June 21 – 27 (Silverton, Ouray and Telluride, CO) —
As V took Pancha for a walk through the national forest outside Silverton, she noticed the nice rack of the woman at the campsite next to us. (Her climbing rack, you perverts.) V also noticed a log-carrying man wading through the creek towards the woman and stopped to chat with them.
It was no surprise that there were other campers in the area since our spot on the banks of Mineral Creek was superb.
It was also no surprise that our camping neighbors were climbers given that the local crag had brought us to the area as well.
But it was a bit of a surprise that someone was knee deep in very cold water that had been snow only a few hours before — and was hauling fallen trees from across the creek and chopping them for firewood.
Thankfully, one nearly severed pinky toe aside, Jim was good people and handy with an axe.
As the temperature dropped into the 40’s, we were happy that Jim and Julz got a nice fire going.
We were even happier that we had met two wonderful people, and it soon seemed like we had known them for years. And this was not just because of the altitude and the box of wine we destroyed together.
Jim and Julz are great climbers, and invited us to join them the next morning. After V cooked up some breakfast tacos, we headed to the crag just outside of town and parked next to an old mill.
V and I had planned to top rope at The Stripe — i.e., set up the rope at the top and then climb from the bottom. However, “real” climbers (per Ms. J. Srinivasan) have to lead the climb from the bottom up. Neither V nor I had done that before, but Jim and Julz coached us both through our first lead climbs.
After a full day of climbing, we could not have been more stoked to hit Avalanche Café & Brewery in Silverton for pizza and beer, which soon led to mining car racing.
Unfortunately, Jim and Julz had to head back to work the next day, so we made plans to meet up again later this summer as we said our goodbyes.
After another night camping on Mineral Creek, V and I headed over the pass to Ouray for more climbing on the Ice Rink wall at the Rotary Park. The climbs were right next to the parking spot so my lazy ass could practically lay on the sofa and belay V as she continued to kill it.
After we each lead a few routes, we were hungry so V cooked a batch of her latest Indian dish — a veggie curry to be named later — which was soon followed by a stop at Mouse’s Chocolates in Ouray.
We had to be in Crested Butte by the end of the week for their Bike Week, but it turned out that our friend — and former partner — Kenny was in Telluride so we made a quick overnight detour to Telluride to see Kenny and Elena at their beautiful new house.
Although our visit was short, we squeezed in a couple of great meals and a hike.
Kenny and Elena made us (and Pancha) feel right at home.
Awakening at dawn to a deer and her two fawns right outside our bedroom window, we were sad to go but made plans to come back in August when Elena and Kenny are back in Telluride.
Off to Crusty Butt!