Desert Weekend + Ancient Art

1015-indiancreek-0004 My girlfriend had never been to the desert near Moab, a mecca of crack climbing. So, along with Vincent, we make the 7 hour drive on a Friday night to get to Indian Creek. We drive in under a clear night sky filled with an almost full moon and a multitude of crisp, bright stars, arriving just before 1am. We find our campsite, and get some sleep. I’m excited to get up early to get as much climbing as we can in.

I wake up to see the alpenglow on the Bridger Jacks and the Six Shooters. Sometimes, it’s hard to get out of my tent early enough to catch these things, but when I do I’m always glad that I did.


We go to check out Pistol Whipped, an area I’d never been to, down Beef Basin Road. A pretty quick approach gets us to the base of the climbs with only a few other climbers at the crag. We “warm up” on the 5.10 Cowgirls Like ’em Big. One hell of a warm up! I forgot that #5’s are perfect butterflies and teacups, and I wished that I’d had two #6’s for the top.


Melissa channeling her inner Pippy Longstocking

We then climbed Wounded Knee (5.10+) and Coyne Crack Simulator (5.11-). I forgot to use the left crack and fell in the .75 size crux of Wounded Knee. After you find #1’s and #2’s, you find yourself in a super weird wide pod that’s best protected with a #5 (which I didn’t have). I don’t know that there is a smooth way to do that section, but I definitely understand why it’s named Wounded Knee.


Vincent sending Wounded Knee the hard way, without the left crack. 

Coyne Crack Simulator starts with a .5 and .75 lieback to progressively bigger, perfect hands, with a short finish. I was excited to on-sight this one, and it was the only thing I sent all day.


Vincent making the lieback look easy


The fall colors were on point that weekend. The desert is always beautiful, but this is extra special

Vincent really wanted to climb a tower while we were out there. I was resistant, I wanted more crack cragging, but time-wise it made sense. We drove in the morning into Moab, got breakfast and slowly made our way to Fisher Towers. After a 4×4 detour down Onion Creek, we made it to the parking lot, left the crowds behind, and found ourselves at the base of Ancient Art (5.10)

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View of Ancient Art, the corkscrew tower on the right. 



There was only one party ahead of us, which I think is rare. Another party arrived a few minutes after we did. Since Vincent had led all the pitches on another trip, I led pitch 1-3. Pitch one starts with an easy scramble to a 4 bolt bolt-ladder that goes free at 5.10 (hard). It’s incredibly balancy and tenious and requires good footwork.


Melissa climbing the crux of pitch 1


Melissa belaying Vincent up with the Titan in the background

Pitch two was an incredibly fun section with several roofs and decent gear up to a chimney. I probably could have protected the chimney, but by the time I realized I was pretty far above my last piece the options were pretty slim. I ran it out till just before the anchor ledge.

Pitch 3 is a super short, stout 5.10 (or 3 bolt bolt-ladder) that you climb pinching tiny pebbles. The exposure starts to get to you here.1016-indiancreek-04121016-indiancreek-0432

Melissa and Vincent preparing to climb the money pitch! 

I made Vincent lead the money pitch again because I wanted a photo of him on it. Definitely worth it.

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Vincent attempting to show how windy it was…it was windy! 


The run across the spine is pretty intimidating, with a several hundred foot drop on either side. You have to jump across one section before coming to the awkward diving board.


A 30+ stitched image panorama of Vincent topping out. This image is HUGE!  

1016-indiancreek-0636Vincent missed my jump, but got the awkward, manditory hump of the diving board. 


Now watch Vincent Whip…right before he Nay Nays.

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Melissa takes in the view on our double rope simul-rap from the top of pitch 2


What she’s looking at

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The whole time we were on the route there was a team climbing the Titan. Was pretty cool watching their progress. When we got down, I realized that in the confusion of trying to get Melissa onto the simul-rap and sharing an anchor with another team, I left all of my cams attached to the anchor. So, we got to wait. It wasn’t all bad, though. We got to watch an incredible sunset.

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Melissa finds a boulder to play on

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The view of Castle Valley at twilight from the Fishers Tower parking lot. 

The desert will always hold a part of my heart. It is such an incredibly beautiful place! I just wish it wasn’t a six or seven hour drive. Can’t wait to go back!

