International Man of Mystery...

My photo
I grew up in the Boston area and lived there until my junior year in high school when I attended the Mountain School, a semester program run by Milton Academy in Vershire, VT. I then attended Colby College in Waterville, ME. During my time at Colby I studied anthropology, spent a semester in Northeast India, and became fluent in Nepali. Before I became a guide I earned my black belt in kenpo karate and taught karate for 6 years. I began guiding in college on the rocky coast of ME with Acadia Mountain Guides and on ice at the International Mountain Climbing School in NH. After graduating I took to the highway and drove from ME to WA for the big mountains and glaciers. I spend my winters in lovely Ouray, CO guiding in the famous ice park. I am currently working towards becoming a certified guide through the American Mountain Guides Association. I live, work and play in the hills and on the rocks. On the rocks both literally and, well, with ice.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bird Brain Boulevard

Low on the route
 I heard it was terrifyingly run out. I heard the rock was loose and rotten. I heard I would grovel up the chimneys. I also heard it was a classic San Juan mixed climb. It didn't really make sense so I figured I should try and climb Bird Brain Boulevard. It was everything I had heard, especially the classic part.

Bird Brain is among the top few routes in the San Juans. It is right up there with the Ames Ice Hose and Bridal Veil Falls. Bird Brain is a serious route with big run outs, loose rock, and crux moves well above your gear which perhaps explains why it gets a bit less attention than other hard routes in the area. The route is, however an awesome adventure.

May this be my worst climbing injury...
The eight pitches take you high above the Camp Bird climbing area, up a frozen water course through volcanic San Juan rock. It is a bit like vertical canyoneering as you negotiate interesting ice and mixed climbing cruxes. Chimneys, turf climbing, and ice pillars lead to a top out high above the valley over looking Ouray. The descent down to the Ribbon and rappelling that route made for a convenient exit. The route is committing and requires a cool head, which only enhances the experience.
About halfway

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