What: Climbing Lumpy Ridge Classics
When: 8 p.m. tonight
Where: Neptune Mountaineering, 633 S. Broadway
More info: neptunemountaineering.com
Tonight at Neptune Mountaineering, a couple of Neptunians (that’s what the staff is called — they’re not aliens) will give a talk and slideshow at 8 p.m. on climbing Lumpy Ridge’s moderate classic routes.
Lumpy Ridge — a line of granite domes providing part of the backdrop for Estes Park — is one of the most scenic spots to perch yourself a few hundred feet up a wall around here. Especially in fall. Aspens. Enough said.
But the climbing on Lumpy can be adventurous. So while the guys at Neptune will be offering tips and route suggestions, here we’re offering tips for keeping your sense of humor alive and well when you venture to Lumpy.
Hike the warm-up
You have to hike to climbs at Lumpy. With a heavy rack, at altitude. The last stretch is usually uphill at a grade that makes you wish you’d gone to a roadside crag anywhere else.
Once there, the chipmunks come out to explore the innards of your pack and mine for your lunch.
To keep your PMA (positive mental attitude) on the approach, think of the last few hundred feet as a warm-up climb, rather than the part that makes you wonder how you will rock climb if you’re sucking wind on the hike.
To keep your PMA about the chipmunks, put your lunch in a sealed container, not a baggie they can chew through.
Also, think of them as chimp punks. Or monk chips. Whichever makes you smile when you find one inside your backpack.
Choose good names
Like many areas, Lumpy has some stellar route names.
My favorite is Crack of Fear. Which I am too afraid to climb. It’s not a favorite climb, just a favorite name.
A good name can be amusing and thus distracting from the imminent fear of offwidths and tricky gear in flaring cracks.
Top pick: Magical Chrome Plated Semi Automatic Enema Syringe, a 5.7 on The Pear.
Lumpy’s stellar granite can make you think your shoes have a Velcro finish.
This is important because you might end up running out a stretch of slab on this sticky granite, and thinking “Velcro!” might help you stay calm.
If staying calm isn’t an option, screaming “Velcro!” can be a keyword to help you pucker. And pucker is a funny word to use when you’re telling stories about trying not to poo on your climb later on at Ed’s Cantina over a marg.
Here are some tips for climbing offwidths — those monster cracks that swallow limbs but not your entire body — at Lumpy:
Wear long sleeves, pants, and tape your ankles and hands for the ensuing battle.
Use every body part for friction against the rock.
Swear, grunt or squeal like a stuck pig, because you basically are one. Some time next year, your offwidth adventures will be funny, and you can laugh about your grunting, which was heard all the way back in Boulder.
But it’s not funny yet, so I’ll shut up.
Look away from the wall
After the stress of the lead over that runout or whatever, hang back and look around at the views down to the Estes valley and up to Longs Peak.
Good views. Especially for a stuck pig.