We went back to the aircraft carrier boulder to see if our stunt doubles could finally send the V6- and V11 boulder problems they had been working on respectively. It would have been the hardest boulder problem either of our stunt doubles had ever sent outside. Mico’s stunt double had been one move away from sending, so there was a lot of hope there. All he had to do was catch and hold onto a rather sharp lip after launching himself from shitty little crimps with less than ideal feet. My stunt double had some extra work to put in but miracles are always possible, that’s what makes them miracles. We got a late start (characteristic of our time in Leadville), stopping in town to pick up a Leadville sticker for my beloved sister. By the time we got to the boulder, we had two hours to warm up and finish the problems before we had to leave for Denver to visit Mico’s geat uncle. We tried so hard and got so far and kept pushing back our departure time. We kept trying to bust through that ceiling, but by the time 2pm rolled around (an hour after we said we’d leave), we had time for one last attempt. I, though a move closer to the top, was still nowhere near sending. Mico, after exhausting all methods for reaching the lip statically, had resolved to try the jump and hold on really hard method. He went for gold, launching himself at the lip, and managed to grab it with his left hand. He held on for a fraction of a second while his legs swung out and I prayed for a spotting miracle, before slipping off. Safely on the ground, he was clutching his left hand, admiring a medium-sized flapper on his middle finger.
Because of his perfect genetics, this was the first flapper Mico’d ever gotten, a testament to the sharpness of the lip. Lesser humans would have been ready to throw in the towel, but not Mico. He wanted to give it one more go. Unfortunately, we had just finished our roll of tape. All the tape we had with us was on his and my hands. Stellar, supportive, beneficent, goodlooking person that I am, I immediately volunteered the tape on my hands. It was a shirt off my back moment. If he sent the problem on the next attempt, I would have felt like I’d just sent V11 as well. If this were a movie, this would have been the moment where everything came together, and against a ticking clock and bleeding hand, Mico sent. Sadly, there was no camera crew; everything in this blog is mostly nonfiction. His final attempt was unsuccessful. My spotting, on the other hand, was very successful. We got back in the car to Denver, pausing only at a supermarket for lunch where we each purchased a tub of ice cream. I did a good job with my pint of chocolate sorbet. Mico, however, struggled to finish his quart and a half of Reese’s peanut butter cup ice cream and had to throw in the towel somewhere around the quart mark. We think we’re going to give the ice cream a rest for a little while. Consuming it in such quantities is very exhausting.
Today we took a well-deserved rest day. My fingers needed it. 8/10 had cuts on the tips that would start bleeding anytime I touched anything–granite, sandstone, my toothbrush, a banana–the texture of the thing didn’t really matter, just the fact that I was using my hands. Like all good rest days, we got off to a restful start with bacon followed by some core and upper body exercises done from rings we suspended from an unsuspecting pine tree. As with most things physical, the exercises Mico performed with ease, I struggled to complete; the exercises he struggled to complete, I failed to perform entirely. We had a 4+ hour drive from Durango to Leadville but planned to break up the drive with a fun activity. As we drove, we did some research. It came down to berry picking or a 9 mile round trip hike to a hot spring. Since it was our rest day, we thought it best to go with the 9 mile hike which started at just above 9,000ft.
The day ended with a blissful trip to Walmart where we feasted our eyes on the near-infinite power of Capitalism and shared a pint of chocolate cookies and cream cashew milk ice cream.
I’d long known that the place to look for potential offspring names was the American west. There are a lot of names to admire, a lot of names you can imagine giving to tykes, names they will thank you for later in life–Blythe, Laramie, Cody, Phoenix, Odessa, Mesa Verde… the list is virtually endless. But there is one name in my mind that has always stood head and shoulders above all others, a beautiful, polysyllabic name that screams “hello I am a badass” like no other. You’ve probably guess it from my description (or the title of this post), but the name is Durango. Initially Mico and I weren’t going to go through Durango, which nearly broke my heart, but due to a very slow packing day yesterday and learning that a friend I’d met in Alaska (also a climber) was now based in Durango, we rerouted. We broke up the drive, arriving in Flagstaff around 11pm. I suffered a heart attack that night when I heard footsteps near where we were sleeping. My first thought was serial killer, but when I noticed the figure creeping toward us in the dark had four legs, my second thought was bear! Fortunately for us, on closer inspection it turned out to be a friendly relative of Bambi. We were still alive in the morning, so we went bouldering at Priest Draw. After that, we hit the road again, stopping briefly at the four corners. Well, actually, we drove by it the first time, but turned around five miles down the road because there’s really a very limited number of times you find yourself in the four corners in your lifetime. While Mico waited in line to squat on piece of metal that indicated he was in four places at once, I purchased frybread from a dude about our age. He explained that frybread is consumed with everything from sugar and cinnamon to mutton. We got the cinnamon sugar topping. After a snack and a selfie, we drove into Colorado with a beautiful sunset at our backs (much to Mico’s irritation because he wanted to take pictures). We’re arriving in Durango a bit later than we’d hoped because we failed to account for the fact that Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings.