Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sewmup Mesa in The Pink Cadillac - Episode 6

While watching the basketball game, Jim thumbs through a guidebook called 'The Wild West', little-known climbing areas in western Colorado. "Let's go to Sewmup Mesa; it looks like there are some good cracks to climb there - same Wingate sandstone as Indian Creek" Jim says. "Roger wants to go, and I got a call from Marilyn. She and Pat want to come too; they're in Telluride." "Who's Marilyn? Who's Pat?" I ask. So, I spend the next half hour on Google finding out that Marilyn (MG for short), and Pat are two physicians: Marilyn from Phoenix and Pat from Atlanta, both in Telluride for the annual film festival. They've met Jim at the American Alpine Club events and are accomplised climbers, and although younger than Jim and I, are still in the 'mature' category. Perfect!

Our caravan snakes over the pass and down the San Miguel river valley, past Paradise forks, up the Norwood hill, through Naturita where the town cop has given Jim a ticket for speeding in past years, then continuing down towards Uravan. Finally 26 miles from Naturita, we steer the vehicles barely off the road and look up at the wall. I lead up through the mesquite, foxtails, and cactus plants in the direction we think the climbs are. Perfect!

Sewmup Mesa and the Wingate sandstone

I'm feeling great and lead off up the first crack we see and set a top-rope through expansion bolts and carabiners so the others can climb behind me. It feels just like Indian Creek, and its new to us.

Your guide in white dress shirt and tape

Looking up the first crack to climb.
Looking down the route at the ant people below.

The expansion bolt for an anchor with the rope running through carabiners.

Jim puts up another climb next to mine, Roger a third, and we are on a rampage. We decide to move right along the cliff and look for more cracks. As we move along, Jim spots a giant Coachwhip snake slithering through the sagebrush. They are harmless and an important part of the desert ecosystem. It's more comforting that seeing a rattlesnake whose bite is a bitch!

Dr. MG tapes up - ready for action

MG and Pat are a delight as partners. We bond instantly, and their enthusiasm really amps up our climbing. Everyone is grinding up the hardest climbs, their blood smearing the cracks, and making lots of jokes about it. I wonder what folks say behind our backs when we get home with goobies, scabs, and open sores littering our bodies? Somehow we never feel the pain during the intense adrenaline-fueled act of climbing. Apparently men don't feel pain during sex...I can believe it.

Dr. Pat contemplates his fate!

Pat ascending....
And ascending....

Donini in action

After we are all whipped by the rock and the severity of the routes, the Telluride pack starts making departure behavior. Donini and Roger have a rendezvous with the Black Canyon, and MJ and Pat are headed for the film fest. Chris and I are interested in continuing to Indian Creek; we've been full circle, and we would like to continue to hone our skills. There will be a ton of folks to climb with at 'The Creek'. We descend to the cars, say our farewells, and head off. It is late when we get to our campground at Creek Pasture, but we cook dinner in the twilight and worry about the dark thunderheads threatening overhead. But it's the desert. It never rains here!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Look for my tweet about you on @Coppertalk tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET http://twitter.com/Coppertalk.
-- Linda Lopez, New York