Saturday, June 11, 2011

So Much Climbing and Not Enough Skin

This past week has been void of epic days of climbing.  I haven’t done 1000’s of feet of climbing on any day this week.  Instead I was able to just go cragging a few of the days.  The three days that I have been outside this week, I able to climb with our senior guide here at Fox, Ron Funderburke.  The one thing that I have learned about Ron since I started here is that he will force you to be challenged physically and mentally when climbing.  This week, Ron is the main cause of the loss of skin on my fingertips, that and my not yet attained climbing skills.

On Monday, we went out to Cedar Rock.  Cedar Rock has multiple walls in which to climb but there is only one listed in the guide book and only one that will have routes that would challenge Ron and I.  That wall is known as the public wall.  If you were to look in the guidebook at the climbs your first thought might be that this place has a lot of harder stuff.  Because of this, not many people climb there.  I had guided there once before on routes that are not in the guidebook and were much easier.  Anyways, Ron and I hike up there and decide to hop on a 5.12c called Pawing the Void.  The one thing about this route that is a bit different is that it is bolted.  I decided to give it an onsight attempt on lead.  Needless to say, I didn’t get too far.  I managed to get to the third bolt before I fell.  I worked my way up to the fourth bolt but was unable to figure out the moves to make it to the fifth.  Ron lowered me and then he made his way up.  After figuring out the moves he was able to make his way to the top to set up a top rope. 

I got on it once more to work the moves out all the way to the top.  Once there I moved the rope over to the climb to the right, Surfin’ with Aliens (5.12a R).  Both of the climbs there offer very  technical climbing with limited holds.  On Pawing, you are pulling on small holds but only to create tension to keep your feet on the less than ideal footholds.  On Surfin’, you actually get a jug and have to pull on this small, sharp edges to get through the crux.  Both routes are well worth the work.  After that we were done for the day.  

On Tuesday morning, Ron contacted me to go climbing again.  Once again we went to Cedar.  This time Ian joined us.  We started off this day with Surfin’.  We then top roped Pawing.  About this time Tracy and Eric showed up to take a run on Surfin’.  After that we did a few easier routes.  I led a 5.10 that has some fun moves on it.  About that time we decided to pack it in and head home.

The next day, Shannon and I had planned on climbing at Looking Glass.  Ron decided to join us.  Since we had a late start, we decided to go to the north side.  There we got on the first two pitches of The Womb.  The whole route is 5.11a but the first two pitches only come in at a modest 5.9.  I will say that the second pitch can feel more like a 5.10 in spots.  I didn’t mind.  It was fun, a little unnerving in sections, and stellar climbing.  Also, I got to practice some multipitch skills.  After that route, Ron took off.  Shannon and I were going to jump on a 5.8 pitch but the rain came in.  We headed out a little while later.  After those three days of climbing, my finger tips were fairly raw.  Luckily, I was not climbing on Thursday.

Thursday morning I was sitting in the office and we get a phone call for someone wanting to book a lesson for that day.  I offered to do it and then headed out to get ready.  It was a great group of people.  I got to climb some more but didn’t lose any skin.  That night though, a few of the guides, the interns, and I headed to the gym in Asheville, Climb Max.  There we did some bouldering and I lost even more skin.  After the session at the gym I was glad that on Friday I didn’t have to climb.  Instead I was given the privilege of starting the inventory for Fox Mountain Guides.  Hopefully, I can grow some more skin in time for the upcoming week of climbing.

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