Bouldering at Ring Mountain

With no end in sight to this whole pandemic, I’ve realized that I have to try to return to my life instead of just “waiting for it to be over.” Part of that means figuring out how to return to my common hobbies and activities, such as climbing (I’ve been doing hiking already). Obviously I cannot hone my skills in a gym anymore, but I am fortunate to life in the SF Bay Area, with many opportunities for outdoor climbing. Indeed, I actually got my start climbing outdoors before I ever climbed in a gym (though in recent years I’d begun going to a gym more often due to convenience).

I’d been doing simple body weight exercises to try and maintain, but there are several spots very close to me where I can actually climb too. I love those big exotic camping trip expeditions as much as the next climber, but focusing on smaller local trips that I can do more casually (akin to visiting the gym) will be crucial to maintaining a regular schedule in the months to come. Places like Indian Rock, Glen Canyon, Ring Mountain, Castle Rock, etc.

Climbing at Ring Mountain

So I’ve finally pulled myself together enough to start making a habit of climbing again. Shout out to the climbing community: everybody at the crag was wearing a mask and maintained social distance the whole time I was there (it was great). And I saw a praying mantis climbing next to me. My little buggy buddy.

Climbing at Ring Mountain

Bit by bit I’m trying to get through this, and also still live my life.

Marriage and Red Rocks

Doc on the first hanging belay on Olive Oil
Doc on the first hanging belay on Olive Oil

This week, Doc and I went to Las Vegas because of a gig out there (I agreed because I wanted an excuse to climb in Red Rocks), and not long after we arrived on Tuesday, we decided to get married. We made it official and were legally married by Thursday.

We had talked about our ideal marriage a lot; that it would be cheap and that we wouldn’t inconvenience anybody by asking for gifts or even have a big wedding ceremony, so that is why we both knew that we didn’t need to make a big deal about it. Even so, I couldn’t be happier!

And of course, we celebrated by climbing in Red Rocks afterwards! Doc climbed his first multi pitch (Olive Oil on Rose Tower, 6 pitches, 5.7) during that trip. There was a spooky traverse because it had high exposure, but other than that it was a really easy climb with huge juggy sandstone holds. I would highly recommend this and the other classic Red Rocks climbs.

Doc wearing his wedding tuxedo tee, getting ready to climb
Doc wearing his wedding tuxedo tee, getting ready to climb

While we were climbing Olive Oil, George and Joanne Urioste were making a first ascent on another formation nearby, just across the way. This is the same couple that made many of the first ascents in the Red Rocks guidebook, including Olive Oil!

We also checked out Bonnie Springs Ranch, a sort of tourist trap built out of an old 1860’s ranch that has performers doing shootouts and hangings etc. Bonnie Springs is only about 5 miles away from Red Rocks, so it wasn’t out of the way, and even that was tons of fun. It was kitsch but not too bad, just enough to be fun and light-hearted.

Lots of the rocks looked like bacon

Everywhere in the Blue Diamond area, we kept seeing signs saying not to feed the wild horses or burros, which of course made me super excited to see wild horses or burros. Alas, we never did.

Now Doc and I are back in San Francisco at last, chilling and blogging. Except now, we are chilling and blogging while married.

Sunset over Calico Rocks