January 28-29, 2011
Down in Colorado Springs for the annual Colorado Music Educator's Association Conference at the Broadmoor, we made plans to visit the Garden of the Gods. Having splendid weather for January, Jen and I took a few hours to climb on Friday. Having never been to the area before and only having time for a few routes, we climbed the moderate classics Cowboy Boot Crack and the White Spire via the South Ridge. Still having a little time we decided to attempt the intriguing tower the Three Graces. The 5.2 rating had us fooled into thinking it would be a breeze. The initial chimney felt harder than 5.2 and was very grungy. After Jen reached the belay, I began leading up the final exposed and narrow fin. Although not hard climbing, the holds were mostly friction and a fall would send either leader or faller tumbling down the narrow chimneys on either side. Faced with no time and a lack of pro, I downclimbed and we simul-rappelled off the formation.
After the conference ended on Saturday, we returned with our good friends Mark and Natalie. Mark lead up the steep route Potholes on the Red Spire and we soon discovered the wind was driving the temps down. Wanting to stay in the sun, we plodded over to give the Three Graces another try. The climbing was exposed and fun and Mark and I were soon straddled the top of the weird formation. This was a great way to round up my first experience at the Garden of the Gods and I'm already looking forward to a return trip.