Riding the Monarch Crest Trail


Sunrise on Mt Silverheels

A couple weekends ago I woke up well before sunrise and drove my friend Vincent into the mountains. We were supposed to meet up with some other friends in Crested Butte, but when we got to Buena Vista, the other side of the mountains looked completely socked in. We checked the weather and CB was supposed to have rain and snow all day. BV had a better outlook so we looked for some mountain bike trails nearby. We found the Monarch Crest Trail was the highest rated ride in the area so we decided to check it out. We met the Valley High Shuttle in Poncha Springs and were delivered to Monarch Pass. The pass was covered in an inch or so of snow, with no breaks in the clouds in sight. We started up the trail, leap frogging with most of the group from the shuttle all the way to Marshall Pass, 8 miles of uphill. Once the downhill starts the group fans out and we’re mostly on our own. The snow definitely added a bit to the riding, making me stay on my disk brakes a little too much.

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But, it was beyond beautiful.

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Once we dropped into the trees, the snow went away and the leaves littered the trail.




The trail continues for 30 miles, joining the Colorado Trail for portions of it. You climb for close to 2,000 feet for 8 miles from the pass, then get to descend 6,000 feet over the next 22 miles. The trail varies quite a bit, from flowing single track to incredible rock gardens. There are several cut offs if you need to bail, they take you down forest service roads back to the highway. We stuck it out and took the last bit of trail, Rainbow Trail, my favorite part. Most of the people turned off before this section, but it’s not to be missed. After you descend the steep last 1/2 mile down to the road you get to cruise 5 miles down US285, which brings you right back to your car.



Beautiful spot on the Arkansas River next to our campsite north of Buena Vista

I just started mountain biking last summer. It’s been fun learning a new sport, but it also a steep learning curve. The Monarch Crest Trail is definitely my favorite trail that I’ve done. Can’t wait to explore more of the trails around the central Colorado mountains.

A Boulder for Travelers

I often get stuck in a mental state with my photography where I rarely capture the place that I live. It’s been a bit different with Boulder, because beauty is all around me, but I still haven’t looked at Boulder like a tourist might. I recently received a prompt to shoot Boulder for a higher end travel magazine. It was interesting trying to see it in a different light. Where are your favorite places in Boulder?


Boulder Public Library

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St Julien Hotel


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0921-boulder-0025 0922-boulder-0106The Flatirons on a moody morning.

The Road to Wild Iris

Over Labor Day weekend, I went with a group of friends to climb limestone pockets in Wild Iris, Wyoming. It was great fun…and I didn’t take any photos of climbing. But I did shoot the Landscapes leading to and surrounding the climbing area. Needless to say, it was beautiful!

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The sunset outside of Frederick, CO was pretty awesome


I took this with a $30 lens. I’m continually impressed by the Fotasy 35mm f1.7. (If you have a sony, you should probably buy it)

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These two were also shot with the Fotasy 35mm F1.7. This was our campsite in Wild Iris, with the Wind River Range in the background.

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Danielle not modeling, just doing Danielle things.

Danielle and Tyler had the better tent spot for photos. My tent had a more treed backdrop.

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That night had one of the brightest Milky Ways I’ve ever seen. And there were some meteors that night too. Much better show than during the “climax” of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

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I found another solo tree that I love.


Can you guess what this canyon is called? It’s Red Canyon. Because it’s red.


Product Shoot with Beal Rope

A couple weeks ago I bought a new 70m climbing rope, a Beal Stinger 9.4mm Unicore, and I decided to do a product shoot with it…because. I had an idea of what I wanted to create, and it came out pretty solidly like I was imagining, with the help of a friend flipping the rope while I shot.

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I’ve been using the rope now for a bit and I’m loving it. I was nervous getting such a narrow gauge rope, but my anxiousness has passed. It’s definitely not a beginner’s rope; it takes more care when you’re belaying and rappelling. But what it offers is a rope that offers little drag when climbing trad routes that dance all over a face, smooth belaying and rappelling, a strong middle marker, and 70m length to get you back to the ground in fewer rappels, all in a lightweight, robust package. I’m a fan.

Last Stop: New York City

My final stop on my month long trip to Southeast Asia was to see friends in New York City. Somehow, even after living in Boulder for 4 years, I feel like I almost have more friends in NYC than anywhere else. It’s always great to visit (though, for the first time, it really made me quite sure I never wanted to live there).


My good friend and photographer, Luis Carducci

I stayed with my best friend from college, Melissa, and her husband Jeremiah, who also studied photography at my university, Indiana Wesleyan University. He’s a fashion photographer in the city and it’s always inspiring to see his work (check it out. Jeremiah Wilson). It’s also entertaining to watch him skateboard in style.

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Jeremiah just bought a new Hasselblad 50C 50mp back that attaches to his antique Hasselblad body. So we went on a photo walk around Astoria.

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After a month of travel, I was excited to be back in Boulder. I love that live in a place I’m excited to return to. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia – The Temples from Tomb Raider

I’m pretty sure I’d heard the name Angkor Wat before I went to Asia, but I don’t think I realized what it is.

I rarely pay to go in attractions when I travel; I generally would rather be where the tourists are not. But everyone that I met in Siem Reap encouraged me to pay the $20 to enter Angkor Wat, so I did. I rode a Giant hardtail mountain bike to the ticket office right at 5pm, when they sell tickets for the next day. There was a huge line and tour buses lining the parking lot. Once you bought your ticket you could rush the 4km from the ticket office to the Angkor Wat temple to catch sunset on the temple. There was a mass of humans here, trying their best to all take award winning photos with their smartphones. The sun had mostly gone down by the time I found a spot on the lake in front of the temple. I quickly took some quintessential tourist shots and moved on, making my way into the temple.


Pretty much as soon as I got in the temple, guards started ushering tourists back towards the road. The temple closes at sundown. I somehow slid past the guards and went to the backside of the temple grounds.

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I found a monk standing perfectly still on the far side of the temple. This was a long exposure, several seconds, and he doesn’t appear to move. I tried a second shot…


and apparently kicked my tripod. Happy little accidents.

The next morning I woke up before sunrise to peddle as fast as I could the 8 kms to the complex. I think it took me around 20-25 minutes of basically sprinting on the bike. I was psyched I paid the $1 extra for the Giant mountain bike instead of the city bikes. I was blazing past other tourists on bikes like they weren’t even moving.

I raced past the Angkor Wat complex, since I already had photos of it, in order to find something of interest before the sun came up. I think I found just what I was looking for.

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The temple had faces carved into so many of the surfaces

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I had successfully avoided the hoards of tourists, and basically had this temple to myself for the sunrise. I continued on, searching for whatever treasures I could find.
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After only a short time, I got bored looking at temples. I started seeking out humans to photograph. I stopped at many of the vendors and asked to take their pictures.

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One of my favorite photos from the trip.

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The trees in the complex were some of my favorite things.

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Finally, after a lot of searching, I found Ta Prohm, the temple used in Angelina Jolie’s “Tomb Raider”. It was one of the more interesting temples because of the interaction between nature and man-made. But sadly, I got there at the same time as the hoard of tourists, so I didn’t get too many good photos of it.

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Partway through I realized I was almost late getting back to my hostel to check out before they charged me for another day. I ran back to my bike and peddled as hard as I could. I didn’t realize how far I’d gone during the morning. I rode roughly 20 miles in total, a lot when you weren’t planning on riding much at all. I reached my hostel right at 1pm, the deadline. The ride had been pretty horrendous in the hot sun. I took a road back that wasn’t the most direct way, and there were zero trees for shade. I was psyched there was a pool.

I loved my time in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I definitely recommend it as a destination. Next, I was seeking out some beach time.

A day in Vientiane, Laos

I had read on the all-knowing internet that I could not get a Visa on Entry to Cambodia while entering from Laos. The nearest Cambodian Embassy to Chiang Mai was in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. I took an overnight bus and arrived in Vientiane around 7am. I went straight to the Cambodian Embassy and dropped off my passport. I then walked several kilometers to the bus station and paid to have my 60+ lb bags stored. I walked all around the downtown, finally renting a bike and exploring more of the city.




The remnants of a festival on the river. The buildings you can see in the background are in Thailand.







As I was leaving the riverbed, a horde of soldiers came walking intimidatingly at me, and then past me. The last soldier smiled and said, “Saa baa dii.” Hello. I had thought I was in trouble. But the soldiers continued out into the riverbed in search of something that I could not determine.






I rode my bike back to the Cambodian Embassy, but arrived about 30 minutes early. I went to a streetside cafe across the street and ordered a cold juice. I then promptly fell asleep, resting my head on my arms. I woke up with a jolt, saw it was time for the embassy to reopen, reached for my wallet to pay and….nothing. I frantically looked all around, under the chair, the table, my bag, the bike. No one spoke English, but the bystanders didn’t seem to know anything.

