Thursday, December 18, 2008

This post is coming from Wayne and Darlene's comfy blue chair in snowy Milwaukee. The past couple of weeks have been nuts in our travel schedule. We ended up not going south to Little River as the camping was sketchy at best. It was cruxy finding a campsite anywhere near the canyon and once we found one, it was right next to the highway, no bathrooms, well hell let's just lay it out, it was part of the front lawn in a trailer park and they wanted $12 a night to park there, screw that! We came back up to Chattanooga and fought the weather there for a few more days before we drove back north to the Red.

The forecast said it was going to be beautiful and we were psyched on finishing some undone projects. It's become apparent to us that the good Lord doesn't want us to have good weather this winter. We drove back to a deserted Lago Linda's in a downpour, parked, and went to bed with visions of sun and dry rock. We woke up to four inches of snow and drip drip drip at the crag. After four days in the Scamp, we nearly strangled each other in our sleep. We ended up getting two days of lovely weather before we bailed to Wisconsin. Our conversations lately keep drifting back to how we can alter our lifestyles to come back to Kentucky next fall. I can say without hesitation that the Red River Gorge is the best crag I've ever been to, period!

That's all the stuff of the past though now. Wayne and I are watching TV and looking at the weather forecast which is calling for 13 inches of snow tonight, whoopee! Lin and I fly out to Costa Rica on Tuesday, we're praying for good weather and clear roads by then because we have to drive down to Chicago Monday night. We've got all our travel needs met I think, 30z bottles of bug spray, sun screen, and toothpaste. I need a pair of swimming goggles yet (and a speedo, don't tell Lindsay ;). When we get back, we'll head back to Kentucky, pick up the Scamp, and make for Rocktown GA to start bouldering. It looks like we'll be in the southeast yet for Jan. at Rocktown and Horsepens 40 and then Hueco Tanks for Feb. If I don't update before we leave the country, the next post will be accompanied by lovely pictures of exotic birds, fish, and scantily clad Wyoming-ites!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We may not have any more Internet access after this morning so we're filling in the pieces for the next two weeks before we go to Costa Rica. We've been in Jasper Tennessee for the last week, climbing at Foster Falls State Park, or Chosster Falls like we call it. The sandstone here is still bullet hard but it's not compact like the Red. This rock is more blocky, which means smaller holds, bigger holds, and nothing in between. It's been fun climbing more technical routes, humbling at times too. We're afraid to fall again, mostly we figure from the fact that the walls are just off of vertical and aren't the huge sweeping overhangs like the stone up north.

Lindsay's climbing really well here, she fell one move shy of flashing a .13a two days ago. Unfortunately the cold weather is following "the Whippets" (that's what we've been dubbed by all our new friends). Judging by the national weather map, it's not just us. The entire southeast is caught in a cold snap and it's taking it's sweet time moving on. Henceforth, we've been relegated to relying solely on the weather forecast and if it says that one hour south it's 20% sunnier and four degrees warmer, we head south. So this morning we're packing up and heading to Little River Canyon in northern Alabama. Our friend Tyler is giving us the proper locals tour and if I remember correctly, the rock is slightly more solid than Chosster Falls.

We've got two more weeks of climbing before we head back north to Milwaukee/Chicago to fly down to San Jose Costa Rica with the rest of the Gasch clan. Eight days on the south western peninsula and back again before we start the bouldering leg of the trip. Hopefully the gods will smile on us and bless us with some sunny weather, both here in the states and down south. We'll try to work out an Internet connection in Fort Payne and update before we leave for Costa Rica.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rain, Dead Jellyfish, Stromboli, a.k.a. The Usual
















I'm writing this from my uncle Ron's super plush leather recliner (it slides too). We've enjoyed the last few days in North Carolina doing nothing but eating and drinking, mostly eating. We left Kentucky almost a week ago, reluctantly I might add. On our last climbing day, I finished off my "easy" project BOHICA .13b and headed to Kaleidoscope .13c, only to fall on the finishing move and taking a HUGE fall. It was heart breaking but not as heart breaking as the weather. We spent the early part of the week in Raleigh with Lindsay's brother and his family. We had a blast being reintroduced television, central heating, and carpet. Thu, Vance's wife, cooked us some amazing meals while our nieces, Vivian and Natalie, reminded us how weird we are and helped us regain some sense of modern society.










