by We didn't write this
Alpine bouldering is a serious endeavor, I knew that from watching films like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLnM389Wo9Y. I woke up trembling with fear and excitement for the seriousness of the day that lied ahead. This fear only brewed more while waiting in a 45 minute car line to get into RMNP; I sulked knowing a big day was ahead.
Boarding the shuttle bus, I had to make my first tough decision. I knew that I could not bring both my crash pad and my oxygen tank, so after some debate I brought the former. Unfortunately, this also meant I had to abandon my sherpa to take care of the tank. It was now truly just us against the elements.
Leaving the bus we started the arduous trek to Emerelad lake. We have all heard that these alpine bouldering approaches are not to be taken lightly, but I was not prepared for what was ahead. Only 2 minutes into the hike we had a terrifying encounter. What I first thought was a bear was just an overweight tourist. She jumped at me out of nowhere, blocking the trail, and screamed wide eyed “WHAT IS THAT THING ON YOUR BACK FOR? WHAT IS IT??” I screamed back “ITS A FLIP-n-FUCK, a FLIP-n-FUCK” and somehow managed to get out alive.
24 strenuous minutes later we arrived at the boulders. I must say, the approach really lived up to its reputation. For me, the most serious moment was when the front of my left flip flop got slightly wet, causing much grief for the last 7 minutes of hiking. My voice also took a huge beating having to field the “what is that thing on your back” question 17 times, or about once every 90 seconds of the hike.
I thought the worst was behind us, but folks, this is Alpine Mountain climbing so naturally, I was wrong. After doing 4 climbing moves on semi sharp crimps a storm rolled in, soaking everything. Sitting under that drippy boulder, without only a light down for comfort I really had to face the demons of these rugged mountains. I soon developed a formidable chill that made me slightly uncomfortable and even a bit damp. Being almost 100,000 inches away from nearest civilization, things were looking pretty damn grim for us.