OK, Sunday afternoon at Garden of the Gods - and life is good!
Ben Phelps and I are going to start out with a walk up to the park's high point - atop the ridge to the far right of the Kissing Camels.
We'll be traversing high, just below the highest backwall here.
Ben in the foreground here getting ready for a climb.
The "Tourist Gully" route ascends the deep gully that leads up to the prominent notch on the skyline; then traverses to the far side of the monolith.
Starting up. Park rules require that climbers have partners and a rope, whether or not used!
For more detailed photos of this ascent, refer to my gallery:
"Up the Tourist Gulley at GoG - 4/8/06"
On top already!
Two happy campers - I mean climbers!
View to SE, Cheyenne Mtn in background.
This is reversing the traverse from the notch in the distance, which marks the top of the gully.
Heading down the gully. Our next climb is on the double-spire rock formation directly below us! We'll have to rope up for that one.
Well, I guess they're still kissing!
Can you see? There's someone on our route now - at the top of the left (higher) spire. The route ascends the "potholes" line that shows on this side.
Ben explaining the climber's life to the tourists. :)
I had led the route and then set a top-rope belay for Ben to follow.
There are five bolts or pitons on this route for clipping the rope to while leading. One bolt can be seen below and left of Ben. When he lowered me down, I removed the webbing and biners from all but the highest bolt - the one holding the rope up.
Caught in the potholes?
OK - pulling out of the potholes!
OK - he's now as high as I got, where I got "stuck." I couldn't remember how I had topped out twice before last year when climbing with Rick McMorran. My arms were pumped and I finally bailed down. Now Ben is going to give it a go.
He'll have to climb above the last bolt, i.e., lead it to the summit now.
My God! He's going for it!
This route on Red Twin Spire is called Potholes, and it's rated at 5.7 with two stars! Pretty impressive.
Having reset the rope to the summit anchors, Ben is now being lowered off.
Looks like they're still at it. :)
End of story.