For Christmas 1997, me and Victor  wandered around Colorado.

Our first stop was Elevenmile Canyon, which is somewhere west of Colorado Springs, in the South Platte region (named after the river with the same name). This canyon is flanked by innumerable granite cliffs, mostly domes which offer lots of slab climbing. Not exactly a climbers paradise (some people just hate slabs), but with enough routes in our ability range to keep us busy for a few days. We had good weather, without the sun it would have been way too cold to climb, but we did not count on the slabs holding a bunch of snow, which made most of the routes inaccessible. We found that out on the first day; having gotten there fairly late we eyed a face that would stay in the sun for the rest of the day, but failed to get to it, as the bottom of the said face was covered with a thin layer of snow. No holds to see, no friction possible because it was all wet, 3d class climbing turned into impossible. Anyways we climbed a gully that was full of crud, and rapped in the dark over this steep pillar to the side of the gully. Neat feeling, rapping in the dark.

The next two days were spent fighting the cold, with some climbing thrown in for good measure. We scrambled to the top of Elevenmile Dome, after I passed on a 5.4 crack that Victor wanted to climb (it was full of snow and ice), we climbed the classic beginner route in the canyon (Staircase, 5.5), and we failed to reach the summit of Turret Dome (the final summit slab -- with snow -- was just too sketchy to try without protection), or an adjacent summit dome (more of the same). The Staircase was fun, and it looks way harder than it is, especially from a distance. It was neat to actually climb in mountaineering boots, too bad I grabbed the slings at the crux. To this day, it is one of the more memorable climbs I've ever done. The snow-covered canyon, with a million different glitters, made for a spectacular setting to a great route.