Thursday, April 18, 2013

Walks in the woods

Sometimes exploring is half the fun.  Many people reminisce about childhoods spent wandering the woods with friends.  Some of us promise ourselves that we'll never grow out of it.

A couple weeks ago I went back out to Sugarloaf with Jon and his friend Logan, not with any particular projects in mind, but simply to find something we hadn't yet climbed.  Starting out on Secondhand Smoke, we worked our way up the hill to an interesting boulder that Jon had been looking at, a diamond shaped slab perched on top of other rocks at hip height so that the crux was really just getting up onto it.  From there we went toward the main climbing area of the summit, and got on one of the boulders that we'd seen from the trail before but never had a chance to check out.  Two of the faces had cool little lines that had obviously seen some traffic recently, and there looked like potential for another fun line coming out of a small overhang.

At that point we had to get Logan back down to his car, but rather than calling it a day Jon and I drove out to the Ephraim area to play on our new favorite boulder for a bit.  Jon quickly pieced together his project on the right side, and I did a direct start to Awakening that's almost as fun as the original.  I have a feeling the approach to that one will be a jungly mess in a couple months time, so I definitely wouldn't turn down a couple more trips there in the meantime!

                                                                                            Photo: Jon Alexander
Two days later Sean and I headed west again, with the intent of showing him the Acre and then walking back to Bushwhack so he could finish Visions, which had been his project last time out there.  After reaching the Acre, we left our pads in the corridor area while we walked down toward the pit area so he could figure out which problems he wanted to get on.  Once there, I realized it would be the perfect time to check out another area a few minutes further down the ridge, which I had also visited on my first trip to the Acre but had been unable to reach a few months afterward through the dense walls of vines.  There's not a whole lot there in comparison to the other concentrations of rock, and I certainly wouldn't tell people to go there if they wanted to get a lot of climbing done, but the view is pretty and I was happy to get on a short compression line that I'd seen before.  It almost reminded me of a really easy version of Stink, Stank, Stunk, but with a much sketchier landing.  Sean also found a boulder that caught his eye, a little finger of rock surrounded in vines with a fun semi-compression sequence.

                                                                                            Photo: Sean Espinoza
                                                                                             Photo: Sean Espinoza
The hardest part of the day was probably picking our way through the rocks to get back up to the Acre, but once there Sean quickly knocked out From the Dirt Comes Knock-Offs, Woozle, and Premise, and we both managed to send Beehad within a few tries.  I also sent Someone Get Her a Tiara after a couple goes, which got me breathing way harder than expected!

We didn't have enough sunlight left to get out to Bushwhack, but stopped on the way out to finish on one of my favorite little slabs.  Although Sean didn't quite manage Bitterness & Shadows, he pieced together Awakening and more than earned his multiple plates at the Pakistani buffet where we met Emily later.  For the record, I know laddu are meant to be for dessert, but I found them to be a perfectly acceptable breakfast as well!

This past weekend I got back out to Sugarloaf for probably my best session yet, with some of my favorite people.  After some runs on the warmup slab, Vince and Chris quickly took down Comatorium, the line on the right of the face, and Vince sent Reawakening (aka Awakening Direct) with little trouble.  Dan worked on a line in the center of the face that didn't go yet, but it was an impressive show from someone whose arm had recently been paralyzed for two months!  I also put in several attempts at an arete-free version of Reawakening, finally managing to send it on what I knew would be my last attempt of the day.  With that, Chris and I packed up and headed off to birthday parties and musicals, while the rest of the crew stayed around to explore for a bit.

It's been a great couple weeks, and it's been just as good to come online and see photos and videos of of others' walks in the woods.  So much good stuff going down.  So much to climb out there.


Shawn Seifert said...

Such a great boulder to find. Nice work guys. Greenflash of death from FCPX at the end. So annoying...

cadaverchris said...

Great write-up Robin. I'm stoked to get back out there!

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