Yesterday and today found us further south in Sunset Beach at my aunt and uncle's place right near the beach. We packed in a ton of firsts today including the ocean, dead sharks and jellyfish, a live alligator, a cheap beach store, and a huge Stromboli feed tonight for dinner. Tomorrow, we'll hook back up to "Gwendoline the Ivory Palace" (aka the Scamp) and point her west to Chattanooga and hopefully, dry rock. The rain has continued to follow us and it's giving us a serious case of the piss-offs. The extended forecast is looking good for the next couple of weeks before we head to Costa Rica. With any luck we'll enjoy our final weeks of rope climbing in the sun with nice crispy temps. Or we may muck it out in the rain, either way we're climbing!





Sunday, November 23, 2008

Moving On...

I titled this post Moving On... for a reason, a couple of reasons really. To keep with the theme of this blog I'll start with the basics. Lin and I are moving on from the Red, the weather is starting to get increasingly unreliable. The forecast for the next two weeks is rain, snow, and cold. Today was the most perfect day of the trip though. Blue skies, zero clouds, sun, and 50 degrees. Perfect. On Wednesday we're heading for North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with Lindsay's brother and his family. We're really looking forward to seeing them and to some down time. We have mixed feelings about leaving - we finally feel strong and hard routes are feeling easier and easier. It's time we see new crags, meet new people, and experience new things though.

A couple of nights ago, our dear friend took her own life in back in Lander. We are at a loss for words. A vibrant and beautiful person, she was always smiling and laughing, the first to tell you how happy she was for you in whatever seemed to be going on in your life. It's so hard to know what happened to lead to this outcome. We can only hope that she has found peace wherever she may be. Leslie felt that it was her time to move on to something else, we can only hope it's a better place than where she felt she was. For all of us left behind, we're left with questions that will never be answered, the hardest part of all, knowing full well that we must all move on too.

Life is curious...just about the time we think we have "a good bead on things", we're reminded, sometimes violently, that we don't. Leslie left this world a better place, impacting so many people in so many wonderful ways that words cannot describe. Like my mother always used to say, "be at your station". I never took too much heed of this phrase but I'm starting to grasp it a little firmer nowadays. We must all take advantage of every moment given to us, because in the end, we all have to move on...

In Loving Memory of Leslie Paul - You Will Be Missed

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bad Weather

We're cowering back in the camper right now, we tried to climb today but DAMN was it cold! We are still in Kentucky at the moment, though we fled to Tennessee for a few days at the beginning of the week. It was gorgeous down there, sunny, warm, new routes! As we were sitting around eating dinner, our friend Bentley looked at his fancy phone and told us that the weather was clearing in Kentucky and that it looked good for a few days. We pondered over a drink or two what might be the best option. We packed up and came back up north. This morning, at 7:00 the sun was shining brightly and I couldn't help but think "alright, we made a good decision." I shouldn't have spoken so soon. True to form it hasn't rained or snowed on us like it did this past weekend, but the high today was 30 degrees. Now 30 and sun is fine, sure it's a bit chilly at the belay but it's do-able. Today however, was not 30 and sun, it was 30 and sun-for-five-minutes-then-clouds-then-a-peek-of-sun-then-nothing-but-clouds....then some wind. The route I'm trying to finish up is well within my abilities, I've one hung it twice now after only five tries. The crux hold is a shallow, sloping pocket that must be taken just so in order to do the next move. If taken correctly, the move doesn't feel hard at all, just another link in the chain. But if the pocket is taken poorly or incorrectly, well then, the following move is totally hit or miss. Today if felt great, up until the sun went away and the rock got downright frigid. I took the pocket quickly due to the numbness in my hand, didn't get it quite right, and fell mid move again. Drat. If anyone reading this has any warm weather, even just a degree or two, that you aren't using, could you send it here a.s.a.p.? The whole of the Red River Gorge would thank you greatly! I have to go soak my hands in boiling water now....until next time....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Drizzle...

