 9.45am I decided to walk into his direction, thinking he might have had an accident. Maybe drove into the river/lake, still sleepy in the morning. I walked faster and faster while I saw people climbing the great walls. After a while I stopped a car and hitch-hiked further. No sign of Pascal. The local brought me all the way to the police station in Rifle. At that point I was scared for what had happened to Pascal and could’t hold my tears when I had to tell how long Pascal was gone: 4 hours. When talking with the police officer, explaining that my own phone and identification were in the car that Pascal was driving, I remembered that Pascals number is announced on his Facebook profile. The officer had a better idea, tracing my phone with the iPhone locater app. It turned out that my iPhone was located at the parking lot of the hospital! Shocked I mumbled that I was right the whole time! Oh my gosh, Pascal was in the hospital. We stepped into the car, while driving the officer called the hospital to inform if Pascal was checked in. When I came to reflect I rationalized that the car wouldn’t be standing on the hospitals parking if he couldn’t drive it. So he wouldn’t be in coma or whatever I had thought. Coming closer I watched carefully if I saw the car. There it was! On the parking lot of the Starbucks! ‘Is that the car and is it Pascal sitting in it?’ asked the officer. Ashamed and happy at the same time I validate his question. This nightmare turned into a funny joke. It turned out that Pascal was pulled into an escalation on his work and couldn’t find a solution to inform me. Frustrating as it was, the problems at his work were not solved before 4.30pm! We sat the whole day in the car at the Starbucks parking… no climbing on Thursday.

Friday we were all set to climb. After we enjoyed our coffee at the camping spot we went to the Ruckman Cave. When I approached the bridge that leads to the wall, I screamed because I saw a dead calf lying in the grass. Then I noticed she wasn’t dead, because she moved when she got scared of my noise. It was extremely piteous to see her weak, trying to find shelter under the bridge, while she barely could stand on her feet. We had to do something so we drove up the hill to get some signal. At the top we encountered a ranch where the residents made the call for us. Relieved we drove back, waiting by the calf for the animal rescuers to come. After an hour, watching the calf weakening, we decided to do one route. While climbing we suddenly saw crows picking at the calf! We jumped out of the route and kept watching her. With two other climbers we tried to help her, by giving some water, keeping her wet and in the shade, while waiting for help. What the * took them so long! This was terrible. We went down to search for a park ranger, found one and informed him. He came up, watched her and assured us that he would report this case to the owner. Later the Rifle parking man came along and saw the calf suffering. He promised to make some calls and come back. Finally at 2.30pm a cowboy came by with a big trailer that carried his horse. He didn’t doubt, grabbed the calf and put her into his trailer. I was so extremely happy with him, doing something about the suffering. After that we could put our mind finally to some climbing. We did a few routes and enjoyed the great features of this awesome Rifle rock.

Rescue of the calf

Saturday, Sunday and Monday we really had some time for climbing!! I haven’t completed super hard routes, but I think that Rifle fits my style perfectly. Especially because falling is great and therefore I dare to try at my max Another helpful thing is that quickdraws are hanging in most of the hard routes so you don’t have to worry about retrieving them. That makes redpointing accessible.
I tried Beer Run 5.13a the first day. The first part of this route has an awesome sequence to a big pincher where you have to match and push yourself off to the left. I was surprised that such beautiful moves exist in outdoor rock climbing! Somewhere at the top I was struggling with a mantle move. I don’t know what to do there, so I think I have to ask for some beta. Nobody I spoke with this weekend however tried this route… Next time!!!
Yesterday, our last day, I tried two routes that I didn’t finish. Le Specimen 5.12d and Hang ‘Em Higher 5.12c. Two super different routes, and both great. The first one is a bouldery steep route, starting with some reachy moves to big holds resulting in a crux move on two pinchers. After some puzzling I found the solution to grab both pinchers, but was too tired from trying to go further. Another project on the list. The other route is like my favorite indoor climbing wall in Mountain Network Nieuwegein (rope #4). A long, thirty degrees overhanging wall with a lot of cross moves, turn ins and little rest. I climbed in my first try to the crux, fell, climbed further and got pumped. Decided to try the rest another time (because the sun was hitting the wall). That is another great thing about Rifle by the way, you always have one side of the canyon in the shade so you can climb all day long!
Next to the projecting I climbed several 5.11b’s onsight (which is not easy according to a local, because Rifle grading is about red pointing because the sequences are not easy to see at once and you need often some beta). I also climbed Pinch Fest 5.12b, a short route with (of course) two pinchers. These pinchers are unbelievable cool!! After the pinchers you get to the crimpy crux.

Well, what can I say…. I fell in love with the three-dimensional lazy hard climbing in Rifle… Super motivated to train some endurance in the gym and go back soon!
Oh and the best Pizza place is in New Castle, Hogback Pizza!

The Wasteland 

Dave in Community Service 5.11c

View from our camping spot

On our way to Hogback Pizza

Hogback Pizza in New Castle

5 gedachtes over “I Love RIFLE!

  1. Hee Mirthe,

    ik heb net je blog gevonden. Wat leuk om te lezen hoe het gaat (en dat het zo goed gaat)! Het klinkt alsof je geweldige dingen aan het doen bent. Bevalt het, wonen in de VS?

    Ik had een vraagje: hoe ben jij aan een betaalbare kamer/appartement in de omgeving van Bleau gekomen? Wij zouden graag eens wat langer naar Bleau gaan (1-3 maanden), en dan is een appartementje wel fijn. Wat er bij de gewone makelaars te huur is, is echter behoorlijk aan de prijs.

    Groetjes, ook aan Pascal,

    Anna (van de Klimmuur Haarlem, nu met een kind (en man))


  2. hey Anna!

    Gefeliciteerd met je gezinnetje! Goed te horen.
    Leuk ook dat jullie voor wat langere tijd naar Bleau willen.
    Ik heb in die tijd op een klein kamertje bij een hospita gezeten.
    Deze had ik gevonden via het aanbod voor de universiteit die in Fontainebleau zit.
    Daar zou je eens kunnen zoeken naar iets. Ze hebben ook studentenhuizen en appartementen geloof ik.



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