Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Collective takes on some great projects in Eldorado Canyon

If you have made it to Eldo in the past few days, you may have seen some dramatic improvements. A huge turnout in volunteers from area outdoor companies took on numerous projects in the state park. This was part of an event called Backyard Collective, put on by the Conservation Alliance. The Colorado Mountain Club, a multi-year Grantee, had two volunteer leaders, and assisted with the event. Osprey Packs, American Recreation Products, Inc., Backpackers Pantry, Outdoor Industry Association, La Sportiva, Nite Ize and Scarpa were all sponsors of the 3rd annual Boulder Backyard Collective. Ranger Steve Muehlhauser did an incredible job organizing, directing, and supporting the different groups working in the park.

New Streamside Trail Surface
With over 100 volunteers from these companies as well as Sea to Summit, Leisure Trends, Kelty, and more (I don't have a list), there was a lot accomplished. There was ongoing work with a slope stabilization project up on West Redgarden, just below Darkness til Dawn (essentially stabilizing this platform from rolling down to the creek!). The main picnic area had numerous "Beautification" projects completed, including tree planting. The Fowler, Streamside, and lower parking area trails were all improved and cleaned up. Burdock, an invasive species was cleaned up in many areas. All in all, there were probably over 700 hours of focused work completed - and there are some great results.

Both morning and afternoon, I volunteered to lead groups working on smoothing and resurfacing the Streamside trail, in it's ADA section below the Whale's Tail. I had great turnout, but it may have been because Steve named my group the "crusher", which totally attracts the competitive set in the outdoor industry. In the morning, the entire Backpacker's Pantry team carried most of the crusher fines across the bridge and made huge progress in resurfacing the first two-thirds of the trail. The afternoon had Sea to Summit, La Sportiva,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cool approach to the Fifth Flatiron

A few evenings back, I wanted some fresh air in the Flatirons, so I combined some familiar scrambles and climbing into a nice outing. This is simply one random example of the hundreds of cool outings where we can hit several formations in a row. While I enjoy the standard routes in the Flatirons, the "link-up" days are pretty sweet. There are many areas in the Flatirons where we are able to combine several formations, and actually spend more time on the rock than hiking.

For this workout, I used the Mesa Trail and some old quarry trails to access the East Face of the  Regency. Descending the west side of the Regency puts you at the base of the East Face of the Royal Arch. From the Royal Arch, you are at a logical location to begin the East Face South Side route on the Fifth Flatiron. The combination of the first two formations makes for a really nice scramble approach to the Fifth, and avoids the "out and back" hiking of the Royal Arch Trail. As you can see from the image/gadget, it is nearly a straight line from start to finish.
Looking at the huge amount of rock in the Flatirons gives a good idea of how many possible link-ups are out there. Familiarity with the routes, trails, descent trails, and tricks yields a lifetime of unique scrambles and climbs.
Panorama from Fifth Flatiron summit - looking down to the Third Flatiron and Boulder
The formations and climbs:
The Regency features the 3rd class route, "El Camino". But honestly, as a climber, there is no "logical" route on the Regency. Rather it seems to trend from 3rd class on the right (north)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Discipline and excellence

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy'" -Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers (inner quotations are from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics)*

*this is often misattributed, but succinctly, as Aristotle's own: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Those who truly excel in an activity tend to excel in life. Practice with discipline. Train with discipline. Live with discipline.

simple hard work - Guanacos Route, Aconcagua
Discipline does not mean "showing up for the game". It means showing up for the game and doing what you need to do, not what you want to do. It means that you can correct your own errors. It means that you act with an understanding of the cost and benefit. It means that thought has been put into your actions. It means that we are honest with ourselves on many levels.

Achieving higher levels of discipline can be incredibly easy or it can be painfully difficult. It seems easiest when we have truly identified what we want. Then the behaviors necessary to achieve our goals