Apologies for not writing sooner, but the communication links here at Linda's have been rather wonky the last couple weeks. Lots of peoples phones have ceased working properly and the Internet is a constant struggle. Today it seems up to snuff so hopefully I can get this typed up before it all crashes again. The last two weeks has seen the weather change dramatically for us. Previously it's been mild, dry, and sunny with temperatures ranging in the mid to upper sixties. Lately, however; it's been cold with highs in the forties and low fifties with lots of rain, mist, fog, and the dreaded condensation. We tried to go to the crags today, as you can tell, we're NOT climbing at the moment. When we first got to the Motherlode and asked how conditions were, our friend Dario said "the Undertow is dripping...the cave, SOAKED..." We promptly tucked our tails and ran for a different wall, one we thought might by dry due to it's higher position on the ridge, it was moist to the touch as well, DAMN!

The weather doesn't look like it's going to improve that much so I guess we'll just have to make due for the next two weeks. We've both got routes that we really want to do before we leave, routes that we're both VERY close on. My last try on BOHICA in the Madness Cave was a battle of epic proportions. My first try (history: Six years ago I climbed on this route twice, both times climbing with the aid of a small, green laser pointer. My friends who were well versed in the routes movement sat at the base and pointed to the easiest sequence of grips all the way up, as I was climbing i.e. I didn't have to remember ANY of the climbing.) this trip, I flew up the route. BOHICA is NOT my style of climbing at all, there are no real difficult moves, just lots and lots of sustained climbing with little opportunity for rest. My last go on the route, I was climbing like the rock was flypaper and I had wings. I was at the top, staring at the finishing clip, in a matter of a few minutes, I was on top of the world! BUT (notice the capital letters) I didn't complete my ascent. I was so pumped, I couldn't clip. Literally I was so tired that I couldn't let go for three seconds with one hand to put the rope through the anchors. I dug deeper than I ever have before and I TRIED to clip. What happened instead was that I fell roughly 60-70 feet with tons of extra rope out. The fall itself was fun, it's an odd feeling to be in the air that long, but once I came to rest on the end of the rope, the shock, dismay, and overall feeling of failure washed over me. I left the crag with my head hung low :(.

Lindsay has been trying a notoriously difficult route called Golden Touch, right near BOHICA. Her first day on the route, she very quickly deciphered the crux moves and it looked like victory was at hand. As all climbers know however, each route has what we call a "redpoint crux", though not necessarily the hardest moves, they are the moves that seem most difficult on the redpoint or "clean ascent" try. My guess is at this point that Lin has fallen from the redpoint crux of Golden Touch at least a dozen times, only falling at the hardest moves once or twice. Normally this would spur a climber on to try harder, dig a little deeper, in the case of Golden Touch, not so much. The crux hold is an edge, not much wider than a quarter is thick. If you think I'm exaggerating, you can Google the route name and look at what previous climbers have said about it. In grabbing this hold relatively low in the route, over and over and over again, my wife's lovely hands have been reduced to hamburger. We'd been prepping for this route all weekend long, climbing only routes that wouldn't hurt her already fragile skin. When we got there yesterday, she looked strong on the warm ups. I was set to belay her on the actual climb and then take some photos, it was all just perfect. Then...on the redpoint attempt...she filleted...notice I didn't say sliced...her finger tip. The session was over.

