Ouray Wet n Wild Canyoning in Bear, CO
Went down to Ouray for some wet stuff. Found it! Ouray has quite an amazing concentration of fun, wet canyons. There are only two problems with this: the season is short (typically "August"), and it is an 8 hour drive from my house. Spoiled I am, living IN canyon country, and I have gotten used to not having to drive all that far. Woe is me...
Wednesday found me escaping the house a little later than the noon target - 9:30 pm in fact. When the road started going triple after midnight, I pulled over and sacked out near the height of land in the Swell. Up early, but I knew I missed the day's canyon (Ouray being five hours away still), so I moseyed on over, enjoying the drive, and arriving in time for a late lunch in town, then did the long drive to the base of Cascade canyon (5 minutes), where I "assisted" my friends with setting up a guided rappel... but that is a misadventure left for another day.
The Gang's All Here connected up for dinner afterwards, thanks to the magic of cellphones, and we settled into our pleasant dirt-bag camping spot. Next day, Ram went off to do a great new exploration with Mike Dallin, while I went with Alane and Rick to Oak Creek to so some remedial ropework training. A fine day.
Saturday found us all together in Bear Creek, another Ouray classic. "US" in this case included myself and Ram, plus Rick and Alane from the Denver area, and representing the Flatlanders Sharon and Jordan from Indiana-ish. Bear has a long drive to the hike-in spot -- 15 minutes at least if you include the required pop into town for a 'spro and bagel. A steep and spectacular hike on an excellent trail (Ouray trademark) found us at the Bear Canyon sneak route, a hard-to-describe drop in that might make it into the next book (or might not). Precipitously down to the stream, then we suited up.
Took a little bit to get the kinks out. Nice canyon - about 10 raps. Some good waterfalls that we avoided for the most part. We ended up making 3 or 4 anchors, mostly to get a better line than the anchors in place. While the water was chilly, and a few face-shots and lap-dances mandatory, the canyon is open enough (and south-facing-enough) to have good sunshine for warming up when needed.
Out of the canyon with plenty of time to go back to the campsite for dry clothes and happy hour, before heading over to the town park to socialize with Greg Foy and the Ouray Canyon Festival crowd. Thanks to Greg for his hospitality and for putting together the festival every year.
A quick canyon in the morning (Portland) with the gang plus Judy (her first canyon since messing up her knee like 18 months prior) and all that was left was the long, boring and (thankfully) uneventful drive home.
Next year - more days in Ouray - there is so much good stuff to do! Stoke O Broke O!