Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back story to the Picture

On a beautiful spring day in 2009, I along with three other friends; Nate, Sarah, and Carissa, went climbing in Arkansas. We had decided to head to a place called Haw Creek. Haw Creek is this amazing little crag. It features two different climbing areas there. In between the two areas, there is a waterfall just to the west of one of them, La Playa. At Haw Creek, there is a great mix of sport, trad, and mixed climbing.

I first experienced Haw Creek with my friends Carissa and Emily on President’s day. We did mostly moderate climbs since Emily was new to climbing and I had just injured my finger a few weeks back. It was a great sunny day. Then we checked out Haw Creek, the actual creek, before we left. It is a beautiful little brook in which you can camp right next to. I ended up getting a great picture of the two ladies before we left.

A month or so later, I went back with Nate, Sarah, and Carissa. We started climbing at the Valinor area. After doing a few climbs, we decided to bushwhack along the bluff line to the other area instead of walking back to the road then up to the other wall. This took longer than expected since there was no trail and I kept slipping on leaves. Finally, we saw a glimpse of hope; taller walls, and a waterfall.

When we were approaching the waterfall area, you could see some of the climbs nearby in a cave. This cave formation was very tall. It had been formed from a block dislodging from the bluff line. This block was the size of a two story house. To the left of the massive cave was a boulder near the edge of the pool formed by the waterfall. After sitting there enjoying the surroundings, Nate and I approached the boulder. I told Nate that he should climb the arĂȘte while I shoot pictures. He agreed.

The boulder had a lot of moss growing on it. For all we knew, no one else had ever tried to climb it. I found a way to get on top of the boulder while Nate started to clean holds and find a way to get up it. At first, I started shooting down the arĂȘte. Doing this, I was not able to get the waterfall in the picture and there was too much direct light. I then moved to the side of the boulder. It was here that I managed to take some sweet shots. I could get Nate’s face, arms and sometimes legs in the shot along with the waterfall and pool. To top it off, the lighting with this angle was amazing. As Nate started climbing, I started shooting away. As soon as I took a few of the pictures I knew they had turned out great. Never before had I been so excited to see what they looked like.

After I knew I had gotten some good shots, we headed off to get some more climbing in. The day was pretty much amazing other than the fact that I injured myself twice after we left the waterfall. The first one was just pure stupidity. I was about to belay Carissa on top-rope. I decided that I would get the rope really tight before she started climbing. I then pull in slack, then hop up while pulling in more slack then fall back. But I had forgotten one thing, we are using dynamic ropes and they stretch. With the rope stretch, I landed on a sharp rock that hit my right butt bone. And yes, butt bone is the technical term. The second injury happened while I was climbing. I was top-roping a 5.10 route that had some technical, balance moves in it. On one of the moves, I was starting to do a hand foot match when I slipped. My thumbnail caught the hold my right hand was on and it split. It wasn’t anything major, but pulling part of your fingernail back hurts and it never stops bleeding. Over all the day was great.

When we got back to the apartment that night, I uploaded the pictures and was amazed at what I saw. After doing a little bit of editing, I was happy with what I had. Naturally, I uploaded some of the photos up on Facebook and did nothing more with them.

Fast forward to the beginning of this past April, I am sitting in the Solid Rock Climbers for Christ office after finishing my work for the day and I get this crazy idea to upload one of the photos to Climbing magazines photo gallery on their website. By doing this, I enter a photo of the month contest. I had thought about doing this on multiple occasions since I first loaded the picture to my computer, but never did anything. A week later, I got an email stating that I had won. And that’s where the previous post enters in. Here are some other pictures from that day.

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