One of my hobbies is rock climbing. (Outdoors, “trad”[itional]—where you climb in pairs with the lead climber “putting up” safety gear, and the second climber “cleaning” up said gear as they climb.) Climbing outdoors is generally, hot, sweaty, dirty, and rocks are hard—bumps, bruises, scrapes, are par for the course. Then there’s the “walk” (anything not climbing rocks is “walking”) to/from the climb which can sometimes be an hour+ of bush-wacking terrain. Sometimes you get caught in the rain. Bug bites are a foregone conclusion. O’dark-thirty early starts, long drives [unless you’re lucky to live/camp very near the “crag”]. There are things I like about rock climbing—but the pro’s/con’s isn’t want I want to write about today.
Rock climbing is best done in tune with the seasons and with the weather. So there’s a zen quality to having all your gear ready to go, keeping yourself [as best I can] in reasonable shape, talking with climbing friends about when we’re next going… and then simply waiting.
And then, “hey! tom is last good weather day this week,” shows up via message. Yes please!
Various photos of a few of the routes we worked on day three, in the Upper Gorge. This area is “trad[itional]” climbing. In many areas, hangers are bolted into the rock for clipping in safety gear. In this area, you have to bring your own hardware which you temporarily insert into the nooks and crannies of the rock.
Once we had our top rope up, we spent the rest of our daylight here. Staright up, dihedral with a 5.8 finger jam crack. Paste your feet on the right and bury your hands… four attempts, but I couldn’t quite pull this one off.
This wall was just a few degrees from vertical. Standing on tiny features like edge of a nickel. The upper lip is about 200 feet, and roofed out at least forty feet. Route started with this sheer, wet, mossy wall with a fist-jam crack (insert entire hand, make fist so it can’t come out and the walk up the wall :) Spent all day climbing all over this wall, and then one other route.
If you ask me, this was a pretty sweet place to start climbing! Super easy warm up… before we moved onto some much harder stuff. I can just barely climb the “easy” climbs here. Lots of insane over-hanging stuff that is way beyond me.
I did about 6 climbs in the afternoon before I was totally “burnt”. A couple of them were a grade or more above my best climbs the last time Mike and I were on the rocks. Really happy about that; Means my general “get in shape” continues to yield broad (health, life, parkour, climbing) benefits without my having to hyper-focus on specific sports.