Words and photos by Clayton Nelson
Location: Ouray, Colorado
This summer was most definitely a well packed one for myself. Filled to the brim with all sorts of activities and people — working a hops vineyard with my Uncle and Grandpa; playing disc golf with old high school friends; celebrating my youngest sister’s and mother’s 2nd and 37th birthdays; hiking up Mt. Garfield, a 2 mile with 2,000ft ascent hike, in the night — plus a handful of other activities. There was one activity that kept me begging for more after each time spent, which was learning the ropes of rock climbing and having the ability to climb in the Gem of the Rockies in Ouray, Colorado.
For the time spent teaching me all I need to know, I have one of my best friends, Sarah Landers, to thank. Sarah is a weekend manager at the local climbing gym in my home town, Grand Valley Climbing, and it is by far one of the coolest climbing gyms I have ever been to. She has been climbing for a whopping 7 years with a handful of those years spent climbing competitively. I was more than thankful to have her as my teacher.
Once she thought I was ready for the great outdoors, we quickly came to an agreement that we needed to make a day trip down south, to the Gem of the Rockies. There, the weather is a cool lower to mid 70 degrees and the walls are made of granite. It’s climber paradise. We also invited along our friend, Ryan Mumby, who is an excellent climber and was also itching for cooler weather to climb in. On June 24th, we packed up our gear in Sarah’s Subaru and made a day trip down to our paradise in the Rockies.
Sarah Landers, her dog (both left) and Ryan Mumby (right) lead the way was we make our way to the Groove Tube!
The first part of our day was spent at the Ouray Rotary Park Rink Wall. Here we did the majority of our climbing, but our favorite and the coolest climb we did that day was at the Pool Wall – particularly the Alcove, climbing the Groove Tube! Oh was it groovy – the wall is actually up a dried up waterfall that was carved into the granite from melting snow and heavy rain during the winter seasons. It was quite the sight and most definitely on my list of places to return to.
Here, Sarah has just made it to the top of the Groove Tube and is building our anchor after leading this epic climb.
Here’s proof I climbed! Making my way on top rope, ascending the gnarly Groove Tube!
Overall the day trip was hardly short from amazing and I look forward to returning to Ouray to climb it’s cool granite walls again! This summer was quite action packed during my trip to my home state of Colorado, and I can’t wait to return this winter for all of its glorified frozen activities – skiing, ice climbing, and snowball fights! Oh my!