Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cave Creek Craziness

Last weekend was the first warm weekend of the year for KS. Regardless I decided to get the eff out of dodge and head south to the great state of Arkansas. I think I'm just a few visits short of being able to claim dual citizenship between both forms of the Kansas.

So here's the digs. We camped at Sam's Throne but climbed at Cave Creek. I think Cave is becoming one of my favorite areas to climb "locally" since it has plenty of shiny bolts but is secluded enough with a hard enough approach that it still remains rather isolated. There definitely isn't the quantity of climbs that HCR has but seeing as how we only have the routes to share among ourselves it's pretty rad.

Saturday I really just wanted to play around on some easy 5.8-5.9 sport routes and kind of get my "lead head" back on my shoulders in preparation for spring break. That didn't work out as well as I thought it should. I did knock out a nice 5.9 to warm up on, so at that point the day was going as planned. As soon as we had rapped off the bolts from the warm up I decided that the slab to our immediate right needed to be put up. Problem: the first bolt was about 23 feet off the ground, talk about getting my lead head screwed on nice and tight.

View from the first bolt

After I scared myself witless on the slab I wandered a little further to the left and found a whole bunch of cams dangling from a tree. So what did I decide to do in this situation? Of course I racked up said cams and sent my first trad lead. No guidance, no top-rope mach-ups or rehearsals, just grab the gear and go on up.

Pluggin' my first cam on lead.

By this time in the day I realized that easing myself back into an outdoor season with a solid responsible head on my shoulders just isn't the sort of thing that I am good at. However running out my protection and praying that my gear will hold are two things I do seem to be okay at. So for my final climbs of the day I just hopped back on things that are on the upper end of my onsight level when I am in shape, and right now isn't one of those times. So I ended the weekend with two pretty flailtastic 5.10+ sport routes.

So here's to warm rock, dry dirt, and decisions that always seem to work out.

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