Trail Ridge Road Epic

The photo on the latest press release from RMNP. Snowtastic!

I’ve been following the 2011 opening of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road with armchair enthusiasm this May and June, and I have to say, it’s been epic.

Last year, I went up to the park for their media day, which gives nosy reporters like me access to the road just before it’s open to the public. It was rad. And super impressive. I blogged about it here.

This year, the media day was delayed. The park tries to get the road open every year in time for Memorial Day weekend. By the sound of it, they weren’t even close this year.

Kyle Patterson, RMNP’s spokeswoman, reported in a May 17 release:

“Plow operators encountered 22 feet of snow east of Forest Canyon Overlook,
23 feet of snow when plowing through Rock Cut, 15 feet of snow at Lava
Cliffs and 16 feet of snow at Gore Range.  These range from average to
above average.  Snow measurements near Farview Curve on the west side of
the park are some of the deepest that have been seen.”

The park sent out a notice in late April that they were hoping to host the media day soon. After canceling their first attempt at a media day, in mid-May, they sent a link to photos (from May 13, 2011) that summed up what the park’s plow operators were facing up there.


When the road finally opened on Monday (May 6), there had to be much elation in Kyle’s office. Yay, I thought, it’s finally over. Then another email landed in my inbox, subject line:

“Employees shovel for eight days to open Rocky Mountain NP store”

“After a winter of near-record snowfall,” the release goes on, “the Trail Ridge Gift Store and Cafe…have finally opened for the season.”

Happy summer, mountainites.

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The most ridiculous sandal

When can I get it in red?

If you need a little laugh this Monday, go check out the Teva Stiletto.

I’m thinking about getting a pair — for bouldering, of course — but I can’t decide which color I like better.

Perhaps I’ll hold out for red. With sticky rubber.

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World record for climbing, 10 feet at a time

Levandowski, on the bouldering problem he'll try to climb 2,500 times in 24 hours. Photo by Mark Leffingwell.

At 5 p.m. today, Will Levandowski, a Ph.D. student in geophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will start his attempt at setting the world record for greatest vertical distance rock climbing in 24 hours.

He’s going to do it on a 10-foot tall boulder problem on Flagstaff Mountain. Story & video here.

I first spotted Will doing laps on Flag in November or December, when I was up there for a quick lunchtime bouldering session. He had earbuds in, so I didn’t want to interrupt whatever was playing on his iPod (probably science podcasts, I’ve now learned). Plus, he was lapping this V1 problem on the Mugs, below the Beer Barrel and Tree Slab, like a man on a mission. And even the nosy reporter in me didn’t want to interrupt a man on a mission.

Turns out, Will just likes to do this anyway. But he decided to put his habit toward both a record with Guinness and a charity, Operation Smile. If you want to contribute to Operation Smile via Will’s one big day of bouldering, you can here.

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On the road: “23 Feet” coming to Boulder

The Airstream trailer is the star of today’s Field Notes.

It’s also the star of “23 Feet,” a film that’s coming to Boulder Friday night…along with the Airstream it was filmed from.

Filmmaker Allie Bombach made a flick about living out of your vehicle, and she lived in a 23-foot long 1970 Airstream while she made it. She’s still living out of it — and she’s showing the film on tour by parking the Airstream somewhere, pulling down a screen on the awning and projecting her film right there on her 23 feet of home sweet home.

Allie and the Airstream will park in front of the Boulder Rock Club Friday night at 7 p.m. Bring your Crazy Creek chair, yoga mat or whatever you want to sit on to see this free show.

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Weekend Ticklist: Naked (running) stuff

Today’s Weekend Ticklist for Boulder is all about being naked.

Not really. You see, the marketing for Sunday’s Naked Extravaganza is just a big tease. It’s about barefoot running. So I guess that isn’t a tease if you have a foot fetish.

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Dash and Dine 5K series starts tonight

The Dash and Dine 5K series starts at 6:30 p.m. most Tuesdays over the next two months (but not all Tuesdays — check the calendar) at Boulder’s Coot Lake…and the first one is today!

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Finding his tribe at the Boulder Rock Club

Liam Orlando, 11, takes some time alone on the Bouldering wall as part of the kids climbing program at the Boulder Rock Club on April 6, 2011. Photo by Paul Aiken

When I first learned about Liam Orlando — an 11-year-old who has had two organ transplants and is now climbing at the Boulder Rock Club — I thought wow, two organ transplants, that’s a lot for one kiddo to handle!

Then his mom told me the rest of his story. All of the complications beyond the transplants led to 19 surgeries for this kiddo. No wonder is folks call him Superman.

Check out the story. He’s an inspiring guy.

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This weekend in Boulder

This weekend in Boulder and beyond, there’s good stuff going on — as I’ve outlined in today’s Ticklist. Like the Mead Roubaix. And a survival clinic tonight at REI Boulder.

But the latest news (which I didn’t know about when I wrote the Ticklist) is that Eldora is closing this weekend. Sunday is your last day to hit the local slopes.

Unless you’re a backcountry skier. If so, hold on tight for corn skiing season.

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Tom Hornbein–Mountaineering Excellence

The Denver Post ran a great story today on mountaineer Tom Hornbein, who lives in Estes and though 80 years old, can still be seen scrambling around Lumpy Ridge.

Hornbein will be inducted into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence during the gala this Saturday at the American Alpine Club’s Mountaineering Museum this weekend in Golden.

But any other day, keep an eye out for Hornbein on the crags around Estes.

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Rubber ducks, kayaks, a good cause

All I’m going to say is that I love this.

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