Doug & Liz, not knowing any better, agree to accompany me up the Poudre Canyon to Crystal Wall for some climbing. I don’t tell them until they show up at my house that I need a ride, and I’m not sure if we’ll even have time to climb, but the starry-eyed newlyweds take it in stride. There are high clouds to provide shade, so if time allows it should be cool enough to climb.
We reach Ted’s Place at 6 pm sharp, and we’re parked by 6:20. We quickly hike up the approach, and elect to pass up the routes I’ve sampled for something new. Liz gets comfy with her book while Doug and I hunt for the route. It takes a couple of tries to find the first painted hanger. Once on the route, however, I feel glad for the experiment. Solid, slabby moves come easily, with a couple of steeper, trickier moves. I have half the rope out after ten clips, just beneath a ledge. I admit I feel some relief when I crank over the lip and see a nice chain anchor. Doug follows without too much trouble, though he hasn’t climbed since he was a bachelor.
There’s a second pitch, but it’s now 7:40 and I can only spot two bolts high above. Rather than risk an epic in the dark I show Doug how set up a rappel, and we head down. Pink clouds bid us farewell as we return to the car. It has been a bit of trouble for one route, but my sport craving is satisfied, and I feel like I’ll be doing this again before the season is out. I must explore The Palace area across the river, which will have late afternoon shade.