Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Acre Parte Dos

It's been a funky few months, filled with leaps and bounds climbing wise. Today was the first day I climbed outdoors in a long while and it was long overdue! PSYCHED!

I made my second trip to The Acre, a ridge of amazing rock within walking distance of the more popular area, Bushwhack Rock. My first trip was about a month ago with Vince, Robin and his family. Since Robin is a large contributor in the scene of the Maryland climbing it was like going out with a guide who knew all the boulder problems and their general grades.

This time was entirely different...

Only my dad and I went this time, besides a few GPS coordinates Robin had sent me over The Facebook and a few videos I had watched of some problems there, we were all on our own (I was surprised we didn't get lost...). Unaware of most established problems and their grades freed us to do anything that we thought looked cool. We were just there to play on the rocks, regardless of the grade, and I think that's how climbing should be (of course there is always a time to push your limits and grades help to narrow down the search). It turns out "cool" problems are high...


About 20 feet high... Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery right as we arrived so this was the only climb we got pictures of. Bummer Bummer Bummer. My dad managed to climb this one as well, topping out left instead taking the full height and going straight up like I did...

We then continued on the ridge and did a few more high problems and possibly the FA of a rig with a sketchy top out to the right of Intro to Belly Dancing. Does anyone know if it's been climbed already? The crux is this classic mantle at the top with the incredibly rare "If I blow this I get a butt full of tree stump" feeling. Perfection. My dad then wiggled his way up the fun Intro to Bellydancing and ate a sandwich while I worked on the problem just to the other side of that wall with a dyno variation I'd seen in a video (the name of the climb escapes me) until I unluckily split a fingertip on the crimpy start. Of course neither of us had brought tape so I promptly put chalk on it to stop the bleeding and continued to climb. Just around the corner I flashed this problem that's movement was really cool and had this awesome sloping pinch that unfortunately was part of a wobbling-loose flake and had to be avoided.

After that, we did a few more highballs, one of which had a gnarly descent (more like a chossy V2 down-climb while you waged battle with an army of dead trees pulled on moving flakes), we decided to pack up shop and head back home. On our way out, we came across the gem of a project that Robin had saved for me and showed me on my first trip. While contemplating whether to try it or not I noticed that a flake on the top was gone, leaving a large crystal band more positive than what was there before. I don't know if someone did it on purpose or not but when Robin or I tried it a few weeks ago, it hadn't moved or even sounded like it would come off, which is strange. However this probably only made it more classic in the end so no worries! I didn't try it again though, the slash on my fingertip would not have held up on the small crystal crimps...

Good news is I'll be back on Friday again with my friend and fellow crusher, Mark!! Super psyched!

Until then, as Mr. Spock would say if he climbed, Send Hard and Prosper.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Autumn Update

     Throughout this fall, we have had some great opportunities to get outside and climb. These days have been accompanied by some great weather and optimal rock conditions. My partner, Kerry, and I took advantage of a past three day weekends to take a trips to the New. Like I said previously, the weather was great; we encountered highs in the mid-forties, overnight lows in the mid-thirties, and overcast skies. We couldn't have asked for anything better!

     Our first day we figured we should try something new, so we went to the Meadow River and decided to hit up Area 51. The drive was fairly distant, along this old winding narrow road where we had to cross over --according the the guidebook-- an old "dilapidated train trussel." We were surprisingly welcomed by a short, five minute approach to the base of this tall, steep, white wall. We had one climb in mind, Made in The Shade, a four-star 12d in which Kerry sent quickly in two tries, and I made shorty after.

     Since the weekend we picked happened to be part of Bridge Day-- an annual tradition where BASE Jumpers from all over come to legally jump off the 900+ ft. New River Bridge-- we decided to stay on the northern part of the gorge since the bridge would be closed all day. We went to Endless Wall and warmed up on this classic 100 ft. four-star 11b, Discombobulated. Shortly after this we quickly parted directions and found two separate projects to work, Pocket Route and Dial 911, two classic, four-star 13a's. After Kerry set up her draws on Pocket Route, I hopped on Dial 911, flailing to the chains with beta from a guy we met the previous day. I figured this route would never go after this lousy first attempt. We returned on our third, and final day to hopefully cleanup what we had started. Although Kerry decided to clean her gear and save this route for next time I felt determined to give Dial 911 a final redpoint burn. I quickly cruised the easy beginning thirty feet and passed the first hard move. I continued past the middle crimping section making an occasional noise to reach the first crux where some powerful moves on these tiny delicate crimps through a dihedral mark a large deadpoint to a mailbox slot. I figured if I can make this low-percentage move then I might be able to man-up and finish through the upper crux. Well sure enough I stuck the slot and continued to this "halleluiah" rest jug. After regaining as much juice as I could I ran at the last crux move with everything I had. Making some ridiculous noises, I stuck the final moves and clipped the chains in relief.

I am currently planning for my upcoming trip to the Red River Gorge over Thanksgiving break and am praying for good weather. Though Kerry, my usual partner, won't be accompanying me, she will be crushing at the Pan-American Championships in Chile along with three of our other teammates, Kayla, Brandon, and Claire. Good-luck to you guys and represent!!!