Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Owls in the Amphitheater
I did a little scrambling this morning. My plan was to do the four classic (Gerry Roach Flatiron Classics) routes in the Amphitheater. I did really steep West Face of T-Zero (5.5) and downclimbed off to the north and then straight up the ramp/steep climbing, headed for the Southeast Face of First Pinnacle (5.4). Just before I got to the start of that route a large bird squawked fly off to my left. I wondered if the rocks were closed for raptors (they are not - the closure was lifted on May 8th). A bit further up I was able to see two large, fluffy owl chicks nestled in a natural hole right at the base of my intended route. I suspect it was the mama owl that flew off. I didn't go any closer and downclimbed straight to the ground.
Next I went up the Slot (5.6) on the West Bench. I was scrambling in my Boulder X shoes for the first time and this climb caused me to pause a number of times to ensure I was executing the moves in the safest, easiest fashion. I took quite awhile to carefully climb this 50-foot route. I descended off the back and then down to the Amphitheater Trail before climbing up the South Face of the Second Pinnacle (5.2). I downclimbed steeply to the ground and then down the trail back to the Gregory Canyon parking lot where I dropped off my long-sleeve shirt.
I then headed up to the First Flation and climbed the East Face (5.6). I took nearly 30 minutes to climb this 11-pitch route, which might sound fast but for a Minion this is a glacial pace. I wasn't in a hurry and I took my time on all the tricky sections. I'm definitely not ready to race up this route, but hopefully will be come September and the 10th edition of the Tour de Flatirons.
I downclimbed the Southwest Face to the ground and trotted slowly back to my car. It was a fun morning of scrambling with the highlight being my owl spotting.