Spring is here! In some ways, not a lot has changed for me these past few months. We're still mostly staying at home, and I still haven't been to the gym in over a year. Part of that caution, though, was in preparation for one thing that actually did change, since little girl number two joined us in mid-February. It's been a busy month of figuring out new patterns, and while my climbing hasn't been as adventurous, it's been just as fun. Rather than long walks through the woods (okay, I still sneak in a couple of those), climbing days have more frequently meant taking the girls to a relatively roadside boulder, letting everyone play around for a couple hours, and then having a picnic afterward. Not a bad place to be.
For a couple weeks we were going to a spot downhill from Bushwhack, within sight of the road. I don't know what any of it is, but there were some fun short slabs and one boulder with a short overhang on the downhill side. While I was initially drawn to the mantle up the center, my favorite line was bumping out to the right arete and then compressing until I could get my feet over the lip to walk up the slab.
This week we've been visiting the Westview parking boulders at Sugarloaf, which I hadn't climbed for years. The slab there is as much fun to play on as I remembered, though I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed the Secondhand Smoke arete. If I had to name the best V2 I'd climbed, this thing would easily be in the top few.
Yesterday I got on something that I don't remember doing before, starting to the left as for Third Degree Burn, but finishing more or less straight up instead of traversing right to the arete.
As my paternity leave is wrapping up, our weekday climbing/picnic sessions will be on hold until summer, but I'm hoping to get in some good afternoons at Northwest Branch. Back in January I went down there and checked out the little boulder by the river behind Hobo Cave, and I can't believe it doesn't get way more traffic. The right arete was fun, and the left slab exit was okay, but going from the low crimp rail straight out to the point was one of the better lines I've climbed at NWB, with solid holds and really fun movement all the way.
Speaking of Northwest Branch, Dana and I put together a guide for Gunks Apps, which we plan to keep updating. While a lot of it is information that you can find elsewhere, we're hoping some people will find it useful. If you check it out and notice any mistakes (there have been several), let us know and we'll fix them in future updates.
Until next time!