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Trip Report: Spokane Rendezvous in Independence Pass

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Andrew Caraballo · · Milwaukie, OR · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 530

Extremely spontanious, this trip in July, was the best climbing trip I've ever taken. It all started when I decided to head down to Colorado Springs to stay with my brother for a while. Just so happend that my friend Jason was coming down to visit friends in Aspen. My other friend from Spokane, Andrew, also happend to be in Colorado visiting his family in Loveland. Jason messeged me "dude, i'm next to this place called Independence Pass, it's supposed to be sick!". Perfect timing, I still had a little money left!. I messeged Andrew and very soon we were on our way meet Jason in Aspen.

Andrew Bower

Jason Lee Dury

After what seemed like the longest drive ever, 20+ hours from Spokane plus another five from the springs, I met up with Jason in downtown Aspen where we tossed down a few beers at his favorite Saloon. We set up camp that night in the free dirt bag spot near the Grotto Wall. While Jason was starting our fire, I was casualy looking at the hill side with the light fading. I saw what looked to be some kind of deer about 10 yards up the hill and it was just sitting there stareing at us. "You hear that panting?" Jason asked. Then the creature very quietly ran up the hill.After it got dark, while sitting around the fire, we heard a noise. I looked around with my headlamp at the hill behind us and saw very distinc glowing cat eyes and heard same "panting". " It's stalking us! We're sleeping in the car!"

The next morning, after getting zero sleep and still paranoid about a possible mountain lion attack, we decided to hit up the Designer and Game wall in the Grotto Day use area. The approach was hienous! considering we had absolutely no acclimatization to the altitude. Despite us being tired, the chilly morining offered us some fine sends. We decided for the rest of the day to explore the area and head into town to meet up with Jason's friends from South America for a blue grass concert in Snowmass. $.50 Beers RAD!!!

Snowmass Concert

T'was a very difficult drive back to camp from the concert, me not realizing the effects of alcohol at 9000ft elevation. Luckily I made it back safely and met up with Andrew while Jason stayed in town with his friends. The next day Andrew and I drove his awesome 1980 something Honda to the east side of independence pass and hit up the East Face of Moniter Rock aka Clairabell Mine Wall. Again another fine session of craging ending with an amazing 5.11 that climbs above the mine.

Stern Warning!

Andrew clearly going against the rules!

Me also deliberatly breaking the rules :P

From Monitor Rock we headed back to the other side of the pass to check out the famous boulder problem Jaws. As we were gauking at the amazing boulder problem a guy by the creek told us about about how he's had three friends break thier ankles on this problem. I was a little put off by the commet, but Andrew decided to give it a try. We both ended up opting out of the top out with no crash pad. Still a really cool problem

Andrew on Jaws

After jaws we dicided to head into town. On are way we stumbled upon an amazing pool of water (Whirl Pool Rock), an Aspen hipster hang out. Still amazed, for the rest of the afternoon, we tried to find a way to get to a deep water solo route that Andrew swore he saw in a recent issue of Rock and Ice. After failed attemps at traversing over, we came upon some bolts used for slack lining across the pool. Excelent! Andrew set up a top rope/belay system using his reverso, one that still confuses to me to this day. Andrew tied in and was lowerd by me yanking the reverso in a very awkward position.
We both got the route down perfect on TR, ready for the solo, but it was getting too late and too cold. Our concensus was 5.11 for the grade. The night ended with some partying with Jason and his South Amarican friends.

Cami, Flo and Jason

Andrew and Tamarra

Wal our pro bar tender for the night

Thanks Wal!

Our happy campsite the morning after

On our final day, Andrew, Jason and I headed down to Golum's Cave for a unique craging expierence. The place felt like a mini Squamish with the cold damp but amazing granite, darkness from the trees and the ubundance of moss. We were in awe of the overhanging crack called Master of Reallity 5.12, kind of out of our leage but a defenit project for the future. We warmed up on Escher's Staircase 5.10b then got on Bilbo's Bragging 5.11b. Bilbo's Bragging was truly a classic route, obvious by it's polished holds by climbers. It had a very spicey crux that involved a lock off on a sloper sidepull to a crimper. Really fun!

getting ready for Escher's Staircase

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Jason heading up Bilbo's Bragging

In the afternoon we headed back to Whirlpool Rock to engadge in some good ole deep water soloing! We set up a top rope useing a little more sane method, tied in using a biner, and lowerd eachother to a holding spot where we'd detatch from the rope and solo. We all got it down perfect! This is my single greatest climbing meomory ever and was truly the icing on the cake for our trip.

Me reaching for the crazy sloper

Andrew on great rest hold!

Jason stretching on the sloper!

After it was all said and done we had to part ways and go home. Before we left Andrew and I checked out some of the Maroone Bell's fine bouldering. Oh yeah!
super tough top out!

Andrew pulling hard!

JasonT · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 250

You mean this beats your trip to Shelf when you met up with this lame ass Russian broad who was a pretty bad ass climber but a pretty lame ass overall person? Then we saw her at Jorges and didnt say anything to her because she was so damn lame?

I thought that was a pretty good trip report.

The only thing that couldve made it better wouldve been Locs involvement.

Andrew Caraballo · · Milwaukie, OR · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 530

Oh..i mean second favorite trip ever..

Nick Stayner · · Wymont Kingdom · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 2,295

That's a pretty good guy-to-girl ratio for a climbing trip... nice work.

JasonT · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 250


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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