Thursday, October 13, 2016

Old Rag throwback

It's been a while since I've done much serious climbing, most recently because I came off of a week of being sick just in time to hurt my back at the New.  I'd like to say I did it fighting through the crux of some 5.Ridiculous route, but it actually happened while warming up on the first morning of our trip. More specifically, stepping from one rock to another while walking away from our first warmup boulder, and I think trying to simultaneously duck a tree branch and not drag my foot through poison ivy, when everything in my lower back fired and reduced me to spectating for the rest of the weekend.  At least I didn't get poison ivy.

The past couple weeks have been a lot of hangboarding, and I can somehow still run 7-8 miles without any trouble, plus I can finally sit in the car for reasonable lengths of time without completely stiffening up.  And I actually was able to make it out for a session at Carderock yesterday.  Not the hardest climbing I've ever done, but just being out there in this gorgeous weather was nice enough.

But getting back to why I started typing in the first place...

I somehow never posted about it, but I finally made it down to climb at Old Rag back in August!  Not just walking up the trail or bouldering at the base, but actually dragging our gear up for some routes.

First off, the views alone were worth it!

We spent most of our time around the Sunset Walls, with a little detour as Chris attempted to locate a few routes he'd spied on a previous walk around.  Even that was fun, with scrambling across pits and through caves that was every bit as physical as some of the routes we did, with equally good scenery along the way.

My favorite routes of the day were at Middle Sunset.  We all started off on Frigid Air, with great stances all the way up the dihedral and plenty of big gear.  Even better was Dark Side of the Moon, the slightly more delicate slab face to the right.  Just my style!

                                                    Chris Irwin on Frigid Air
I also appreciated Peter's precision slinging technique on another corner we found ourselves in...

                                                                              Peter Jensen on The Arborist
After hearing about it for so long, I was glad that Old Rag didn't disappoint.  Between all of the routes I want to go back for now that it's cooled a bit, and the boulders we saw on the approach, I can hear that beautiful granite calling me.

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