Chris Lindner

October Blog

Can’t complain about too much these days. I’m loving life here in Gunny. I spent three weekends climbing at Rifle, spent one weekend in Salt Lake City for the HERA Climb-4-Life fundraiser, and I just got home from my second weekend in a row at the Fortress. I’ve been spending the weekdays doing school work and bouldering around town at the local areas. The Fall colors are in full effect around here, and the scenery couldn’t be more beautiful.

 

After six days days at Rifle, I put my big boy pants on and sent the route I was psyched to do: “Girl Talk”.... If the grade stands, that makes “Girl Talk” my second 14c that I’ve made victory with. Unfortunately, it really didn’t feel too hard, so I’m skeptical to accept the 14c grade. But then again, I’ve done several 14b’s lately in less than five tries, and this route took me twice that. Maybe it just felt easy when I actually did it, sometimes it’s like that I guess. Who really knows?  Luckily, I’ve stopped fretting about that quickly, and I moved on to what’s surely harder: “Kryptonite” (14c/d) and “Flex Luthor” (15a?), at the nearby Fortress.

Two weekends ago, I pulled down on the limestone at the Fortress of Solitude for the first time in my life. I actually “pulled down” quite a bit of the Fortress itself while I was climbing. That place is chossy as SHIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!! Fuckin hell.... Adding to the experience is the brutal leg-burner approach, the blazing and relentless heat from the scorching sun, and the Gnarliest wasp and hornet frenzy I’ve ever seen. Wasps and hornets numbered in the hundreds within the vicinity of every route at the cliff. They kept flying in and out of my hand holds, flying into my hair, and pissing me the F-word off! It was hard to stay psyched, but some things just have to happen. I definitely lost the first battle at the Fortress, but I’m determined to win the war. It was a rough first weekend..

Surprisingly, there are several reasons why there’s bolts at this cliff and why people actually (yet rarely) climb there:

1) It’s one of America’s top-5 proudest cliffs in terms of massive height, width, and consistent steepness.

2) It hosts two of Americas top-5 hardest and proudest routes: “Kryptonite” (14c/d) and “Flex Luthor” (15a?).

3) It has an amazingly beautiful scenery and view.

4) Ummmm, I can’t think of any other reason, really.... It’s pretty brutal otherwise.

I decided I would start out on “Flex Luthor” so that when I tried “Kryptonite” later, it would feel easy. It was quite obvious that “Flex Luthor” has probably only been touched by less than five people. Most likely, only one person has ever tried it more than ONCE: Tommy Caldwell. Tommy is a badass-good-frigin-rock-climber and he did the first ascent (ungraded by himself, but regarded by the media as the first 15a in the U.S. ) back in 2003 or so... Since then, six years have gone by without much traffic at all. People like Dave Graham have ventured up at least a few bolts once or twice, and perhaps a couple others??? Bottom line: it’s hard, it’s dirty, it’s 120 feet long, it’s wicked steep, and there’s no chalk on it.

The Fortress carries it’s own reputation for all-natural climbing. The forefathers of the Fortress clearly stated the rules early on: no chipping, no glue, and oh by the way, it’s a bitch of a hike. I commend the forefathers for such progressive vision, trying to steer a new era of Colorado bolting ethics away from the chipping and glue-crazy bolting ethics found in nearby Rifle in the mid-90’s. It’s good to see a cliff that got it “right” from the start. Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of choss and loose holds on most of the routes routes as a result of the lack of glue, even though the quality is still really good in every other aspect.

The situation presents a debate in my own head after climbing there. First of all, I stand strongly against chipping holds, I’ve never made a hold, and never will. However, I debate my personal stance with using glue on particular holds, and climbing at the Fortress brought up the debate again in my head. I’ve never used glue to keep something from breaking off, but I have used glue on a couple of my own routes that I’ve bolted. I’ve used it sparingly, but purely to keep dirty hand holds from crumbling or slowly deteriorating. For me, it’s usually the biggest holds on the route that are a perpetually dirty despite continuous brushing. Holds that continue to crumble every time you touch them, no matter how much you try to brush, definitely affect the quality of the route for me. But on the other hand, climbing a route with no glue definitely increases the quality of the route for me. So it all evens out I suppose. One thing I know though, is that “Flex Luthor” is going to require a lot of hours brushing and hold finding, then several weeks, months, or perhaps years of  hard work trying to climb. But, I’m looking forward to the journey. Gotta have goals...

“Kryptonite” is going quite a bit better, but it’s still really hard for me. It’ll easily be the hardest route I’ve ever done if I can make victory on it. The quality of rock is much cleaner on this route since it has seen roughly five or six ascents over the past seven years or so... My progress is good so far. I’m figuring out the beta, making some inspiring links, but near-fatal fatigue is still a major issue. Working on it...

I got to camp with my parents in Rifle for the past couple weekends which is always a pleasure. They made their annual Fall-pilgrimage for a couple weeks. I even saw my brother Shaun out there last weekend too. My dad is just recovering from serious shoulder surgery, but he’s back at it now, and he just sent “Extended Family” (12c) a couple days ago. They’ve been traveling throughout Alaska and Canada for the past few months during his rehab, all while following the bird migrations. They are 5.14 bird-watchers and photographers, they’re nuts about it. Check out my dad’s bird/fish photography website www.lindner514.com for their latest adventures. They are a pretty funny couple these days...

Here are my photos from the past couple weeks...

 

 

 

Crested Butte bouldering with Scooter...

 

 

 

 

 

The Fortress...

 

 

 

Stopping by Rifle for Mom’s camp cooking.....

 

Bike rides around Gunnison...

 

 

 

 

 

Our home...

 

 

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