I know better. I’ve had my wallet stolen before in India. I know you don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket – your money and credit cards in one place. But I did it anyway. I was comfortable. I never felt threatened or in danger. I didn’t think someone would take my wallet while I slept. It didn’t have my passport or my driver’s license in it, luckily, only one debit card, two credit cards, and about $70 of cash. But this set me up for some difficult times on my trip.

I got my passport back (with Cambodian Visa), I went to the travel agent I bought the bus ticket from and they gave me their receipt so I could still get on the bus, I got my bags and took the bus to Thakhek, trying to figure out how I was going to get to Green Climbers Home from the bus stop.

Yay adventure.

Bangkok, Thailand

I landed in Bangkok at 2am, for a total of 25hrs in transit from New York City. I landed having no real plan besides eventually making it to Laos to climb with a few of my friends that were already there. I didn’t know how I was getting there. When my mom heard that I was planning on going straight to Laos she insisted that I explore Thailand.

In my short stop in the Shanghai airport, I had met a woman traveling by herself  (to meet friends then head off to the islands). She wanted to share a taxi and felt safer going in one with me than venturing out into Bangkok alone at 3am. We decided to drop our bags off at the hotel where her friends were staying then immediately go explore the city. My goal was to stay awake until evening so I could avoid jetlag.

We ate some delicious street food and drinks, then headed out into the pre-dawn maze.

We found a lot of temples.




















It was incredibly hot in Bangkok, and coming from the low humidity of Colorado, I felt like I was drowning. I had to get out of the city as soon as possible.

Besides the heat, I liked Bangkok. The city seemed to work well. I even went to the dentist!

Drytooling Halloween in Vail

On Halloween this year I was invited to go climb some mixed and drytooling routes in Vail. But I had to wear a costume.

Dave Roetzel warms up

Katie Bono fly’s out the roof in a cookie monster costume.

Waldo was found climbing The Lighning. Chris Snobeck

Fist Bump!

Katie took one of the biggest whippers I’ve seen. Huge swing, but she was pscyhed to have come off the wall with both of her tools. 

It was a super fun day and the first annual Vail Veiled. Can’t wait till next year!

Check out more of the photos on Facebook

Quick Trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park

Things have been incredibly busy lately, which is great! I’m enjoying this year immensely with a good mix of work and play. Big things are coming!

After wrapping a big shoot on Thursday, I took off Friday to the Great Sand Dunes National Park – one of my favorite places in Colorado. I already can’t wait to go back. 
Hopefully I will have time to post more of the photos here soon. I have a huge backlog of posts to do since February.  Thanks for your patience. 

Ouray Ice Climbing New Years!

New Years in Ouray this year was fantastic. Great climbing with awesome people. 
The Avalanche break on US 550 near Red Mountain Pass and peaks near Telluride – from my Instagram

Ouray is known for the Ice Climbing Park, a very narrow canyon with farmed ice with every varying degree of difficulty on ice and mixed climbing you could ask for. I started climbing ice here three years ago at the Ouray Ice Fest, but until this last trip I had never climbed the outstanding ice routes in the “backcountry” around Ouray. I tried to make up for that on this trip.

The view of Eureka from Whorehouse

There were six of us that went to climb Whorehouse in Eureka, outside of Silverton. Six is too many. I decided to let the other three get an hour headstart. Vincent, Karim and I hung out in the sun until we thought the first group would be most of the way up the first pitch of the climb. We arrive and the leader is only a few feet off the ground.  They took the left line, a WI4 to a short steep section. I checked out the right side: thin plate of hollow candy ice over cauliflower to overhanging and/or steep WI5 climbing. Sure, who needs a warm up?

We brought along Karim Iliya, a photographer from Hawaii who had never swung an ice tool before. But he’s pretty amazing at taking underwater and star photographs. Check out his work at I didn’t take any photos of the first pitch, I started climbing right away. Karim was running around like a kid in a candy store taking photos of anything and everything.

This was one of the more nerveracking climbs I’ve done. The ice was very vocal, the whole pillar groaning and growling as I climbed. Huge booms reverberated through the frozen waterfall that I only later figured out was avalanche blasting at the Silverton Ski Resort, and not the waterfall threatening to come down with me on it. I climbed fast and placed few screws. The less screws I place the faster I can get to the top. Vincent noticed a long fracture through the top 1/3 of the climb that either happened after I climbed it or I was climbing too quickly and concentrating too hard to notice.

