An excellent birthday trip

It’s become somewhat of a tradition of mine to go on a climbing trip for my birthday, and I’ve only missed one year – my first year in Kansas – in about the last seven years or so. As it seemed unlikely that I’d know climbers in Nova Scotia by this point and I had plenty of United air miles built up I decided to take a trip to Colorado and Kansas City to catch up with my American friends. Also turned out to be a good thing as even if I’d known people here I doubt I could have got climbing – too horrible for rock climbing and probably too warm for any ice climbing.

The Friday before my birthday saw me heading to Halifax Airport at what, for me at least, was the unpleasant hour of 6am. Still several hours later and a change of flight in Toronto I, eventually, was getting picked up by Kim at Denver airport. After dinner and some shopping at REI – where I managed to avoid buying anything – we headed back to hers and awaited the arrival of Carol and Seth who were driving across from Kansas. After they arrived a couple of drinks were consumed before the three of us headed off to a friend of Carol’s who had very kindly agreed to put us up while we were in Denver. Kim had cried off due to the understandable stress of tax season. I’m certainly glad I didn’t become an accountant!

After a reasonably slow start Saturday morning Carol, Seth and I headed off to Lumpy Ridge. Our arrival there was delayed by quite a significant amount due to road works requiring a 15 mile / 30 minute detour. We made the right choice in doing the detour however as Carol’s friends who didn’t ended up getting delayed by about an hour on the normal route. After waiting around for Carol’s friends for a bit, delaying us further, we eventually headed off without them. Our goal was Osiris, a classic 5.7. It’s fair to say that none of us climbed the first two pitches quickly as it was quite traditional, aka brutal. So by the time we were atop the second pitch, of five, we were already worried about the time but we decided we had time for one more pitch and that we’d then repel / abseil off.

Thankfully the third pitch went a bit quicker, being rather less traditional. We’d have to leave some gear to get back down the third pitch but given that light was already starting to fade continuing on was a distinct no, no, especially given that we had exactly zero head lamps / torches between us actually on the route. Seth’s and Carol’s were at the bottom of the route and mine was, even more usefully, still in Canada. The repel must definitely required two ropes so we let another pair, climbing a nearby route use our ropes as they only had one and were also looking to escape. This all made for a rather late arrival back at the car, and we had a longer than expected trip back due to the road rocks. So much for the meet up with Kim and Kyrie for Mexican, birthday dinner, plan.

Lumpy was stunning and is definitely somewhere I want to climb again. I took a few, not stunning, photos from the parking but these don’t highlight the area that well as the views are significantly better a bit higher up. Anyway I did get Mexican as Seth, Carol and I managed to find a restaurant that was still open at gone ten in the evening to eat in. This further delayed our arrival at Kim’s to gone midnight. Seth and I popped in for a chat while Carol slept in the car before we headed back to Carol’s friend for the night.

Sunday our target was Eldorado Canyon, somewhere I’d visited the previous May and which I was quite happy to go to again. After some discussion we thought we’d see if Bastille Crack would be possible, a route described, i believe, as the best route of it’s grade in the state – which is a rather bold claim. Given that I suspect we all thought it would have too much of a queue on it to be viable but that turned out not to be the case. Five absolutely stunning pitches later we topped out. I’ll seconded the whole time again not wanting to delay things if my ankle played up and I’ll definitely have to go back and lead some of it. Anyway five pitches took some time and by the time we were done it was already quite late. We then met up with Kim for some stunning Eastern (in my case read Indian) food and by the time we’d done that it was already 8pm. We eventually got back to Lawrence at 4am.

Monday was spent doing some adminy things around Lawrence before meeting up with Mary Ashley for dinner and then a couple of beers back at her place. After a much needed lie in Tuesday I met up with Mary Ashley before heading to the airport and heading back to Canada. It was a marvelous week end and a really nice way to celebrate turning another year older. Thanks to all of those involved.

After such a stunning weekend away I somehow managed to get back into the routine of work for what was, thankfully a short week. I didn’t get up to much exciting that weekend. The most exciting thing I did was go for a five mile hike along yet another abandoned railway track, starting pretty much from my work place. Was quite a boring hike if I’m honest. So boring I didn’t even take any photos. Not sure if you’ll think that’s a good thing or not.

After a fairly normal four days at work things were meant to get a bit more exciting Thursday evening as I’d arranged to go to the climbing wall in Halifax but unfortunately she cancelled on me. With an unexpected evening to spare I went for a really nice walk in and around Wolfville. Turns out that there’s a really nice wooded trail up a hillside, sandwiched between the houses, to a couple of reservoirs with some really nice views. Was quite unexpected and made up somewhat for not climbing. I also took some twilight pictures of Wolfville town center although I don’t think these came out that well. All the photos are here.

Friday was semi-exciting work wise as it was day two of the faculty’s graduate research day and I was heading over to Truro again to see the posters and watch a couple of talks. This time I decided to drive over myself so as to have a chance to watch the talks – everyone else was coming back earlier – and hopefully explore a bit. Both the posters and the talks turned out better than i was expecting given my lack of knowledge of agriculture and I stayed around for quite some time afterwards talking to the graduate students – hopefully some contacts made there. Eventually I decided it was time to start heading home as I’d have wanted to join in the drinking more if I stayed. Having stayed later than I was expecting I didn’t really get to explore much – not that I think there’s much to see in Truro anyway – but I did still manage to squeeze in an hour and a half hike just outside Truro. Definitely chose to hike the wrong bit of the trail as I only got to the scenic bit just before I had to turn around but it was still a nice leg stretch. Photos are here.

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