Poudre Canyon – The Palace

Ann atop The CitadelAfter enduring some icky Fall weather that made me feel like curling up in bed for the weekend, I needed a clear, crisp day like this to draw me back out. After making a particularly frigid crossing of the Poudre River Ann, Sean, and I are treated to a gorgeous day of climbing at the Palace. I’m excited to finally have a full day to explore this place that seems more vibrant and alive with colors and smells than ever before. It’s one of those days when good climbing still takes a back seat to being alive in the perfect spot.

A 5.9+. We try the first route you come to on the trail, a slabby-looking pillar. It has a deceptively hard, bouldery start that bucks Ann & Sean. After that I find it pretty easy, but amusing.

Escalera 5.8. Sean and Ann both take a stab at this on lead, but come down from when they can’t reach the bolt that protects the crux. I find a couple of hidden holds on the left that make the clip and the thin face moves solid. That’s followed by a hand traverse, then some exposed but easy stemming to the top. Everyone makes it up on TR.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel 5.10a. I enjoy this varied route intensely, and it raises my heartrate a few times despite being very well protected. Pumpy moves take you over a bulge on The Citadel, a prominent pillar that towers over the river. Some thin face follows, then a puzzling hand crack, a committing finger crack lieback, then jugs to the top. Everyone makes this one too, leaving us all ecstatic.

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