Being so close on these routes (and others also) makes all the in climate weather that much more frustrating. We were talking with our friend Brendon the other night and we all agreed that when you're on the road, time doesn't matter. Week days and weekends don't exist any more, they're just days. Climbing days aren't that important either because you have SO many of them...UNTIL you hit the two week period. That's the two week period before you know you're leaving what ever area you're at. We are IN that two week period and we're having to sacrifice valuable days, valuable tries, waiting for good weather. With any luck, we'll have three or four more "good" days before we leave for North Carolina. We should both have very good chances of doing the routes we want to in that time frame. If we fail in that task, you all my have to start sending X-mas cards to Site 14 Lago Linda Place! Be well all of you, hopefully winter's icy grip hasn't tightened yet and you are all still out enjoying some of natures greatest gifts. Adios!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Resting

Resting is good, it is very, very good. Today is our second day off and we've realized it should have been our third. We've been hitting pretty hard lately, climbing every two days then taking one day off. It looks good on paper, in a five day period we're climbing four. That's the kind of thinking we had in Lander, "if only we could climb all week long and just take one day off"! It doesn't really work that way unfortunately. We are TRASHED! This place is so much more physical than other areas. Given the fact that we're coming at this endeavor with no training and very little prior exercise, it's taking it's toll on our bodies. Lindsay's finger is much better, it's still a little stiff in the a.m. but that's about it (whew!....we call that dodging a bullet). The last two days on we climbed as much as we could, over twenty pitches combined (a pitch is the length of one climb, typically here about 100 feet). Unfortunately we don't have any hard sends to show for it, Lin is TERRIBLY close on a .13a and .13b, and I do stress the word TERRIBLY. I....well....I haven't done much, I've been onsighting a bunch of really good hard .12's but fail to get psyched on projects here. To climb at a hard grade (5.13+ or better) here, you need to possess massive endurance. All the harder routes here are mega pump challenges, a type of climbing that I'm just not good at.

This week we're going to get agro though and start digging in and fighting a little harder. We've buffered our diet to accommodate a more rigorous schedule, we have a new rope (thank you Miguel for the swingin' deal), and we're ready to start ticking boxes! The weather is a concern as it has been very cold lately. As I look outside at our $1 dollar thermometer it shows a balmy 37 degrees with cloudy skies and occasional mist. The cold here sucks. I take back all the things I said about Wyoming being cold and crappy. At least in Wyoming it isn't wet and cold. When we check the weather in the morning before we head out, we pay as much attention to the humidity and the dew point as we do the temperature. If the ambient gets down to the same number as the dew point, the moisture starts to condense. The walls here suck up all that water and then the walls literally weep. It's a bizarre and radical phenomenon but alas it puts the kibosh on climbing for at least a day, maybe more depending on the forecast. Today we're right at the border line, if it gets any colder, we're hosed. Tomorrow is supposed to be better, all the way up to 51! Looks like we'll be heading for some of those sunny crags.

We've been hanging out with some fun kids from Knoxville on the weekends though. It's amazing how many people come for those two days, the other morning, I walked out the door and a snoring gentleman had set up his bivy sack right under our towels and airing laundry. Not because he liked our downy fresh linens, no, the campground was just that full. Anyway, our new friends from Knoxville come up each Friday night, we have a HUGE dinner in which everyone throws in a large dish of whatever and then we climb on the weekdays together. It's a bit like home, we eat big, drink big, climb a little, and heckle and joke each other off of climbs we have well under control. I think we'll bring some of my famous Ramen Surprise this week, oh yeah that reminds me, we have a costume party to go to this weekend. We went to the costume store in Lexington yesterday, we could have had a lot of fun with some of the outfits but we needed to keep the costumes within the "kid appropriate" range. So ultimately we'll be going as Fred and Daphne from Scooby Doo. The outfits are hideous and if we go anywhere near an open flame, we're toast. It should be a lot of fun. Pictures to follow!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rest Day Activities...