Kristin topping out after being berated with ice 

Vincent comes down from Pitch 2

The second pitch was an easy cruise up a snow covered WI3 that lead to a fun and featured 50m WI4. The top was slightly scary. I broke through the candy shell ice, exposing that it wasn’t actually connected to the wall. In fact, it was roughly five feet away from the wall and I could stick my head through the hole and see almost all the way to the bottom of the falls.

Day 2
Vincent and I decided to climb the 7 pitch WI5/M6 classic Bird Brain Boulevard as our second of the trip. Looking at the extremely narrow chute from the parking lot is pretty intimidating. We crossed the snowfield, following faint footprints in the snow, but eventually they disappeared in avalanche debris from The Ribbon. We found ourselves wallowing through waist deep powder, debating whether we could make it to the base of the climb. Swapping leads back and forth we finally make it to base of the gully leading to the chute.

Vincent soloing up the gully, dry tooling on loose snow covered rocks 

We soloed the WI3 first pitch which is more correctly a snow climb, with only a very little bit of ice below the giant chalkstone that lumbers over the belay for pitch 2.

The bus sized chalkstone above the 2nd pitch belay

The chalkstone hovers over a soloing Vincent. 

I took the lead on the second M5 pitch, which was almost completely void of ice, using a mixture of chimneying and drytooling to ascend, finding a few sketchy trad placements. I had never really climbed anything like this and sufficiently scared myself. I was happy to hammer in a piton for an anchor to belay Vincent up.

Vincent took this of shot of the 2nd pitch before he climbed

Vincent started climbing ice in November and has advanced extremely quickly. So why not lead your first pitch on a Colorado classic WI4/M5 pitch with sketchy gear? 
Vincent lassos the hollow pillar before attacking the M5 roof sections. 

I linked the 4th and 5th pitches together, a mixture of steep WI5 ice and weird dry tooling. After hammering in another pecker (piton) for an anchor to belay Vincent I realized it was about 30 minutes till dark and we should think about bailing before the last two pitches. I saw some trees climber’s left of the gully we were in that Vincent might be able to climb over to while I had him on belay. He ended up doing a sketchy 30-40 ft traverse with a wild swing potential, only finding gear a few feet above the rapping anchor. I had to downclimb 25 or so feet of WI4 to get to the traverse, climbing in full dark. It took 5 rappels and almost 3 hours to get back on the ground.

I would definitely like to finish Bird Brain Boulevard, but what we did was definitely one of the more adventurous climbs I’ve done.

Days 3-4
We decided to ski because of some incoming snow. See my previous post, Skiing in the San Juans

Day 5
Vincent and I had to convince two other guys in the cabin we were staying in that we had called Gravity’s Rainbow (WI5) first (AKA the night before).  You can see the climb from US 550, and apparently it doesn’t always come in. The approach is short, but you better get there early to beat the sun.

Vincent leading the first pitch of Gravity’s Rainbow

The 4- first pitch climbed really well, and Vincent took his 2nd ice lead. He couldn’t find the belay anchors and ending up building a screw anchor in less than ideal ice. The 2nd pitch was a quick run up WI 4 to bolted anchors.

Topping out the 2nd pitch. If we’d had a 70m rope we could have done this in one pitch pretty easily. 

The start of the last pitch was very thin and super wet so I opted to do a sketchy traverse out to a short WI5 curtain, not placing any gear so rope drag was not atrocious, and traversing back on M3 rock. The main section was a 40 or 50 ft WI5 climb that was still quite wet, but good ice.

Panorama view from the final Anchor south towards Red Mountain Pass & Silverton

Just before I was about to rappel I fumble my Sony A6000 camera. “No! No no no no no!” It landed in the snow below the anchor and started sliding, agonizingly slow, towards the edge of the falls. I was attached to the anchor and could do nothing but hope that it miraculously stopped. I saw the small black package disappear. I just imagined it bouncing off the ice, smashing into bits on the rock below the 3rd pitch, and landing, unretrievable, in the powder snow 400+ feet below. I freaked out less than I thought I would.

We rappelled down the climb, passing a team climbing up behind us. I asked the leader if he saw anything flying down past him besides ice. He had been too concentrated on climbing to notice. I reach the bottom where the belayer is about to start simoclimbing, so the leader can reach the 2nd belay in one pitch.

“Did you see a small black package come flying down the route?”

“I did! it buried itself in the snow about 20 feet back.”

