The day after we arrived home from our trip to the Cascades, we were forced to evacuate Los Alamos because of the encroaching Las Conchas fire. We frantically packed up our photographs, computer backups, and some other keepsakes. Jason and Allison convinced us to join them at Tres Piedras, so we took some camping and climbing gear as well. Hagen and Claudia decided to make it their evacuation destination as well. We setup camp in a smokey stand of Ponderosa Pines. It was disturbing to drive 80-miles from home and still be in such thick smoke.
After the first day, Jason and Allison moved on to Taos where they would climb Wheeler Peak the next day. Hagen and Claudia stuck around with us, and we headed to Beastie Alley, a small slot canyon on Mosaic Rock, in order to avoid the sun and smoke. Here, Hagen gives Claudia some beta for a foot hold on the bouldery start of the climb.
Claudia concentrating on the matter at hand
Claudia's silhouette near the top of the climb
Hagen and Claudia leaving Beastie Alley at the end of the day
The smoke was pretty intense by the end of the day.
The smoke created an eery sun.
Nina standing guard back at our camp
After just two days at Tres Piedras, Carson National Forest was closed by the Forest Service, forcing us to vacate our camp. We were scheduled to watch Gretta for Miles for the week, so we went to Santa Fe to pick her up. Miles and Cindy were crashing at one of Brandon Gabel's vacant apartments. After a night on the Gabels' couch, we headed to Turkey Rock near Colorado Springs to meet back up with Hagen and Claudia.
Our truck was overdue for an oil change as I had intended to do it once we returned from our Cascades trip. To get by, I changed the oil filter in the parking lot of an auto parts store along I-25. Sarah let the dogs nap in the shade beside the building.
On the way to the camping area, Hagen spied a red fox and its two pups along the side of the road. I made a separate album with more photos and a couple videos.
We found a gorgeous place to camp near Turkey Rock. We were relieved to finally be out of the smoke.
In typical German fashion, Hagen and Claudia dug a trench around their tent.
The first day, we climbed at Turkey Perch, a great single pitch area with an easy walk off. Sarah and I had never done much crack climbing, and we really tired ourselves out.
Sarah pausing before topping out on her first lead
Claudia looking for a hold high up on the wall
Claudia belaying Hagen high above her
Hagen working the final few feet of the climb
Hagen reaching the top of the line
Gretta and Nina find refuge from the sun in a mini cave beneath some boulders
The following day, we went to Turkey Rock to do some longer, multi-pitch routes. The few easier routes involved a lot of offwidth cracks, which didn't sound appealing to Sarah and me. We decided to do the same climb as Hagen and Claudia, Gobbler's Grunt (5.9), which the guidebook described as "one of Colorado's best crack climbs." Here's Claudia starting up the first pitch. She's crazy smooth and made it look easy. I did not.
Claudia getting down to business
Hagen keeping a close eye on Claudia as she nears the crux, a small roof with tricky feet.
Claudia nearing the huge belay ledge at the top of the first pitch. The second pitch (5.9) continues up twin cracks to a cramped belay stance inside an overhang (just below the obvious notch on the skyline). The final pitch (5.7) continues left from the belay up a diagonal crack to some runout face moves before reaching the top.
Here's the last shot we have from this area. It's me just below the crux roof on the first pitch. By the time Sarah and I finished this climb, we were completely wiped out. The first two pitches were by far the most difficult trad leading I had done, and it took its toll on me (mentally and physically). I was thankful to hand the rack to Sarah for the final pitch. Hagen and Claudia squeezed in a second climb before the afternoon storms arrived. Those two are fast! Once back at camp, we packed up and headed toward Salida to hike Mt. Ouray the following day.