Monday, December 23, 2013

Dinosaur Tracks - New Mexico/Oklahoma

Crystal Kerber and myself investigated dinosaur tracks laid out along the edge of a shallow sea some 100 million years ago.  The three-toed tracks produced by giant plant eating reptiles are embedded in large horizontal slabs of sandstone that were exposed during the construction of the Clayton Lake dam in northeastern New Mexico.  Check out the UC Berkley paleontology website (here) for more information on the Clayton Lake tracks.  After exploring the tracks and local wildlife at Clayton Lake, we drove one hour northeast to Black Mesa, Oklahoma, and viewed another linear set of tracks exposed in a dry creek bed.

Three-toed dinosaur track embedded in sandstone above Clayton Lake, NM.
Dinosaur track.  Clayton Lake, NM.
Dinosaur tracks embedded in sandstone/mudstone within dry stream bed near Black Mesa, OK.
Dinosaur tracks.  Black Mesa, OK.
Dinosaur tracks.  Black Mesa, OK.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

Winter - December 2013

I made a quick trip to Colorado recently, primarily to attempt camping high on the northeastern flank of Longs Peak.  Poor weather precluded success, but winter scenes made for good photography, so the trip wasn't a complete fail.  A couple of Kansas and Oklahoma pics are thrown in for good measure.

Estes Park, Colorado.
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Mt Meeker.
Saint Malo Church and Mt Meeker.
Setting sun in northwestern Kansas.  I observed a tornado at this exact location on May 22nd 2008.
Snowy windswept road in central Oklahoma.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

West Face of Upper Mount Scott

Cindy McCloskey, Stephen Tremaine, and myself drove to Upper Mount Scott in search of Dream Boat Annie, a 25 foot wall consisting of 3 crack climbs.  We searched much of the west face of Upper Mount Scott but could never find the wall.  As a consolation prize, we climbed another wall that consisted of 3 cracks ranging from 5.6 to 5.9...I've named the wall So Much For Dream Boat Annie.  These climbs were a lot of fun, especially the last 5.6 route, which involved a mixture of face climbing in addition to crack climbing.  After climbing these routes, we searched the west face a little more, never finding Dream Boat Annie, but eventually locating an overhanging crack that I would rate in the 5.10 to 5.12 range.  This last climb thoroughly exhausted all of us, maximizing hunger, and preparing us all for a feast at Meers.

5.6 crack climb.
5.9'ish crack climb.

Fun 5.6 climb consisting of face and crack climbing.
Overhanging 5.10-5.12 crack climb.
Beautiful sunny, mild, light breeze kind of November day in the Wichita Mountains.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

TWISTEX Memorial

The following pictures were taken south of El Reno, OK, a hundred or so yards east of the intersection of Reuters and Radio Road.  The TWISTEX memorial (which gives tribute to Tim Samaras, Carl Young, and Paul Samaras, who were killed on May 31st, 2013 by a large violent tornado) sits quietly on the side of a gravel road surrounded by expansive plains and big sky.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Crank Boulder

Stephen Tremaine, Ethan Hulme, and myself climbed a 40 foot wall called Crank Boulder in Charon's Garden during the first week of November.  Despite cool Fall weather, the west facing wall warmed up quickly once clouds cleared out.  We first climbed a 5.7 crack route called The Water Faucet.  As the name implied, this crack was wet...very wet, and slimey, and the climbing wasn't much fun.  Next, we climbed a crack located to the right called Strappado.  This 5.8+ route was a lot of fun, with the crux located at the top of the crack where the wall bulges outwards a bit.  Once past the crux, the route eases back to class 4 or easy class 5 climbing.  Ethan and Stephen then worked on a 5.9 route called Bodacious, which has a hellacious start (possibly the crux) that quickly eases back to crack climbing.  I skipped this route, and instead did Nowhere (5.10+), which starts out as a 20 foot crack climb that then fades to face climbing during the last 10 feet to the finish.  I was stumped once I reached the face climb section, while Ethan seemingly cruised to the top.

Ethan nearing the top of The Water Faucet (5.7).
Beginning moves on Strappado (5.8+).
Middle section of Bodacious (5.9).
Beginning of Bodacious (5.9).
Nearing the top of Bodacious (5.9).
Face climbing on Nowhere (5.10+)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wichita Mountains - Rock Climbing in the Narrows

Stephen Tremaine, Carly Kovacik, Cindy McCloskey, Jessica Upchurch, and myself climbed a couple of 20-30 foot 5.6 routes on a wall located at the mouth of the Narrows (rock wall is located across the creek from Meat Slab).  The first route was on a big can be tackled by liebacking, or using a combination of small hand/foot holds and leg wedging in the off width crack.  The second route we climbed goes up a crack that ends at a ledge, followed by 8-10 feet up a block to the top.