Shipping up to cody: a road trip tale
February 5, 2008 — Itís that time of year. Iíve had a solid 3 months of ice climbing in Summit and Eagle County and the traveliní Jones is sneaking up on me. Iím in luck because the urge to roam is infecting my climbing partners too, none of us road trip as much as we used to. Life gets in the way. We have responsibility, wives, children, mortgages and careers (well, at least some of us do). The trips get fewer and farther between and some of my climbing partners have moved to other parts of the country.
You could look at the reduction in road trips as a bummer but not meÖresponsibility makes these trips even sweeter. They were a dime a dozen 5 years ago. I actually had a summer where I was on a climbing road trip every weekend for 4 months. The secret to grown-up road tripping is quality over quantity. The recipe; make the trips be to the best places, with tried and true friends, for longer durations. Cody, WY has become the road trip destination of choice for my ice climbing partners and me for those reasons.
Cody Ė located about 9 hours from Vail Ė is arguably the best ice climbing in the lower 48 states. Itís certainly the best ice climbing destination Iíve been to. Itís the type of place where you do one climb a day because few are less than 3 pitches with very spirited approaches. Alpine starts are a must and lots of times you still finish in the dark. Signs that read ďGrizzly Bear Area: Special Rules ApplyĒ add an element of spice to every day too. Yeah, I know they are supposed to hibernate but who says they are? Personally thoughÖI like knowing grizzlies are out there. In todayís world itís nice to be reminded that we are not #1 on the food chain. Cody is adventure climbing at its best and a great place to see if you have what it takes to climb big routes. Youíve got to be in shape, fast, used to traveling light and able to V-thread and build natural anchors to get off the routes. Being a masochist doesnít hurt either, after all ice climbing is pain.
Local Climbing Shop: Core Mountain Sports www.coremountainsports.com
Place to stay: Bison Willyís Base Camp www.bisonwillys.com
SoundTrack for a trip to Cody: Old School Punk and Metal (examples: TOOL & Bad Religion)
Grub and Beer: Canít remember names but after a day of climbing in Cody anything tastes good. The main street is full of bars and restaurants.
Like so many things in life, the road trip is as much about the journey as the destination. I canít wait to spend 9 hours in the car with 3 of my best friends. It is how you find out about new music and new books, itís where you come up with classic one-liners and inside jokes that last decades and most importantly, itís where you are reminded that among good friends 12 months with little conversation is no hurdle at all. Itís funny how the conversations can pick right back up where they we left off on the last road trip. Especially over the shitty coffee that is in every gas station between here and Casper. Thankfully Starbucks hasnít caught on in Wyoming yet.
Getting ready to climb 5 days in Cody is no small undertaking. Luckily for those of us living in the Vail Valley there is ample training ground. Although I generally donít top rope much, Iíve been doing as many laps on the leads we put up as I can get a belay for. I climb until my fore arms scream! You have to in order to be ready for the length of the climbs in Cody. Climbing with a pack doesnít hurt either. You always have one with you on climbs up there and if you havenít done it, it takes some getting used to. Firehouse is a great place to do a training day, with its ample lines. You can easily do five different lines up there in an outing and the hike in is no slouch either. Anyway you cut it you want to log some serious time on the ice.
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