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11 Mile Canyon Rock Climb and Luau, Colorado

Author and Leader: Leslie Champ

Participants: Leslie Champ, Tracy Wright, Ellen Kress, Meg Walsh, Elizabeth Kelly, Chris Brislawn, Kristy Brislawn, Martin Staly

After the usual weather watch and hand wringing we embarked on our eleven mile adventure. The Springer Gulch campground was a popular destination. We enjoyed the antics of our adolescent co-campers: Whooping and hollering, vehicle horns honking and Micheal Jackson - late into the night.

Next morning, they got kicked out and we hit the crags around 11. All parties enjoyed multi-pitch routes on Turret Dome. Elizabeth and Ellen thought the 5.6 finish on the Guide Route seemed more like 5.8, but that did not deter Chris and Kristy. Tracy and Meg were able to establish a 4th pitch on the 3 pitch School Daze (5.5). And, Martin and I did not find more than one 5.7 move on the 5.0 Sunshine Slab. After a late lunch, some parties went on to the Staircase, a classic 2-pitch route (5.4) on Arch rock, while others retired to camp.

'Neath the strains of Don Ho's Greatest Hits, the luau was laid at Elizabeth's camp. The menu featured: Fresh mango's, coconut bread, grilled pork tenderloin, Hawaiian chicken with rice, Spam Polynesienne, assorted tropical fruit juices and a lot of Rum. Alas, Kristy did not outfit the group with the plastic coconut bras she found in Santa Fe, (if you ever have a food thing to do, invite this woman), but Tracy "got a lotta leis" anyway.

Next morning, we didn't get kicked out and we hit the crags around 11. Our destination was 11 Mile Dome. Chris and Ellen decided the unnamed 5.9 bolted route gets it's rating by averaging a 10b start, a long section of 8 and some more 10b moves to the finish. The Elizabeth and Kristy found out Kathy's Crack (80', 5.4) is actually 2 pitches. Martin and I survived our first hanging belay's on Moby Grape (5.7, flashed by Tracy and Meg) but then he had to hang around because I was to (emotionally) tired to try the bolted 5.6.

We moved the luau to Chris, Kristy and Martin's camp. Much to Ellen's chagrin, Elizabeth refused to slice the papaya unless we listened to Don Ho. The menu featured: Fresh papaya, coconut bread, grilled pork tenderloin, rice, Blackened Spam Polynesienne and a lot of Rum. There were some vague attempts to hula around the campfire, but Chris advised me not to quit my day job.

Last day we wanted to get an early start, so we hit the crags around 10. Kristy climbed her first 5.7! (With Chris on some bolted routes on Arch rock). The rest of the parties climbed on neighboring Turret Dome. Ellen and Martin flashed the Guide Route. Elizabetty and I were dazzled by School Daze. I think we were off route though, the 5.7 overhanging finger crack seemed more like a 5.9 off-width. But Elizabeth is a bold leader and had no trouble with it. Everyone arrived back in the parking lot by the 2 - 3 pm ETD, and away we went!

P.S. Fred's Place is a good place to eat in Taos.


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