I uncovered all the indentations made by falling ice in the area he told me, and after a few minutes of digging came across my poor little A6000. The case had come off, the flash had been popped out (not broken), and it was covered in snow. I anxiously turned it on. The screen worked, the viewfinder worked, the lens, worked. Amazingly I had dropped my camera 400+ feet and it came out relatively unscathed! Immediately the shutter dial would not work, but after the camera had dried off it seemed to work fine.

I took this with my Sony A6000 that had just been recovered from dropping 400+ feet down an ice climb! 

On the Left: Vincent captures me climbing the last pitch of Gravity’s Rainbow. On the right, overview shot from my phone on the walk out. 

Some Instagram photos from the trip. the Ophir Post Office. The view from our first cabin (we might have gotten kicked out of for having too many people) and New Years Eve fireworks in Ouray

Vincent took the lead on the first pitch of Ames Ice Hose

Day 6 I skied again at Red Mountain Pass

Day 7: Ames Ice Hose
Driving south from Telluride about 10 miles you see a long ice climb on the right side of the road. This is Ames Ice Hose, a definite Colorado classic. And our Epic.

We got to the base of the climb just as two teams were coming up the gully below us. A popular route! Vincent leads the first 120ft WI4+ pitch to a set of bolted anchors. The 2nd pitch went up a steep and narrow WI5 gully. I ended up chimneying a bit off the rock.

Vincent coming up the narrow gully of the 2nd pitch

Looking up at the 3rd pitch, it looked like quite nice WI4+ climbing. It was a lot longer than it looked; 200ft of steep, unrelenting fresh Water Ice. I was surprised how pumped I got on this one, I typically and quite good at controlling my forearm pump. Overall the route climbed great! I was psyched to get another Colorado classic!

I was the rope gun, Vincent carried our second rope over 500ft. 

From the top of the Ames Ice hose looking down over 500ft. 

Where’s the epic? Wait for it.

On our first rappel we made it to a set of anchors between the 1st and 2nd pitch (allows you to climb the route in 2 pitches with a 70m rope). I had to downclimb a bit from the ends of my 60m ropes after stretching to attach my personal anchor system to the bolts. Vincent joined me at the rappel station and we pulled the rope – or tried to. It would not budge. We looked at the photos I took of Vincent at the belay to see if we were pulling the correct end of the rope. Indeed, “pull purple”. We both try pulling. We attached prusik knots and used the entirety of both our bodyweights to pull. A team that went to the 2nd pitch belay station above us tried pulling from a different angle. This rope was fully stuck.

Vincent at our cursed rappel station. We were hanging here for almost 2 hours. 

Team 3 starts up Pitch 2 (We’re still hopeful they’ll retrieve our ropes. 

The team above us decided to bail before the 3rd pitch. They rapped past us and said we could use their ropes to descend if we wanted to. They also asked party #3 if they would retrieve our stuck ropes. Team 3 said they’d pull our stuck ropes. We descended and waited for a while. Team 3 was making slow progress so we decided to go into Telluride and buy them some beers for their efforts. We hiked the hour out, drove 15 minutes to Telluride, found beer, and and drove back two hours after we left the climb. Team 3 was just starting pitch #3. We went back to Telluride for another two hours and came back, hiked the hour back to the climb, and the team was just rappelling off the final pitch.

Team 3 had failed to retrieve our ropes. They rapped on our stuck ropes instead of freeing ours and setting up their own ropes. When they tried to pull our ropes from the 2nd pitch belay, surprise surprise, our ropes were still stuck.

It was now 7pm and completely dark, and we were already supposed to be back in Boulder. We did not want to leave Ouray without our ropes, but we also didn’t want to re-climb the route in the dark. We debated what to do, but decided to walk the hour out, once again empty handed.

Luckily, our guide for skiing near Telluride lived nearby and had told us if we needed a place to crash he had plenty of couches. We needed somewhere to crash.

We had three options for getting our ropes back: 1. Reclimb the route – neither of us were psyched on this option. 2. Hike the ridge line and try to rap down to retrieve our rope – would take 2-3 hours of wading through waist deep powder. 3. Find a party of nice climbers who would be willing to attempt to retrieve our ropes from the route – the preferred method. We woke up before dawn to get to the parking lot to try and meet a party of climbers. Snow was nuking as we left Dave the Guide’s house; we worried that no climbers would be climbing Ames if it were snowing so hard.

