I survived yet another furious two days of being a weekend warrior (albeit sans camera, so I've no pictures to share).
On Saturday, Ashley and I went up to Eldora for the first time this year. They had 4 runs open and more snow than I had anticipated. After about 5 tele runs on groomers, we were ready for a workout. We found what we were looking for 200 yards away at Eldora's Nordic Center, where we skate skied for about 45 minutes. The first skate ski of the year always turns into a wheez-a-thon for me, and this year was no exception. It was good to see that Ashley also had to breathe, although not as aggressively as myself. I'm growing so used to her beating me at endurance sports that it really doesn't even bother me anymore.
On Sunday Keith and I barely found enough motivation to stumble into Rocky Mountain National Park and attempt an ice climb on Thatchtop Mountain. We climbed a classic 4-pitch route known as All Mixed Up. After a 2.5 hour approach, we found that another party had beat us to the climb, so we decided to climb a variation to the right of them to avoid their ice fall. This ended up making the climb much more difficult and challenging than it should have been. The final crux pitch (WI-3+ or 4 depending on who you talk to) ended up being the easiest of the three that it took us to complete the route.
I stole this picture from Mountain Project and added our "non-standard" variation to it.
After flailing on my first lead while experienceing mixed climbing (climbing with crampons and ice axes on rock) for the first time, I was a bit demoralized. Keith then had a similar experience on a noticably more difficult mixed climbing pitch. I finshed things off on the supposed crux (straight up ice climbing with no rock stretches) which turned out to be the easiest pitch and very, very enjoyable.