Six years ago I started working on a guidebook to the South Platte with Ben Schneider. About a year into it Craig Weinhold joined the team. Almost three years after that the Northern Volume to the Platte was released. With well over 1,500 routes, and most being multipitch, it was quite the undertaking. But it only documented half of the Platte, with literally hundreds of established, but undocumented lines from secret crags most had never heard of still remaining.
The journey was far from over, but sadly, Craig's time on our adventure had to come to an end. Well, not sad for Craig - he's an amazing dad now. Just sad for the book as he is also an amazing climber and writer. And then a month into the new volume, Ben tore his ACL and has basically been sidelined ever sense. So it's just me now... and while it's hard to fight back all the girls throwing themselves at guidebook authors, it can be difficult to stay motivated to find partners and when you can't do that, you're forced to rope solo all by yourself. But you do it by being hyper-organized and setting milestones for yourself. You celebrate when you finish a crag and you go out to dinner with your wife when you finish a chapter. And you threaten to punch your friends in the face when they add a new route to a chapter you've already finished and have to go back and climb it.
So where does the book stand now? Well it seems it is only right for the book to come full circle. The second volume started with a day at Sheep Nose and it only seems fit it should end there. And with Ben nonetheless. We started on the far left and climbed the iconic Ten Years After, a magnificent layback and stem corner that goes at the modest grade of 5.8. We returned to the scene of the crime for the last action shot for the book with my good friend Matt Clark, who was subjected to more bushwhacking and choss than any non-guidebook author deserves. While I can't thank him enough, hopefully this two-page chapter opener makes up for it in some respects.
We then ventured over to the remaining routes I needed to climb on the far right side. After watching torrential downpour after torrential downpour drop down on the formations all around us, including Turkey Rock only a few miles away, we decided to hightail it to the summit. Just as we got to the packs it started to rain on us and we called it a day, about two hours worth of climbing shy of completion.
Ben was gracious enough to come back with me the next day to finish off the few remaining pitches. And while I wish I could say we ended on a high note, at least we finished all the routes. Sadly, the majority of the climbing that day was the worst covered in the guidebook, but hey, at least I pulled some bail gear off the route, including a few (formerly) fixed pins with zero effort.
And as I type this I'm listening to the hum of my office printer as I print a hard copy to proof while on a family vacation back to the Midwest. So long as everything goes well, the book will be sent to the real printer as soon as I return. I owe a huge amount of gratitude to everyone that has come and climbed with me, has hiked around to look at formations with me, has offered up information, and just showed support in general. You guys are the reason I stayed motivated. Thank you all.