Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Break!

So Horseshoe Canyon Ranch proved too difficult to stay away from and less than 20 minutes after I had finished my last midterm I found myself in an Element headed back to Arkansas. HCR played host to a gaggle of KURC members as well as most every non-southern/Cali climber in the US this weekend... suffice it to say that things got raged.

My car was the first to pull into the canyon and we had strict instruction to find the only campsite that was allowed to be reserved for the weekend. Why was it the only campsite that needed reservation you ask? Well apparently the club officers called ahead and had a conversation which I imagine going like this...

KURC: Hi this is (blank) from KURC we're bringing 25ish kids down for fall break.
HCR: Oh no!
KURC: And if you don't recall from our past trips we rage rather hard and were wondering if there was anything you can do to keep us from interfering with the normals for the weekend.
HCR: Well we don't really reserve campsites but seeing as we would like most of our guests to return and you are paying us a ton of money I guess we will open a special campsite way the eff across the canyon for ya.
KURC: Deal, we'll send Slater down first so he can have that awkward conversation with ranch management about why we specifically need that site.

So Wednesday night a fire was built and things got rowdy, let's skip to the climbing.

Thursday: I quickly split off into an anti-social group of kids who were ready to send instead of sit. We went straight to the north 40 and started playing hard on the rocks. I sent five .10s and one .9 in a day. So overall the day was an overwhelming success for a middle of the road climber like myself.

Friday: Apparently everyone got too raucous the night before so when we showed up to Magoo rock there was a giant lack of quickdraws. Seeing as I felt reasonably fine I tried to plunder enough gear to set up a route for some kids right quick and the first send of the morning happened on some awkward 10b overhang. As soon as I came down Carol whispered to me "Pres says there are draws in the club box, grab that rope and let's move." So I grabbed and move we did.
The view from Insanity's belay station.

One quick trip back to camp and I had a rather over-zealous sport rack hung off my harness and a 10.1 rope on my back. We headed straight to the Cliffs of Insanity where we continued to hang huge .8-.9 routes for the next few hours with machine like swiftness. Eventually we went looking for something more suitable for our climbing range and found the rest of the club hanging out at the Roman Wall. The majority were standing in lines waiting to flail on the top-roped .11 that I got shut down on during my last visit. So I decided to roll the dice and sack up on the only open route. Which happened to be a 85 foot .11d that I got shut down on 2 bolts from the top. Sad days for me but Crusher Paul bailed me out and rescued my draws while officially showing my climbing status up.

Saturday: Everyone slept in and I headed out with the "Ol' Boys" to see what it was like to climb with the kids who climb harder than me. Which actually translates into: I watched some more experienced climbers stand around and postulate which trad cracks they wanted to plug until someone else showed up with quickdraws and I could bail from that party and go actually climb. We headed straight over to the Prophecy wall and I immediately sent some kinda .10 that no one could second for a good 3 hours, which felt pretty good. After that I bounced back and forth between the trad cracks and the sport climbing trying not to get tied up in the wicked long lines of climbers, which I successfully did.

I got to end my day wandering around with Rowdy looking for something new. Our fellow German climbing associate commented that he would like to attempt to climb this nasty looking overhang that he didn't know if he could finish but was positive one of us could if gear needed to be retrieved. Neither myself nor Jared wanted the beta so after Julain got shut down we hopped on and attempted to send this wicked piece of overhanging slab for way longer than necessary. Unfortunately the route ended up being a .12c and I don't personally know anyone who can climb that hard, so the gear was retrieved by a nice topout on a .10a followed by a quick alpine traverse and rapp by my fellow flailer. It's rare to see us KURC kids flail but when we do it's a hoot.
About to clip the second bolt, which is where KURC got resoundingly shut down for the weekend.

Sunday: Saturday evening the club played a game called "finish whatever you brought." Which meant the majority of the kids were not ready to send hard after a long night of fireworks and tribal dancing next to a bonfire but for some unfortunate reason I was well rested and ready to go as soon as I got camp packed up. My overall goal for the weekend was a lead on Crimp Scampi. Scampi is a classic .10D that I had top-roped in prep for the Sunday session but still had a bad feeling that it was going to hurt bad. Unlike a lot of other routes at HCR this .10D actually earned it's rating and next to every move on it was actually sustained hard climbing, it definitely did not give its bolts away. Needless to say I took my first few lead whips of the weekend on this beast and it sent me flying more than a few nerve racking feet once or twice. I eventually nailed it but I can definitely say that I learned what my limits are on that route. It was seconded by Taylor who was my partner for the day who flailed just a titch less than me, but I like to think it's only because he got my beta.

So here's to my weekend home of the other Kansas, climber kids, untz and ragin' it next to a bonfire.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Arkansas trip #4 in the past 6 months, gotta say it feels damn good to be getting as mobile as I have been as often as I have been as of late.

Thursday night: We were way short and my status of the kid who bums rides at all times possible got destroyed. The Slatermobile had to be loaded up and head south for it's first big trip since I took ownership.

Friday: Since I got to be in charge of my own transport so we burned out of town a good 6 hours before the big caravan left. Which meant we got to HCR in time to get our evening climb on. All three of us minivaners got 3 very legit, very clean, very confidence building 5.8ish warm up leads on the North 40 before the sun started to fade on us. After we got back to camp we had more than enough time to build a gorgeous fire, eat dinner and indulge our thirst before the next wave of cars started to roll in.

Sat: We rolled out of camp before anyone else, not that we were more well rested or ready to send but we had a full sport rack and a rope so there was no need to wait for the circus that is the KURC to start tying up routes for 3 hours at a time when we could be crushing leads on our own.

Climb #1 for the day was a very runout Orange Crush (when I said full sport rack I might have been lying a bit). OC is one of the classic .9s at HCR and the biggest lead I have tagged yet (90ish feet at the bolts). After that we wandered through the far east side of the valley to grab 2 more .10 leads on Emotional Content and an awkward arete before heading to the Roman wall. The Roman wall was super exposed compared to the rest of the valley and consisted of some very hard slab that ended in some gorgeous overhangs. I immediately jumped on an .11d and got shut down by the third bolt which was super disheartening for me but I just have not had positive feelings for the crux kinda moves the AR slab has been sending my way lately. More likely my draw hanging confidence is not on par with my skill set yet and my confidence of screaming "take" on a rope just isn't there until I'm a good 40 feet up. It was my first dirty send of the weekend and I was pretty humbled coming off of it. After that I grabbed on more .9 lead and headed back to camp.

Sat Night: Ozark Cafe was descended upon by the large group of dirty miscreants from KS. We snarfed and sang at "Jazzper Saturday"... because it's in Jasper. After camp was back in play there was a serious lack of ragin' party buzz compared to the last trip. The Rossi was destroyed around the fire and since the party was lacking a smallish group of us decided to take back to the woods for some night Bouldering. Now normally I'm not one to be up for night sports activities when there is a party to be raged but something in my bones was keeping me scary sober and ready to demolish some boulders, and that we did.

Sunday: Disheartening. I woke up to the sound of rain pitter-pattering against my rainfly and another climber who had decided to go tentless for the weekend in my abode (I'm very glad I decided to bust out my 4 man for the weekend in hindsight). Nobody wanted to try and wait out the weather to get some more climbing in and I didn't feel like making the hooligans in my van wait while I bouldered with locals. So we burned up and over and got home early enough for me to accomplish the same amount with my Sunday that I had originally planned to... absolutely nothing.

So here's to metric schnoz-tons of bolted rock, ragin' it hard, and gettin' the f out of KS.