Rock Climbing

My Friend Dan Climbing at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

I got into climbing in 1997 after Missy and I took a introductory class through one of the outfitters here. My co-worker at the time, Dan Dyer, was also a climber and showed us a few top-rope climbs at Garden of the Gods. This is Dan on "Silver Spoon" (5.5), a popular lead climb on South Gateway Rock in the Garden of the Gods. We climb at the Garden most often, because the routes are endless, and it is only minutes from our house.

This climb is directly below "The Finger" on North Gateway Rock (5.9), I toped-roped it by leading "The Finger Ramp" (5.7). The same anchors can also be reached by leading the "Lower Finger Traverse" (5.7). The North end of South Gateway Rock can be seen in the distance.

North Gateway Rock

North Gateway Rock

Same climb on North Gateway rock, different view. The anchors are hidden in the shadows at the top of the frame. The "Lower Finger Traverse" is to the left of the anchors, and the "Finger Ramp" is down and to the right, through the shadow. All of the rock in the Garden of the Gods is a gritty red sandstone. The inconsistent quality of the rock sometimes makes climbing here extremely interesting.

Bouldering is rock climbing without any of the protective gear such as ropes. You don't really need them, because it focuses on harder moves lower to the ground. It is a good way to increase strength and practice technique without worrying about the technical aspects of saving your hide. This bouldering spot is high on the East face of the Cathederal Spires, aka Kindergarten Rock or Grey Rock.

Bouldering on Kindergarten Rock
Bouldering on North Gateway Rock

Another good bouldering spot on North Gateway Rock. Vince Pierce deserves credit for all of these pictures of me climbing. Missy has a hard time taking pictures and belaying at the same time. So Vince brings his camera along when the three of us climb together.

Penitente Canyon

This is Missy on a climb during a recent trip to Penitente Canyon. Penitente Canyon is located about three hours from Colorado Springs in the San Luis Valley. It is a much different climbing experience than the Garden of the Gods. The rock here is volcanic and much more coarse in nature. It can be extremely hard on the finger tips.

Me & Dan

Dan and I topped out on "Mr. Wind" (5.7) and "The Serpent" (5.8) in Penitente Canyon. This canyon is truly a climbers paradise. Hundreds of routes varying in difficulty from 5.4 to 5.13. It used to be home to a group of Penitente Monks who painted a large Virgin Mary on one wall of the canyon.

The Helmet Headed Gecko calculating the risks in Penitente Canyon. I didn't wear a helmet when i first started climbing, but now after taking a couple of lead falls I wear it much more often. I've got a big gecko sticker on the back of it. Gecko is my climbing nickname because of the way I stick to rock (much sarcasm there).

Helmet Head

Peaches and Cream

Castlewood Canyon

Here I am leading "Peaches and Cream" (5.7) at Grocery Store Wall in Castlewood Canyon. Castlewood is a great place to climb with many shorts routes that can be top-roped. I was leading this route because it's more fun to lead than hike around and top rope.

Here Missy is hang-dogging on "Rats Nest" (5.8). A nice steep route that pierces a large hole, the rats nest, on its way up a crack. The rock here is a beautiful conglomerate with many nice pockets and pebbles to pull and pinch.

Missy in the Rats Nest

Big Rack

All dressed up and nowhere to go, except up! Me, sporting my big rack for a short climb at Castlewood.

Frank Carpenter and me mugging for the camera after climbing at Castlewood. It ws Franks first time climbing and he did very well. All of the Castlewood pictures are courtesy of Frank and his marvelous digital camera.


Home Page