Leaving Estes Park bright and
early (we mean it this time, 8ish) we set off to Golden, Colorado to
climb at Brown Cloud Crag (just outside of Denver). Sport
climbing is enough of an adrenaline rush in the great white north but
throw in 100 degree weather and ample warnings about rattlesnakes and
mountain lions and the ante goes way up. Escaping without incident we
unfortunately didn’t have time to hit the Coors brewery and tour
which was conveniently located directly across the road from the crag).
How perfect is that? A crag across from a brewery . . . not that that
had anything to do with why we chose this particular spot, with so many
others to choose from . . .
Refreshed from our night in a motel (beds, showers, what more could we ask?) we set out for Crested Butte. Little did we know there was a rally adventure ahead of us.
There are winding mountain paths and then there’s the Co298. The road snakes up and down the mountain side with barely enough room for two lanes of traffic. Our ride was squashed between a cliff face on one side and a steep (read: life threatening) vertical drop on the other. The transition from paved to dirt road was made even less comfortable by the distinct lack of guardrails. As close to real life rally racing as we’re going to get with a car loaded to the ground with gear (and no helmets). Recommended to driving enthusiasts everywhere (please drive safely and in accordance with local laws only).
Crested Butte, a hidden gem we shouldn’t spoil by telling you about, but will anyway. CB is a ski town turned mountain bikers paradise in summer – charming town, great little restaurants (try Teocalli Temale’s for great Mexican (good value)), friendly people and a free shuttle up and down the mountain - throw in awesome single track and it is a true haven for mountain bikers. Be sure to take time to acclimatize – most trails are up and over 9,000 feet so the air is thin (making the up-hills even more punishing). For climbers we heard CB has some of the best bouldering around …but given the rain, and our timeframe, we had to push through to Moab . . . next time we’ll test the claim.
Leaving CB, our next plan was to check out some climbing in and around Telluride but accessibility apparently wasn’t a consideration when this town was built. After driving up, down and around some pretty rough dirt roads for about 3/4 hour, we decided that it was probably not good for the car to keep on pushing through… especially given that we had only driven about ¼ of the distance to get to the crag. Hopefully we’ll check it out next (in a rental). Plan revision: next target, Moab!
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