Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Petzl Roc Trip Recap

This past weekend Lizzy and I journeyed east to meet up with friends and enjoy the rock at the Red River Gorge. Friends from all over converged by plane and car to meet up relax and enjoy the wondrous sandstone. Good people along with an amazing film and the most stacked campground scene rounded out this fun trip.

A Wednesday night red eye from California got us into Tennessee the next morning. A 3.5 hour drive awaited us but that was the price for cheap tickets. With perfect temps we spent the afternoon at Roadside crag sampling the RRG classics before the crowds showed up.

Friday our crew had doubled and we spent the day between Left Flank and Military Wall. Climbing at the gorgeous table of colors wall was the highlight of the trip for me. Amazing colors and unique holds coupled with steep athletic climbing. Near by was the balancy test piece Hen-ry which played to Lizzy’s strengths. I got to climb Mercy the Huff which had excellent moves on sweet holds separated by fairly decent rests. No knee bars or ledges but good holds.

Saturday we saw maximum capacity with seven people by the end of the day. We had a perfect weather day at Drive-By crag which hosts some of the most fun climbing ever. It seemed each route had just as interesting holds as the last. I took my longest fall to date on a flash attempt on Primus Noctum. I cruised the route to the last bolt and rest spot but I had no beta for the crux which led to the anchor. With many grunts and desperation I slapped my way up getting one hold from the end; I missed the crucial knob and plummeted twenty or more feet through the air. On the way down I screamed with desperation but after flying through a tree and knocking loose some leaves I knew it was all right. Still falling I let out a yipp of pleasure and was gently caught by my belayer.

Sunday was our slow day as pizza and beer from the night before delayed our morning departure. We fought the crowds in Muir valley and climbed on some new routes. These routes, only having been established in the last few years, were still dirty and needed more traffic. I got a chance to lead a very atypical RRG line that I managed to redpoint on my second go. This line, so new it wasn’t in the guide book, was full of slopers and balancy moves. The end, with pumped forearms, required sequential crimping that thwarted my flash attempt. It was amazing how many lines are still left to be bolted and how much rock is still unclimbed. I was lucky enough to meet the equipper of this route and brave enough to climb it.

The trip was quite the success and full of fun memories. My mind is still buzzing with crux sequences and foot placements. I can still see the holds on Jersey Connection and Tic-Tac-Toe, feel the sharp jugs from Mercy the Huff and taste the scream from Primus Noctum. I love the Red and will always be excited to go back, no matter how far way it may be.

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