The Monkey Tracker

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Colorado Majangee - Chains and Whips Excite me

Fort Collins, Colorado

I can´t quite put my finger on it Steve but it appears that these cows are dealing with the snow far better that us.Why wern´t we made with the fur and the blubber like them?

We went up to Horsetooth mountain to do some climbing.


Things got crazy. We saw a wierdo on a bike.

We saw a rock that looked like a horse tooth.

And we saw a nutcase pull up on the highway, put on a gym harness with a single cam clipped in, and then proceed to climb a very loose choss pile all suspicious like next to the road.


In Steamboat hot springs we were lucky enough to meet this awesome local Fort Collins girl. On our first night in Fort Collins her Mom cooked us an amazing home cooked dinner.First one since we can remember. Thanks Adrielles Mom! 

Now is a time to mention that a few months ago several friends told us about this crazy, joyous concept of 'Couch Surfing'. Couch surfing is essentially a worldwide website in which people list themselves in a city and offer travelers to sleep on their couch for a few days when they are passing through. Its a great way to meet locals, make new friends and get free accommodation. There are millions of people on the site so you can pretty much guarantee you will find someone to stay with in any average size city. You can determine if a couch host is safe by checking if they have a verified profile and reading the comments the people who have slept on their couch. Out of the four couch hosts we have had so far in the USA they have all been amazing and very hospital exciting people. Couch surfing is definitely one of the best things we have ever done! This is the website:

This is Beric's profile for an example:

So anyway, in Fort Collins we stayed with our very first couch surfing host, his name was Luke and he rocks the casbar. Luke McLovin. now that's bad ass. Luke is the man of this town when it comes to buildering. Second night he took us on a crazy bmx bandit adventure. Luke gave us each a bike, we balaclava'd up as it was freezing cold outside, and rode our bikes to the local college bar. This bar played a whole guns and roses album right through from start to finish.

Luke and Nomad dominated in foozball, while Beric, Steve and Rafiki then went on a mission to Australianize the bar. It was a success. Following this we road into the campus which is highly protected by a sophisticated system of NOOBS on bikes in tight lycra circulating around with flashlights.

Luke new their exact patterns to the minute, and we were able to infiltrate the campus and climb manya great building and sculpture without getting busted.

The only falls of the night where on a classic double dyno problem from a rockbrick face to a gutter lip. Luke took one fall on this dyno problem however his fall was broken when his elbow contacted Berics eye. Black eye? yes! Brown eye?? yes!! spring break WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Anyway we also went to a joyous bonfire. And we met some awesome climbing locals at the Miramount Climbing gym. Erin from the gym was very hospitable and crazy. She can join the clan.

Boulder, Colorado

We decided to bail on our joyous warm couch arrangement in Fort Collins and venture to Boulder, Colorado. With no plans whatsoever. We arrived late in the evening and stole some Starbucks wifi in the carpark to do some research. The local hostel wanted something outrageous like $12 per person a night. Hence our only accommodation option was to drive the van way up into the mountains to set up camp. There was a paid campsite but there's now way we are paying to camp, that crazy talk. So we kept on driving until Nomad released we were running dead empty on gas. SPACE GAS!! this was probably not good. So we were forced to stop into this little dirt road. Now well above the snow altitude line.

We did a quick recon a few hundred meters around the campsite to check we wern´t in someones backyard. It was pitch black, and we were a little nervous about mountain lions. But we assume they are just folklore like drop bears.

Steve slept outside in his big wall bivy. This is basically a waterproof emergency cocoon that you carry while you are climbing big cliff faces and resembles a bodybag. Beric had the ultimate luxury of sleeping in the back of the van with the smelly climbing gear and a snoring hairy Nomad. 

Steve discovered the the condensation that forms from your breath means that even though the body bag is waterproof you end up drenched from your own moisture. As we anticipated, it snowed alot that night. Steve was basically buried in the morning and the van windows and doors were frozen good.

We fired up the soccer mum van and started rolling back down hill. The road was iced over and we were rolling to save the minimal fuel we had left.

We got to the bottom and pulled an illegal maneuver into the gas station. SPACE GAS!

That day we ate breakfast in a carpark and Beric went on a crazy couch surfing mission and lined up a host.


 We got to stay the whole week with this awesome Engineer called Collin while his roommate Ian was in Hong Kong for the week. It was a great arrangement and we had alot of fun, thanks Collin and Ian!

After wandering around Boulder our first impressions were very good. This is a pure college town with 30 thousand odd students. There are alot of Beetnicks standing on the corner or roads with signs. Plus it was spring break so there were parties galore. 

Beric took the initiative to wander into ´the hill´. this is were the frat houses and mad college parties with red cups were occurring. Our awesome Neighbours threw us a party also!

Lots of weird spaced out nutcases who smoke alot of pot, really rich kids and a weirdo in the mall with a cape.

Beric and Steve had an argument with a bum using no coherent words whatsoever expect for when the bum yelled at the top of his voice that he pooped his pants as we were walking away.That night we saw the coolest two dogs, the owner claimed that the dog was directly related to Beethoven (from the movie).  One of them foolishly tried to kill Rafiki.

We ventured to Eldorado Canyon for our first day of climbing in Boulder.

It was extremely cold and actually still snowing. Steve wandered off with his trad gear so we followed him.

This climb he chose was mega classic. Turns outs out when its cold the rock absorbs the heat from your hands and they go numb. Really insecure like.

The next trip was to Boulder canyon to enjoys some world class granite and more climbing in near zero degree temperatures.


We went to a cool and famous gym called the spot. This is a pure bouldering gym where some of the strongest boulders in the world hang out. Daniel woods was in the gym cranking, this guy is nuts. He just put up a v16 (called The Game) recently which is considered to be the hardest problem in the world. The day after we met him he flew to Germany and knocked off a few V14's. No biggie.

Turns out Daniel had a black eye from a 'drinking incident' so beric with his buildering black eye got along well with Daniel. Beric convinced daniel to make up a story about how he got a black eye in a savage crocodile incident. They also like playing dubstep techno music in these gyms which is a genre of crazy bass music we expect to see in Australia in the next 6 months or so. The spot had this cool training wall that spins in circles, it just keeps going and you can control the speed. Beric was entertained training on this for like an hour (a photo of it is on the right down below).


Eldorado Canyon is known for its world class trad multipitches so the next day Nomad and Steve braved the cold and wind to climb the classic six pitch 5.10, Yellow Spur. With some dodgy hand written internet description they set off up the canyon in search of the base and eventually found it by chance a couple of hours later. This old school classic started with a few pitches of huge corners,cracks and slabs which we quickly dispatched. The last two pitches were the most memorable, with delicate balancy moves on small crystals in a nicely exposed position and 40 knot wind gusts adding to the challenge.

A few more days were spent climbing at Boulder and Eldo Canyons and we even managed to climb the classic 5.8 multipitch Bastille Crack with our couch surfing host Colin.

On one of our last nights the local climbing gym called movement was holding the USA national indoor sport climbing and speed cimbing competition. We went along to watch these NOOBS in action. there were some big names there like Emily Harrington, Carlo Traversy and Rafiki Tresmono.

Please note we think that chicks that can climb are really hot. Imagine if your girlfriend could put the draws up on your projects for you??!

We did meet some cool climbing girls though, Erin and Melissa. They're alright.

Salt Lake City

We decided we were done with snow, blizzards and numb hands while we were climbing so we hit the road to the desert i.e Vegas and Red Rocks. But on the way we decided to stop at Fort Collins again and then Salt Lake City, Utah. We went to meet our new friends Erin and Melissa in Fort Collins who were kind enough to organise an all American passtime cultural experience for us. That's right! a Baseball game!! The game was the Nuggets at the Denver stadium and we were super excited when we arrived. There were people playing baseball tune themes on their trumpets, pretzel and hot dog guys, weirdo ticket scalpers in trench coats, overweight cops with donuts. This place had it all! Unfortunately it started snowing and they had to call the game off.

So we went back to Fort Collins and Melissa and Beric cooked up a feast! By the way, chains and whips excite me...

The next day we traveled to Salt Lake city. We had to battle with nasty road conditions and semi's which where 4 trailers long and drifting on the icy road.

We chose Salt Lake City as it is one of the climbing gear shop capital of the world featuring the Gear Express, Back-country and Black Diamond warehouses. It was like Christmas as we spent thousands of dollars stocking up o more Big Wall gear. I know this doesn't fit in with our lifestyle of 15 cent Raymon noodles but this gear is necessary for the big walls we are climbing and was allowed for in the budget and plan. By the way we finally found those 50 pounds bags of rice and stuff we were rambling about in our first blog back in February. Let the savings begin!

In Salt Lake City our couch surfing host was a group of college girls who were very cool and cheeky. Sarah was the host and we send our thanks. These girls introduced us to our very first game of beer pong all American Pie style like. Turns out Utah is full of Mormons which was interesting. We didn´t see too many Mormons but we did walk past a Scientology building. No sign of Tom Cruise. Then we crossed a road using the little red flags that are stashed in cylinders on the corners of streets. Never mind the traffic light method. Joyous.