Rifle! Rifle! I love Rifle! Yeah!
These were the thoughts of a simple mind at this point… I was tired and worked beyond all reason…. but hey it was going to be an incredibly fun day getting 16 pitches of limestone in before noon. At least that was the goal… the sooner the pitches were completed the sooner Rob and I could head over to Front Range of Colorado and rest for the impending doom of Clear Creek and eventually Shelf Road.
Pulling into Rifle Mountain Park my immediate excitement went away quickly… there was snow… lots of it… and ice… and this being a nice narrow canyon it was refrigerator conditions– again. Honestly… at this point I started to feel like that stupid scene in the Lord of the Rings when Gollum (me) is being led around by Frodo (Rob) with the rope, “It burns us! It freezes us!!” Suffering like the best of them… again. Humph!
After my mini-mental tantrum I decided the quicker I yanked this band-aid off the better I would feel. So we started with a classic 5.10 pitch to warm up, a 5.11, and then proceeded to hit up the 5.12s. I would like to say that the day flew by… and that the pitches seemed easy… but that would be a lie… by about pitch 12 I was dragging. Not the normal, “Wow I’m tired!” (I had lost that feeling somewhere in day 3 or 4) but the kind of tired where you just kind of wonder where the feeling of being tired is? What happened during the last 4 pitches of the Rifle day was interesting… I switched from being aware of what was happening around me to just moving mechanically. I synced completely and just let me body figure out what it was going to do. I wasn’t consciously trying to pull. I just existed on the rock.
After the last pitch was completed we packed the car and began the drive over to the front range… we ate pasta that night talked with some old and new friends and crashed at Rob’s old Italian friends place… Thanks Top Jimmy!
As I lay down that night I began to have slight panic attacks of what tomorrow was going to bring… 32 pitches…
Oh dear god… please let me make it through the day…
Day break- not a sound in the house… other than the shuffle of my foot in the sleeping bag… it had been a restless night…as the silence crept and I began to stir to break it our alarms went off. As we dragged ourselves out of bed and towards the car I had a strange sensation of not caring at all… no more dread just acceptance. Today was going to be awesome and suck in one glorious battle to survive. Though we did stop to get breakfast bagel… so I was psyched on that!
To be honest I would like to give you a detailed account of what we did on this day but to put in perspective I can’t. I just remember doing a stupid amount of pitches and taking note of how my body had started to mechanize itself even more. I managed to on-sight a few 5.12s and climbed some of the raddest pitches in Clear Creek; but by this point my conversational and joking energy was being re-routed to survival. We climbed from 7:30 till 3:30 or so and managed to finish all 32 pitches quickly and efficiently. We hit up the Anarchy Wall, Dog Wall, and finished on the East Wall (I think the one that is next to the tunnel). I feel bad about not remembering a whole lot about this day; but it was just to that point in which I couldn’t create memories other than… keep moving :).
As we packed the bags into the car to head down to Colorado Springs there was a sense of happy accomplishment and dread…
if I was this way after 32 what the hell was 64 going to be like!