Archive for September, 2006

Shelf Road-Cactus Cliffs

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Clare in front of Cactus Cliffs

Ridgecrest local Tom R. recommended that Dennis & I check out Shelf Road. With it’s richly colored RED limestone cliffbands littered with bolts for climbing, we were assured to have a good time.

When I looked online, I found 81 routes listed, with lots available in the 5.10 and under range. Actually, there are 154 established routes at Cactus Cliffs with 90 routes rated 5.10 and below!!!

BLM Signage More Signage Hike through this gate down to climbing areas

I could barely contain my excitement, when we pulled up to the parking spot and the really nice BLM lady (Corey) pointed accross the canyon at our final destination. BUYAH, DISCO, VOILLA. All phrases appropriately reflecting my mind at the time.

Cactus Cliffs From Parking Area Dennis among flowers at Parking Area Clare Poses with Posies at Parking Area

It was sheer beauty. We hiked for about 30 minutes and we were there staring at this cliffband. There were so many routes, it was just unreal !!!. (more…)

Ann’s Victorious First Trad Lead

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Right before her first Trad lead. Ann's first placement Woo-Hoo!

After we did the Soft Touch climb at Valley Massif, we wander around the other side of the formation. Scoping out Bill’s Steal (5.6), Ann hesitates when she claims to want to try leading it. Mistaking hesitation for weakness, I offer her a beer if she climbs it clean. Looking out at the charming vista, she decides she doesn’t want the beer as the workweek is starting the following morning.

Ann Cranks Hard Ann Polls the Audience Ann Placing a Hex

“I’m not sure what I’m doing here, I think I’ll just put the first piece in and then come down” she says. For encouragement, I say, “Don’t talk like that, you can do this Ann.” I made a crucial error. As if kind words weren’t enough, I volluntarily up the ante. “I’ll buy you a set of nuts if you do this first lead”. Because everybody knows “Girls Just Wanta Have Nuts”…new lyrics by Cindy Stopper.

Crux Just Ahead! She's a Shadow Boxer! The Eye of the Storm

Looking like a pro, she gets into that crack, placing gear from good stances, only letting one little f-bomb out at the crux. She dominated this climb, and I hope she continues to assert herself on lead. With such stable feet, and a loving belayer, watch out for Ropegun Ann!


Monday, September 4th, 2006

Hike To Valley Massif Dennis & Clare Pause to Pose

On Monday morning, it was overcast as we were heading up to Wyoming. It didn’t look good weatherwise. I had packed all my raingear, just in case, but we were all hoping it didn’t come to that. Ann kept driving northward, with trepidation. In order to stay on the cheerful side, I checked out the guidebook and peppered Dylan with questions about climbing in the area.

We saw signs for “Little America” which were humorous to all as that is the last adjective most Americans would want in front of the word America. We also passed a “new” RV park in Buford, WY, at which point, I joked to Ann that they should move there. “Just think of how close you guys would be to Vedauwoo!”. If you saw Buford, you would understand why this is a funny comment. (more…)

Rocky Mountain NP-Combat Rock

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Reunion Thier Pad Sunset at KOA

After the scrumptious dinner with Ann & Dylan, Sat. night, we discussed places to climb the next day. I left it up to them to set up the itinerary with my only request being that we climb one day “sport” and the other “traditional”. We set a leave time for 9am the following morning.

Dennis and I were just a little late, rolling into the RV park where Ann & Dylan live. By the way, their RV is quite nice. It is definitely not “roughing it” by any stretch. Dennis & I both marvelled at the amenities, and the simplicity of their set up. How Cool! I digress, this is supposed to be about climbing…not progressive lifestyles of our dearly missed friends. (more…)