So Linda has opened up the Cafe for us today to just hang out in. It's great! It's a mild 65 degrees outside but it feels COLD due to the last week of high 80's. As I look around, people are occupying themselves with various rest day ventures. Business dealings, thank you notes, anatomy and physiology research, blogging (that would be me), campground sign printing, cooking, tea drinking, general climbing gossip, and Linda is shouting on the phone (she's loud...all the time)! Resting today was an absolute necessity due to the serious nature of our climbing yesterday.

We hit up two crags, the Shady Grove and Bronaugh Wall, both of which stay dry in a downpour (which it did yesterday). Adam Avery, my wonderful beer sponsor, finally arrived in Kentucky and climbed with us and we hit it hard! We only did five pitches but since it was our second day on they felt hard. We did a .12b called Far From God after warming up, brilliant. For me it was the pivotal route, I onsighted all the way to the top, hung out on a jug, rested, and realized "if this thing was 80 feet longer, I'd be fine). My two weeks are up and I finally feet good! Just to prove it to myself, we went to the other wall and I saddled up to a stout little .12c called Belly of the Beast (it wasn't really little, more like 90 feet) with the intention of onsighting it as well (for all the non climbers, an onsight is when you ascend a route without falling, but have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the climbing, essentially the hardest type of ascent). Threw it down like a pair of dirty socks!

We've got nothing but gorgeous weather ahead of us for the next five days, guess we'll have to learn to enjoy this darned perfect weather!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Holler Robbery

We had a very interesting climbing experience yesterday. We could tell once we left the ground on our warm ups that it was a high gravity day (for all the non-climbers, a high gravity day is an as of yet undocumented phenomenon in which all persons climbing in any given geographical region, unexplainable become much much heavier. It probably doesn't really exist but some days you just feel really damned heavy)! I took two runs on Snooker, a super fun .13a in the Motherlode. True to Leif form, I hung, bobbled, clawed, and fell my way up the route on my first go. My second go was infinitely better, surprising even me when I battled my way to the rest just before the anchors. I was tired but knew I had just enough to get to the chains, fighting as hard as I have in a while, I gave one final burst of energy, placed my feet and launched for the finishing jug.... I didn't catch it however, my right foot broke and sent me hurtling out away from the wall screaming f*@$^r"! I was robbed. Climbers say that all the time when they're so close to victory and then fail, but most of the time it's just an excuse for lack of stamina or poor route knowledge. No, not this time, I was truly robbed. I had it in the bag and it was TAKEN from me. Now I'm not bitter, oh no, I'm just fine and dandy with the whole stinking mess. Lindsay had a less than thrilling go on one of her projects to the left of Snooker called 8 Ball. We hung our heads and ran for the car thinking another cliff might be a wise option.

We ended up at the Gallery, a normally popular area but with the big Rocktober Fest this weekend, all the climbers were at the Motherlode watching the nations hardest athletes do battle on the Undertow wall. What happened at the Gallery was unexpected too. Lindsay took three runs on a severely overhanging crack called Break the Scene. That little beauty checks in at .12b, not THAT tough but in hindsight, I did it once, lowered and said "thank God I never have to do that again". Lindsay too fell at the anchors, twice, going for the chains. She waited quietly for about an hour and said "I think I'll have another go...", who was I to argue? She hiked it, crushed, dispatched, just plain ole' flew up the thing. It was inspiring. Which caused me to try the .13b to it's left and after begging to be shot from the pain in my forearms due to said 5.13, feeling the urge to go back up Break the Scene. It took me ten minutes to untie my knot when I got down. In the end, we each did six pitches, which here is like, 600 feet of climbing (we're used to six pitches equaling 300 feet of climbing). We came home exhausted and beaten, Lindsay chalking one up for team Wyoming, the rock still winning in the greater scheme though.