We drove to the parking lot to find one truck covered with snow. It looked like it had been there a while and we were unsure whether it was actually a climber. I saw some faint footprints in the snow, so Vincent and I followed them till the disappeared. We ran almost halfway to the climb to see if we could cut the climbers off. All I found were my footprints from descending the night before.

We head into Telluride for a quick breakfast and go back to the face the climb, resigned to the idea of hiking the ridgeline. We were glad we brought snowshoes! We hike back up the trail, expecting a slog, but when we got to the old train tracks we found new footprints! Someone was on Ames Ice Hose! We rushed up to it to see if we could catch the climbers before they were too high to communicate with.

There were two climbing parties! The first team was just leaving the 1st pitch and we were able to ask them if they could pull our ropes. The 2nd team, Glen and Dave, became our companions for the next 5 hours (They ended up bailing off the 1st pitch because the route was showering water on them). Finally, our ropes were dropped! Vincent and I coiled two very frozen ropes and, for the 3rd time in two days, hiked out, ready to be back in Boulder.

–end skipped paragraphs–

Our new friends, Glen and Dave, climb the first pitch of Ames Ice Hose.  The 2nd pitch goes up the narrow column on the right. 

Climbing ice in Ouray is amazing. I both love and hate that it’s so far away (6hrs) and I can’t wait to go back to finish off Bridal Veil, and hopefully a few more hard lines will be in. This ice season has been incredible! 

Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park

I’ve wanted to go to the Colorado Great Sand Dunes National Park since I moved to Boulder 3 years ago (almost), but hadn’t had the opportunity. This past September my aunt, father, and sister were hiking a section of the Continental Divide Trail in Southern Colorado. My mother came from Indiana to watch my sister’s boys while the other adults were out on the trail. Mother insisted on seeing me since I was only six hours away. 

I was happy to finally see this beautiful spectacle. They’re the tallest sand dunes in North America. And they’re awesome. 


Note: All of these images are available for sale on my new Print Shop website,

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The Dunes cover 30 square miles and are stacked up against the Sangre de Cristo mountains. 


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Grains of Sand 


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Steam rises off of a lake in the San Luis Valley

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Panorama of the dunes as seen from the road entering the park. 


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The evening sun casts long shadows across Great Sand Dunes National Park, accentuating the sensual curves of the dunes.


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On the drive home up 285 I was watching a storm come through his valley near Buena Vista and had to stop to capture it. 


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Flying to Reno with My Dad


Last New Years my dad came to Boulder to pick me up in his Vans RV10 that he’d spent the previous 8 years building in our garage. We were going to visit my sister who had just moved to Reno, NV. (My dad picked the call sign, N110SC. I like to think it stands for N110ScottClark, but it could be Steve Clark, Sandy Clark, or Sarah Clark. There’s a lot of SC)

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We flew just north of Longs Peak and the Diamond in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Everything is super close when you fly. Made me want to invest in a helicopter. There were so many untouched bowls on the back side of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Winterpark was 15 minutes away, Steamboat Springs only about 35 minutes.
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Steamboat Springs from above
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This is what the Inversion in Salt Lake looks like when flying through it. 
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Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake
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Lake Tahoe in January with very little snow. We rented snowshoes and did not need them at all. 
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A twisted tree near Reno, NV
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My sister hiking with my nephew, Sebastian
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On the flight back, the mountains with a light covering of snow. 
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Bingham Canyon Mine, a copper mine just outside of Salt Lake City, is a massive scar in the mountainside. It’s over half mile deep and 2.5 miles wide.
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The beautiful Wasatch Range 
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A crazy geological feature in Eastern Utah
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A lenticular cloud above the Indian Peaks in Central Colorado which typically equates to crazy wind patterns.

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We cruised over Rollinsville Pass with a massive tailwind, but surprisingly almost no turbulence. But just like waiting for the bass to drop in a dubstep song, on the other side of the pass the lift disappeared out from under us, and we dropped suddenly with the most violent turbulence I’ve ever felt. It was good to know that the thousands of rivets my dad had placed by hand held together, and we landed safely in Boulder a few moments later.
I always loved growing up flying with my dad. It had been a few years since I’d gotten that opportunity. I would love to get my license sometime in the future. It provides a different perspective for photography that you really cannot get any other way. Except for in a helicopter…which is really what I want. Starting a Buy Scott a Helicopter fund right now. Let me know if you’d like to contribute!