I must have pedaled past this wall on the Cherry Creek bike path 200 times in the past five years, and every time, I thought, “I wonder if you could do some bouldering on that thing?” It looked like well-featured flagstone blocks, from what I could see at 12 mph anyway. If you live in Denver and ride a bike, you’ve probably seen it, or at least ridden right by it.
How many times did I stop and actually put my hands on the wall in five years? Zero. Just kept riding on by, every time, glancing over, thinking the same thing, and forgetting about it. I was always in too much of a hurry to get somewhere.
I’m not much of a climbing gym guy — nothing against gyms, I’d just rather get a workout outside. Because of this, I am weak. A couple years ago, I was getting out enough on real rock to be a pretty strong climber. But lately, things have gotten busy for me, to the point that I’m staying home one or both days each weekend to write. So I’m getting really weak. Like if I try to lead a 5.10 sport climb, there’s a 100% chance that I’ll strain something in one of my shoulders. I keep spending more and more time at a computer, thinking, Wow, I’d really like to climb hard this year. And then I do nothing, and get older and weaker.
Until a couple nights ago, when I remembered this wall, on the bike path. It’s a 15-minute ride from my apartment, so I packed my shoes and pedaled down there, finally stopping, finally putting my hands on the wall. I slipped my shoes on and started picking my way around, trying to find a V0 line all the way across the wall, maybe 40 feet.
Besides the pigeon shit and dirt covering everything, this wall is inner-city heaven for a weak climber. Dozens of crimpy holds dot the wall all the way across, and for the most part, decent-sized footholds. And nothing breaks off. I took my friend Brian back the next night and took a few photos of him — I’d love to go back on a sunny day when there’s some decent evening light.
Lesson learned; sometimes you really do have to stop and smell the roses, or climb on the unintentional urban climbing wall.
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