Words and photos by Kevin Riley
It’s been a few years since I spent a summer in Colorado. Almost long enough to forget how hot it can get on the Front Range. To escape the heat I headed up many nearby canyons and mountains in search of shade and cooler temps. It’s been an eye opening season. I started scrambling around the Indian Peaks and Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve retruned to many of Boulder Canyon’s crags that I hold very dear to my heart. And I stepped back, slowed down and set aside time to appreciate the beauty of the mountains. Here’s a photo essay I put together of the highlights of my summer, so far. Hope you enjoy.
Ridge Runnin’ Down a Dream
There’s a beauty in the diversity of climbing. Whenever you start to find yourself in a rut, heading to the same old local crags, doing the same warm-ups, and working the same tired circuits you can flip the switch and tap into a brand new aspect of the sport. I have lived in Colorado for six years now and until this summer I never explored the high peaks. Boy was I missing out. But better late then never, and I’m definitely making up for lost time.
1) Shelfie I took on the South Arapahoe to North Arapahoe Traverse on a cool, shady day in the Indean Peaks. The ridge is mostly class 3 climbing until you get to a 15-foot section of challenging class 4 climbing. The rock quality is excellent and the exposure kept my heart racing. This is a great climb for aspiring scramblers looking to hone their skills before attempting more difficult objectives.
2) Panaoramic shot of surrounding Indian Peaks taken from Mount Neva. I’ve been working on a loop from Fourth of July Trailhead in Eldora that follows the Continental Divide along the ridgeline of Jasper Peak, Mount Neva, South Arapahoe and North Arapahoe.
3) Mountain finder plate on the peak of South Arapahoe.
Living La Vida BoCo
Boulder Canyon will always have a special place in my heart. It has become my sanctuary. It’s my rock. It’s my home crag. Sure it might be crowded, but there’s always an obscure area to find solitude. The rock might be a bit chossy in areas, but search hard enough and you just might find some splitter cracks and gunks style roofs to play on.
1) Peter Bookmyer figuring out the long reach move on Ship of Fools (5.10a) at Avalon’s Third Tier. It was a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon in July. We had the whole Third Tier to ourselves while the other tiers were packed. Guess a little extra hiking is all it takes to avoid the crowds.
2) Ian King jamming and plugging gear on his onsight of Spiders From Mars (5.11) in Upper Dream Canyon. This trad climb is probably one of my favorite climbs in Boulder Canyon for a couple reasons. First, it packs a lot of climbing into 70 feet of climbing. Corners, cracks, slab. It has it all. Second, the climb gets a lackluster rating on Mountain Project and so do the climbs around it. For this reason, I think, it sees very little traffic.
3) Spiders From Mars (5.11) meets up with the climb to its right and finishes up a slabby wall with a delicate clip. Here Ian King is making the clip with plenty of exposure beneath him.
Wake Up and Smell the Mountain Flowers
It’s not often I head into the mountains when I’m not climbing or running. But when I first traversed Mount Neva earlier this summer and saw all the vibrant flowers I knew I had to return with my camera. Couple weeks later I came on a rest day to enjoy the flowers. No plan. No rushing to climb. No expectations. Just me, my camera, and millions of flowers.
1) Alpine Sunflowers and American Bistort blanket Arapahoe Pass.
2) Alpine Thistle
3) Alpine Sunflower
In addition to being an athlete and brand ambassador Kevin Riley runs the website and podcast, Action in Solitde.