Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam's Throne

So I burned out of town Friday afternoon to the great state of Arkansas with a girl in an Element, a dog, a German kid, 6 climbing helmets, 4 ropes, 2 sets of draws and a loaded Terraplane ready for whatever the dirty Arkansas backwoods had to throw at me. Lucky for me that dirty backwoods treated me more than kindly for my weekend and allowed me to rage it with 20+ members of the KU rock climbing club for a short weekend of very legit climbing.

Friday: Our caravan was in the first 2 cars to arrive at Sam's Throne. I quickly threw up my tent and then proceeded to play backwoods cabana boy with a few other member's shelters. Visibility was limited to about 10 feet in front of my face due to some intense fog so it was deemed completely unnecessary to attempt the venture down to the 80 foot bluffs past sunset. A few of the other kids ripped apart a text book to start a fire with all of the damp wood while I sorted gear for the next day. After gear was sorted and fire procured we took our respective spots around the ring and slowly watched the rest of the crew trickle in well past 3am. Well... the majority of the crew made sure everyone made it there alive, I might have fallen asleep on a crash pad next to the fire until it started to rain again.

Send it Kels'....err, umm, I mean Kase. Oh whatever your name is girl with a dog and an Element.

Saturday: Sendage! Up and out around 10:30. I made an attempt to take Kasey and her dog down the dog run on the other end of the throne. I figured it would be a cakewalk since the last time I was there I went searching for more bolts via the same run but I also kinda spaced the fact that I did all of my scouting via scrambling the bluff instead of the actual trail. Needless to say the trail no longer existed due to the ice-storms last year and overgrowth and some dogs are less adept than others at making successive 3 foot ledge leaps inches away from an overhanging cliff. So we put the dog back in the car after an hour of bushwhacking and made the hike down to meet the other climbers.

The majority of the routes had just been established by the club on white trash wall and kids were just lining up to try their hand top-roping the jug-haulin' fun. 5 routes were put up and they were all very fun 5.7-5.10 range depending on what moves you wanted to utilize. And when I say fun that's pretty much all I mean, the wall was at max 50 feet and I was pretty antsy the entire time knowing that we were less than 100 yards from 80 ft. overhanging problems. Regardless we never sent the bluffs but it was a great opportunity for all of the new climbers to play outside on real rock, and making sure everyone is falling in love with the outdoors almost makes me as happy as pushing my own limits in the same setting.

Saturday night: Ozark Cafe! The whole big crew headed down hwy 123 for some grub in Jasper and I finally got to partake in some Ozark Cafe food. They were celebrating their 100 year anniversary of being open in Jasper and the place was packed with locals, climbers and paddlers. Afterward I retreated for a nap while the gang had their ritual hazing campfire only to return a few hours later to a party that was absolutely intense. That's where I will end that story.

Getting my first lead at Cave Creek.

Sunday: Cave Creek was sent. CC is a different beast altogether from the throne, all the rock is freshly bolted as this area is by far the newest climbing area established in AR. None of the climbs are below a 5.9 and almost all are overhung or laidback flakes so a lot of the crew opted out for the day and just headed home. Which was quite beneficial for myself as I obtained even more than my fair share of leading, anchor building and cleaning experience. I still feel nervous doing all of these things but I'm a big believer in the "if it isn't scary than you aren't doing it right" philosophy.

So once again here's to the Dirty Arkansas Backwoods, climbers and sending it like a gnar brah.

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