To quench our sorrows (and our thirsts) we drank margaritas last night...we drank a shit load of margaritas! It's noon now and my head is finally starting to feel better; eggs, bacon, potatoes, and water with Emergen-C in it are on the menu. We may see if we can't find a nap or two this afternoon. Tomorrow, we'll head back out into the fray, given that our skin and muscles are ready to be worked over again. Tuesday marks our second week here, by a mutual Red River Gorge climbing belief held by most everyone, two weeks is the break in "magic number" period. Meaning that after two weeks of climbing here, you become much stronger. We'll see....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ticks, Produce, & The Quest For More Power...


Ticks. Do I really need to say anything else? The wildlife here in KY is so much different from anything back west. That's really a large part of why I love it here so much, all the different smells, sounds, and sights. But the plants all seem to be harmful in some way and the insects look like they're from Borneo. Which brings me back to the ticks. Lindsay found this TINY little black bug on Amico the other night. "Is that a tick, I think it's a tick" she said. Being the foremost expert on everything outdoors I casually replied, "of course it's not a tick, it's WAY too small". Yet again I was wrong. The ticks here are small, very, very small. And there are many of them, I stress the word many. I think all told we found about 25 on Amico. Turns out they don't like people much and after a few doses of doggy bug dope they'll be all but a memory. Doesn't change the fact that they're still nasty little bastards.

On the upside of life here, we found some really kick ass produce today at the Kroger in Richmond. Nice large Avocados, big Sweet Potatoes, and the best part, they have a running tally of how many products are organic. The grocery stores all try to out-do each other on the count of organic goods...Ah Bliss. I suppose the high quality victuals comes from the insanely fertile soil in the area, hence all the "hollows" one shouldn't go exploring due to the high probability of stumbling upon a ripe cannabis crop. It's common-place here I guess, in Wyoming we have oil, here they have pot, go figure.

We rested today, getting groceries, doing laundry, and resting our aching, aching bodies. We climbed at an area called the Midnight Surf, a new area in the Muir Valley. All the routes are labeled with four or five stars, the highest acclaim a guidebook can give a route. Typically I'm sceptical of those kinds of walls, the chances that ALL the routes are really that good are slim. The Surf though...exceeded all our expectations. Imagine the easiest 5.8 jug haul you've ever been on, now cock it back to 45 degrees and extend it to 110 feet. We had a blast, got pumped out of our minds though. Pumped stupid, to the point where when we lowered to the ground it was hard to form full sentences. We did manage to send a route, just one though. Getting strong here is hard, and takes time. All in all though, enjoyable, and we're making progress, slow but steady. Our new digs make it easy to recover so maybe if the monsoon misses us tomorrow, we'll have another stab at it. Until then...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Home Sweet Home...

So we're here in Kentucky, with what may be the slowest e-mail connection known to man, I can send a message to the building where the router is at, run to the building, and arrive there before my message does. Okay, maybe it's not quite that bad but it IS slow. That seems to be the only down side of our new digs. We relocated from Miguels on night three. Now we love Miguel, what a great guy! He remembered us and told us to set up shop and help ourselves to whatever we needed. There were these Canadians though... Damned Canadians, always so damned friendly and helpful... They told us about this hidden oasis called Lago Linda's. We'd both heard of this place in the past but I always remembered what people had said about it, "it's a retirement home dude". We decided to check it out after our first day here. It's as close to paradise as you can get in Lee County Kentucky. It's a retired horse farm, 410 acres of beautifully groomed fields and paths, turned climber friendly campground. All the amenities too, big, clean bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, full hookups at all camp sites (water, electric), oh yeah and a nice big lake with boats and fish and frogs and everything! It's awesome.

