Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gunks snowflakes

Sometimes we hold on to things long past the point when they've outlived their usefulness and, in realizing this, we owe it to ourselves to let go of the past and move forward in a more productive direction.  Robin's Bouldering Page has been a big part of my life over the past few years.  For a long time it was, as the name suggested, a page about me bouldering.  In looking back at recent posts however, I've noticed a clear trend of injuries and laziness relegating me to the role of chronicling others' bouldering exploits, especially those of my esteemed friend Charlie Garcia.  My trip to the Gunks with Charlie this past weekend only solidified this realization, and so effective at midnight, I'll be changing the name of this blog to more accurately reflect its current direction.  At the moment I'm leaning toward something like Robin's Watching Charlie Warm Up On His Bouldering Projects Page, but that might be a little long.  I have until midnight to think about it in any case.  I do promise to include the same amount of random food photos, such as the incredible pork belly tacos I had Saturday night at Mexicali Blue.

April Fools!  Well, at least about the name change.  I was totally serious about continuing to include gratuitous food photos, especially since my meals were easily the most successful part of the trip for me.

With a forecast high of around 37 degrees, Charlie and I opted for an early start Saturday morning to get us to the Gunks just as temps were getting manageable.  As it turned out, we got there just as the "possible" snow showers had reached their heaviest point.  Looking at how wet the roads were, and thinking the rocks wouldn't be much better, we took cover in Bacchus until the worst had passed.

As the snow died down, we decided to take our chances with the rocks.  The road became drier and drier as we approached, and we were happy to find most of the boulders dry, even if some of the approaches made me question my choice of a spring break destination.

After a lot of walking around, we finally settled on the Boxcar area, planning to warm up on the traverse before climbing the arete that we both had our sights on.  I took a short run to get my core temperature up, but probably should have done something to get my fingers moving a little more first, as my left middle finger soon made it clear that I wasn't going to get much climbing done.  Charlie made quick sends of Boxcar Arete and The Hump before we headed down for some good food and the warm hotel room that we had reserved in anticipation of the night's 20 degree low.

Sunday actually broke well into the 40s, and after meeting up unexpectedly with Andrew Chao and some of this friends, we almost forgot about the previous day's relative lack of productivity.

My continued ligament irritation left me unable to do much aside from some easy scrambling around, but Charlie managed a quick send of the tricky Lynn Hill Traverse.

He made even shorter work of the various Buddha variations, putting down Enlightened Buddha on what I think was his first attempt of the day.

We spent a little time on the only boulder that shut him down that day, but he somehow still had the energy for a second try send of Jackson Pollock on the way out.  I also shoed up for Boulder of the Gods in the interest of topping out at least one boulder to make the 5 hour drive worth it, though I made a point of grabbing the sides so that it didn't technically count as a send and blow my streak.

For my first time bouldering at the Gunks, or at least standing around while others did, I can definitely see why people like some of the boulders so much.  The are a few I'm looking forward to coming back to with a healthy finger for sure.  Still, this trip showed me that the Gunks will always be more of a trad destination for me, at least based on the amount of time I spent staring up past the boulders and jealous of the sounds of gear rattling high above.  Guess I probably shouldn't admit that on a bouldering blog though.  Forget I said anything.  Pebbles for life!

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