Climbing The Needle in Hole in the Wall Canyon
– As the Solstice embraces us with the glory of Summer in the Yampa Valley locals rejoice. The abundance of recreational opportunities and high country playgrounds are increasingly accessible with each new day.
After an extended stay in the Buckeye state visiting friends and family and my new niece, I found myself yearning for a return into the high country. There is no better place to relieve my granite withdrawals than Hole in the Wall Canyon near the Mount Zirkel Wilderness in the Routt National Forest just North of Steamboat Springs. Tying in with me on this adventure would be none other than friend and bike wizard, Max Parsons. Young Maxamus has taken to the vertical world after several semesters at Western Washington State University. With his thick framed eyeglasses, rich analytical mind, and keen sense of adventure, Max is prime for learning the basics of traditional rock climbing protection.
Meeting late one afternoon was a non issue due to the welcomed extended daylight and the first full day of summer. The two of us hopped in ol’ Huck Trouse and made way to the North Fork Trailhead.
For the sake of the efficiency we moved light and fast to the base of the Needle. Swiftly racking up and roping up we were on our way up the granite monolith. The giant star of our solar system acted as a heat lamp as we quickly climbed and rapped the tower.
The climbing was very casual and the company was exceptional. There is no better way to start the summer than rock climbing in an under-traveled canyon with a partner unjaded by the often pretentious and sometimes snarky world of climbing. Max’s eagerness and stoke is just what one needs to light the fire of improvement from under my haunches at the start of what I expect to be a long productive summer.