The real downer is that we've gotten to know the grounds REALLY well. I came down with a nasty sinus/head cold a few days ago and we've been doing more chillin' than climbin'. Tomorrow looks promising though, I'm definitely on the mend and the weather is looking gorgeous. Thus far we've only checked out reletively new crags (at least to us anyway). These smaller, less travelled hollows seem to be the real deal. Drive By, The Gallery, Muir Valley, all really great walls with loads of super fun routes. There have been 300 plus routes put up since the last guide came out and even our new guide book is outdated. We've been supplimenting it each day from www.redriverclimbing.com which has been a God-send. And true to form, the routes here are still steeper than anything back home and still pack all the fun pumpy goodness they did before. Tomorrow we head for the Midnight Surf wall to check out what are being called "instant classics" by all who've done them. Jug, throw, jug, throw, etc, etc, etc. Was getting back in shape always this hard?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicago



Well Lin and I just got back from Chicago on Wednesday night, sort of the fancy part of our honeymoon. Wayne and Darlene put us up at The Sofitel at Water Tower, Google it if you have a minute. We checked out some amazing food, crazy people, and a monstrous city (it's like the third largest in the US). We saw the Art Institute which was VERY cool for me since it houses many of the paintings I studied in college art courses. We also hit up the Field Museum, amazing to say the least. I finally got to see the lions from the movie The Ghost & The Darkness. They're featured in the African Mammals section, they killed over 140 railroad workers trying to push the iron horse through Africa. They're big and kinda scary looking, way cool.

We party down this weekend at our reception here in Wisconsin, then next week, we gear up for destination #1. We're not sure if it's going to be Southern Illinois or The Red, weather dependant, and apparently it's a booger to try and navigate a river crossing to check out the So Ill stuff. We've been trying to "train" here in the gym, what a struggle! I'm sure you can imagine what it must be like trying to climb on plastic, with 80% humidity outside, 68 degrees, and not a lot of air flow. Good training. We certainly don't feel like we're getting much stronger but it's better than not climbing for a month. In Chicago, a man in a wheel chair rolled by us and said "keep smiling, you got a Charlies Angel right there, yeah, keep smiling"... Sweet...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Hillary Step...

So for all the climbers, you guys know that famous photo of the two guys roped up climbing the Hillary step on Everest and the rope is blowing out straight sideways....that's what the first belay on Hollywood & Vine was like yesterday. To start the day off, we got really BAD beta on route finding from Rockclimbing.com. The route they said existed and was awesome was only a couple of old 1/4 inch button heads and not good at all. Finally we got to the belay, and the wind was pushing Lindsay off her stance. The 10c pitch looked glorious but we would have finished the day divorced if I had gone on to lead the 166 foot monster. We retreated around the corner to the more sheltered Soler.
For those of you who haven't done Soler or haven't climbed at Devils Tower, let me let you in on a little secret....that shit is sandbagged! By far the most exhausting and trying lead of my life. I was laughing the whole way up but I was gripped and tired to the point of puking by the time I got to the hanging belay. I am not a trad master, I fancy myself one as I sit in the chair looking at pictures of heinously thin finger cracks. When it comes down to the off fingers and off hands cracks and smeary feet for 160 feet, I kinda suck. I did it clean and it TOTALLY went on my 8a card but DAMN! We bailed after that and hit the road, we're currently kicking it at Al's Oasis in Chamberlain SD. We may hit up La Crosse this afternoon for some midwest sandstone if it's not raining, otherwise, we plan to sit in the car for 6-9 hours. I hate driving in the midwest, it's flat, there's lots of trucks, and not a damn thing to look at. But beyond the midwest lies...The Southeast....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Getting Ready



Hello and welcome to Lin and I's blog spot. We're trying this out so that we can keep everyone updated on where we're at and what we're doing. Check back often for updates on current and future destinations. To get things started, we rocked BJ and Emily's wedding this weekend, had a BLAST! Today it's rainy, kinda gloomy, overcast, perfect...fall's in the air! On the agenda today is our final packing, getting the camper set up just so, double checking we have enough gear and decks of cards. Tomorrow we head east, most likely to Devils Tower to plug some gear. A day or two there at most, Dad may come over and hang out for a bit which would be awesome. We are so excited to finally be on the open road. We'll try and post as often as possible, a.k.a. wherever we get a wireless signal (can you still park in Holiday Inn lots and get service)? We'll see you soon... Adios!
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