Monday, July 31, 2006

Climbing the Uintas

Since brevity was not a feature of the last post, I will make an effort to be concise here. Today was yet another banner big adventure day. Bright and early at 10:30 this morning, four of us piled into, you guessed it, Mike's Astro van. Destination: the Uintas. Since my "seat" was lying prone on a board in the back and since the Astro van is not a window-rich environment, I have absolutely no idea how we got to our destination, but after just shy of two hours of blind jostling, there we were.

The particular spot was Ruth's Lake. There is a pretty easy three-quarter mile ascent to the climbing crag. There you will find at least a dozen bolted sport routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.11+. Actually, we did not explore the entire area, but there were clearly several other climbing areas in the immediate vicinity.

The highlight of the day for me was successfully leading a 5.8 route WITHOUT DYING! This was actually the first route I have ever lead, so it was pretty sweet. Coming down off that high, I achieved the lowlight of my day by failing to lead a 5.9 route. My punishment for that offense was a couple of gouges from my shin. It has been at least a month since my last climb, so the blame for this failure, as usual, falls squarely on my fat ass.

The weather in the Uintas can be a bit unpredictable; thunderstorms tend to form without much warning. Fortunately for us, the weather remained quite lovely the entire day save for about two minutes of sprinkles. Post-climbing, we ventured over to Ruth's Lake where I had my second naked swimming session in as many weeks. I had never taken a dip in any of Utah's mountain lakes (no the Great Salt Lake doesn't count) and I was pleasantly surprised that I did not develop hypothermia.

The trip home took us through Evanston, Wyoming. It had been a long day of climbing and drinking beer by the lake, so by the time we reached Evanston mass starvation had kicked in. It being quarter til ten on a Sunday evening, our dining options were limited, but the gods smiled on us when we found Lotty's Family Restaurant with it's neon "Open" sign blazing. If you are ever in Evanston, this is the place to go. They have two sections at Lotty's: one for smoking and one for second-hand smoking, your choice. Also, the adjoining bar added much ambiance. You know you've picked the right restaurant when you can rock-out to U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" while eating your cheese omlette and hash browns. I didn't notice the plaque, but I think it's safe to assume Lotty's earned at least the four diamond rating from AAA.

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