|Rock Jim at The Rock Lounge|
We peeked into the bouldering areas and the yoga room (looking out at the river walk on The Animas River that snakes through Durango) and talked with one of the owners (or the wife of ;) and were told that later in the day, hubby Marcus Garcia would be back and he'd have the beta we needed on how to get to climbing areas in town. NOTE: She was not without excellent beta herself. She helped us find our next stop by looking it up online and giving us directions. We were looking for the Ska Brewery, and with her help, we drove right to it.
Our favorite beer of late has been Modus Hoperandi. Oh the HOPS! When we discovered it was brewed in Durango and we were GOING to Durango, it was a no-brainer.
|Pizza and a Crowler. YUM!|
|I love my 4" camp pad.|
We returned to The Rock Lounge around 4pm that afternoon. This time the place was teaming with the climbing team, but they didn't mind company. Of course the youth of today's climbers always reminds us of how old we are getting. Then again, we KNOW that we are staying young by even being there.
|Looking Down at the trad climbing area.|
After onlhy an hour we were done. Maybe it was the altitude, or maybe those beers had a little more to do with it that we thought. The climbing team was finishing up their workouts and the owner Marcus was available to draw us a map to the area we were looking for. He's actually working on a revised guide book to the areas, as his first one was out of print. See Rock Gyms are always a great place to start. We thought we'd buy a guide at the local outfitters, but they had none either. Later in the week, we met up with a couple at X-Rock who had their own "well worn" copy of Marcus' first guide. But for this trip, we found Durango routes on Mountain Project, and his hand drawn maps were a great help as we drove right to the East Animas Climbing and the Watch Crystal Wall.
For your reference: Off of 550 (the MAIN road through town) take 15th Street North - it goes Uphill and splits at Florida (go left) fyi: Florida might be a state on the east coast, but this is FLO-Reeda to the locals.
Continue on FloRida as it snakes up the hill. Watch for and Turn LEFT onto Hwy 250 (there's a light, and it's a sharp/weird left turn - so slow down) you then continue on 250 as it goes further up. This road will cross 32nd Street (which btw is another route from/back to Main Street, further north)
|Sign at East Animas Parking|
The approach is only a half mile or so, with good switchbacks but I was huffing and puffing when we got there anyway. The altitude was not my friend that day (came up from nothing to 9,000 feet less than 24 hours earlier) and gravity was working harder against me than ever.
|I can see our tent from here!|
This 5.6? trad route is said to be an easy first lead. Wasn't going to be mine that day ;) and even on the friendly end of the rope, I found a couple of the moves harder than 5.6. The first move alone would make a first time leader nervous, even if he or she had pre placed protection above. But maybe I missed something.
|Yellow Pages crack on |
Storms rolled in later that day and if you know me, you know I HATE lightening when I'm climbing....who doesn't? So, with both the weather and the altitude pushing me we took a quick (obligatory) selfie and we made our way back to town.
|First Durango Route - CHECK|
With the monsoon storms getting earlier each day, we spent our last day bouldering and scoping out X-Rock and others in the area. We found it toproped by a cute couple from WI, who incidentally were the ones with the well worn guide book. We watched for a while and decided to get come back later. But not to much later, the skies were turning darker and so we headed to the car to beat the storm..
...back to our tent.....OK OK we went to a bar to wait out the rain... but it was on the way back to our campsite and just seemed like more fun at the time. We had plenty of time in the tent later that night to play Scrabble and because we United had WiFi, we were able to watch John Stewart and The Daily Show before going to sleep. Or trying to sleep. The WIND was relentless and one night snapped a tie down on the rain fly, and we were out in the rain doing the fix it thing!
All in All we found Durango, CO to be a pretty cool place to acclimate for a few days on the way to Telluride or Boulder. Too bad we weren't on our way to Telluride or Boulder. Too bad we had to go home. A long weekend is all we will get until the dogs, cats, horses, chinchilla all move on the better places.