As some of you may already know, I have moved to North Carolina. It has been a long couple of weeks for me. They have been great. As you read about in my last post, I had a chance to climbing at a great destination (The Red) and with great people (Nate, Sarah, Calvin, and others.) Once I got back from the red I was at home for less than 24 hours before moving out. I then headed to Springfield, MO to relax, catch up on some writing, and hang out with some great friends. Speaking of friends, I have to give a shout out to one of my best friends, David Olson. This guy has been super generous to me over the years. He even let me live with him before he got married. It has seemed like his house in Springfield has been my second home over the past year. Thanks for all you have done for me Dave. Then last Friday I left Springfield, after some car problems, to go down to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas. It is an amazing climbing destination. I went down there to teach a trad climbing course with Jon Richards of Vertical Voyages.
Once I arrived at the Ranch I searched for Jon. After a little while I was able to locate him and we proceeded to do some scouting for our course. I got the chance to climb a route I have never done before and to lead an existing sport route on gear. That later route was Green Goblin (5.8). I have led that route many times using the bolts as protection but leading it on gear adds another element to make it an even better climb. That night it started to rain. We knew that the forecast was bleak for the weekend but we remained hopeful. That next morning we awoke to cloudy skies. We went down to meet the participants in the course. They all had rented a cabin. This proved very beneficial because after about 30 minutes of sitting on the front porch getting to know each other and figure out what everyone wanted to get out of the course it started to rain. We then moved the course inside the cabin. Some how we were able to cover quite a bit in the cabin. Then a little while after lunch the rain stopped just long enough for us to move outside and teach the placement of gear on real rock. They got to practice placing gear and building anchors. That night we all hung out in the cabin.
That night it stormed. I also tried to start my Yukon. It wouldn't start. It was doing the same thing it did back in Springfield. The next morning I woke up got ready then tried to start my car again. No luck. After going to the cabin to discuss what was going to happen with the participants, I went back up to the campground to work on my car. I needed it to work so I would be able to get to North Carolina by Monday evening for a meeting. I took some parts off and checked them out and everything seemed alright. Then by some miracle, it started. Now, I did send out some texts to a few friends to pray for me and my car. Now if it was their prayers that helped my car start; I'm not sure. But I do know that I have no clue as to how anything I did got it running again. Once it was running, I met back up with the group in the barn. We had decided that we would do some very basic self-rescue stuff so that they could learn something with the crappy weather. I surprised myself and Jon as to how well I was able to teach some of this stuff.
The course was a great time. Once the course had ended Jon, Gina, and I went to the Ozark Cafe to grab some dinner before I left. If you ever go to HCR hit up the Ozark Cafe. It has great food for a reasonable price and the people there are great. After that I left and headed south to I-40. Along the way I was able to get a few great pictures of a valley with some rain clouds in them. Eventually I made it to I-40 and then turned left (east). I managed to make it past Memphis before pulling off into a truck stop to sleep. Then the next day I drove across Tennessee and managed to make it to The Fox Mountain Guides office early. Finally I was able to sit, relax, and kind of get my head around what all was about to happen in my life. Then we had a meeting for all of the guides. It was great to get to meet them all and figure out some of the different roles that everyone plays in the company. After the meeting Adam showed me where I would be living. Soon after moving a few things in I crashed. I knew I would have a busy day the next day.
On Tuesday I woke up early and got ready to do the second day of The Rock Warrior's Way Clinic with Arno Ilgner that all of the other guides were taking. One of the participants from the first day was unable to make it, so I was able to take his spot. My first climb was the beginning of an aid route that goes at 5.8 called Remember Appomattox. Next I was put on a 5.10c called Invisible Airwaves. I managed to onsight that route. Making it my hardest trad onsight yet. Then I top roped a technical 5.12c called Waste Not Want Not. It has some pumpy
A little while later I was told to try this 5.11c which takes the start of one route (Waverly Wasters) and then traverses into the finish of another (Creatures of Waste). The beginning is easier climbing on less than vertical edges. You then stand up on a ledge. On the ledge you get some good gear in a crack. You then traverse out right below the first bolt on Waverly Wasters. Before you can clip the bolt you must make a committing move to a small edge directly below it. Even before I probed into the move, I knew I wasn't going to like it. If i would fall, I would swing or pendulum back to the left and may hit a ledge along the way. After probing the move a few times and feeling very insecure I decided to take a few practice falls to get used to the pendulum motion. The first three were shorter ones. Then on the fourth, I took a practice fall from about where I would be if I were pulling the move. I exhaled, let go, and started my downward ride. On the way back left, my right foot scraped against the wall. As it was doing so, my right heel impacted a hold on the wall. At the time I didn't think much of it. But after a few days I realized that I bruised my heel and also sprained a tendon. Luckily this hasn't kept me from climbing. After that fall I took another practice fall and then bailed on the route. I just couldn't make that move comfortably. After bailing I took a top rope run on the route and really enjoyed it. We then discussed as a group things we had learned from the clinic.
The next day was my orientation. It wasn't anything too exciting. We just went over paperwork, bit of the manual, and how to enter things into the computer. After that was the first time I was able to relax since I left Springfield. Unfortunately, it only lasted a few hours. One of my roommates, Michael, came home and asked if I wanted to go climbing. Of course I couldn't resist. At about 430 we finally left and headed back to the North Side at Looking Glass. There we did a few routes. I just followed all of them. While he was on the last pitch, it started to pour. I knew I wouldn't be able to run back to the car with my heel so I was preparing to just get wet even though I had a rain jacket. Luckily Michael lent me his trekking poles. They actually helped with my heel and I made good time back to the truck.
On Thursday, Adam Beck, one of the other guides who lives in Tennessee; Ron; and I went to the Nose area on Looking Glass to do some multipitch. This was my first experience on the eyebrows of Looking Glass. We started on a 5.9+ route called Sensemilia Sunset. It was tough. It took almost the entire route to get used to the slab climbing and using the eyebrows. We made it to the top, ate a bit of food, then we scrambled down to the anchors on Peregrine (5.9). The anchor we were at was about 300 feet off the deck. There Ron suggested that we top rope the route. For those that don't know much about climbing, the longest common rope used in climbing is 70 meters or 230 feet. Well this gave Ron a chance to show us how to pass a knot while lowering someone and how to belay past a knot since we tied two ropes together. It was fun to continually climb on this terrain for that long. After that, we rappelled back to the ground and did a variation to the Nose that hits a roof with a tricky move on it. I was privileged to lead this pitch and boy was it fun. We went up another pitch then called it a day. We didn't do as much as we were hoping mostly because the routes challenged us more than expected. We had a good time anyways.
Those were the past couple of days in my life. They were very hectic but super fun. There are some more stories that happened today which I will write about at a later time. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to go with the stories. Hopefully soon I will be able to get some pics up of the area so that you can see how marvelous this area is.