Boulder, Colorado

Graduate school can beat you down over time. Amber Worthington and I sort of took a break (we worked some) and moved to Boulder for June. It was great! It is an outdoor sports paradise, and the city itself is cool as well. Hire me UC Boulder!

Amber sprained her foot around the second day doing some yoga but we managed to do some cool stuff nonetheless. This is a sort of travel log of some of the cooler things we did.

Bear Peak

From the NCAR trailhead we took the Mesa Trail to the Bear Canyon Trail, and then the Bear Peak West Ridge Trail, which leads to the summit. On the way down we took the shorter, but much steeper Fern Canyon Trail. This was mainly because we were running low on water (my fault, somehow I thought 2 quarts would be enough). The total trip length was a little over 8 miles, with around 3,000 feet of elevation gained. Bear Peak is around 8,500 feet above sea level. The view is pretty awesome and the hike is definitely worth it. Do bring enough water. Dehydration sucks.

Anemone Trail

This is one of Boulder's oft overlooked hikes according to this source.

It was relatively easy, had great views of the Flatirons on the way up, Boulder from the top, and was near a cool rock formation (sandstone?) which had some fun scrambling.

Boulder Canyon

Awesome sport climbing. We went to Animal World and Vampire Rock (though we intended to go to Avalon; we were navigating sans guidebook). At Animal World there is a cool 100' 5.8 called Animation. Amber top roped this one (despite having a sprained foot and it being her first time outside).

The approaches to the crags we went to were short (though some cross Boulder Creek via a tyrolean traverse), and the rock quality was fantastic. There are seemingly lots of mixed trad/sport routes where there are big runout sections of easy climbing where it is probably best to get some sort of protection. It is good mental training though!

Mill's Lake

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park one day to check out Mill's Lake. It was an easy hike and quite nice after you leave the crowds at Alberta Falls. It was pretty cold and quite windy (it was around 80 in Boulder that day).

Mount Bierstadt

We ascended Mount Bierstadt via the standard route up its west slopes. It was a class 2 hike and there wasn't much exposure (a bit near the summit) but it was pretty difficult nonetheless. Despite being a flatlander (Atlanta is around 1,000 feet above sea level) I avoided any sort of altitude sickness. It took us around 3 hours from the trailhead, which is 11,669 feet, to the summit at 14,060 feet. The view was worth it. The psuedo alpine start (5am departure) was not great though (avoiding afternoon thunderstorms).

There are lots of more technical and exposed routes up 14ers which would be great fun. The record for shortest time to do all 53 14ers in Colorado is totally insane: around 10 days.

Boulder Rock Club

The BRC is one of the better climbing gyms I've been to. It has two decent sized bouldering areas and a good mix of sport routes of mixed grade. The bouldering areas are not graded on the typical Hueco "V" scale but are instead novice, intermediate, advanced, or elite, with a plus or minus affixed. I think that is a good thing since it makes it more difficult to focus on indoor grades, which, at least in my limited experience, bears little resemblance to outdoor grades (at least with bouldering). There are several other gyms in Boulder, notably The Spot, where an employee (Jason!) was nice enough to lend us two of his personal bouldering pads the day we went to Flagstaff Mountain, but the BRC is probably the best for a mix of bouldering and sport climbing.

Yoga

We went to the Hanuman Festival which was pretty cool, though the "meditation" session I went to was pretty brutal (for me anyhow). We also did some bikram yoga which was also pretty difficult, not to mention that you lose a couple pounds of water weight each time you do it. Yoga is no doubt good for climbing though. I've had a tendancy to rely too much on my arms since my legs are not so stretchy.

Other Stuff

We also saw Xavier Rudd which was a cool sort of reggae. Also, finding a place to stay via airbnb is both easy and cheap. If you are vegetarian or vegan check out Watercourse in Denver! It was amazing and relatively cheap.