Anytime I get more than two days off, I think about climbing at The City. We made the trip over there this past weekend. I am about a pound lighter after shaving my beard. It feels nice now, but I may have to grow it back for skiing.
We set up a toprope on Practice Rock and the kids did some laps on a 5.7. Then we were mobbed by a gang of Utards with more children under the age of 2 than the law should allow. One kid had a diaper poking through a rip in her pants. It looked like the worlds largest hemorrhoid because it was so full that it just dangled out. We pulled our gear and let them have at it. Oh yeah, I also got to see my first public breast feeding!
We normally camp up near the Parking Lot Rock area since you can walk to a lot of cool climbs. This time we tried camping near Practice Rock. The site was pretty cool. It had lots of boulders for the kids to explore. The parking area wasn't level enough to just pop the top on the van, so I jacked her up and leveled her out with some 2x4's I keep in storage for such an occasion. We didn't need to cook since we had eaten at The Outpost in Almo. I have always steered clear of the place since it looked too clean and there was always a full lot of SUVs with shiny wheels. I thought that they may be expensive. But they weren't! $5.50 for an Angus cheeseburger with steak fries. We will still buy a pizza at Rock City when given the choice, but they were at the fair in Burley that weekend and the lady watching the store wasn't cooking pizza. We did stop in there and buy ice and a six pack of beer.
Humming Birds at Rock City
I woke up before the sun. Not because I was so excited about getting on the rock, but because my head hurt so bad. It felt like something was pushing my right eye out of it's socket. I stayed lying down and tried to use accupressure on my head, but it hurt to touch my eye socket so bad that I got sick to my stomach. I ended up seeing the cheeseburger and organic wheat beer a second time. I laid out in a T-shirt on a flat rock until my stomach was settled. I went back to the van a pounded water and asprin. I went back to sleep for awhile and then just laid in bed until about 2 p.m. I finally felt better, and we went down to a climb I have been wanting to do for awhile.
Micro Pillar (11a)
Now I could make excuses and say that I was weak from being sick, but this climb was hard! Bonnie climbed it first and fell quite a few times and finally made it to the first bolt! Then I gave it a shot to let her have a rest. The bottom is a powerful layback with a long throw to a good hold. I wish I had some more power. I fell quite a few times and made it to a rest above the first bolt. It let up on the way to the second bolt, but then there were some balancy moves above it and I fell a couple more times. I hung on the rope to rest, sorry. The upper section is only like 5.9, but this route targeted your left forearm so well that I had a hard time hanging on to the bigger holds. We finally lowered off after working on this thing for over an hour. We then hiked further down to the Humming Bird Corridor.
Get Over It (11a)
There is a long route in the Corridor called Get Over It (11a). It's a Kevin Pogue route so it's bolted very well. It has a large roof (crux) that leads to easier climbing without a death runout between the bolts. Kevin's routes catch flak from people that don't climb at my lower level, but I like them and the easier ones (sub 5.8) he has put up are very popular with people that only climb a couple times a year.
We hiked back up to the van and got some food and went for a hike. The kids enjoy all the weird geological phenomena that time and the elements has created.
Every cave that Kaden sees he MUST check it out. I could spend a lifetime here and still be in awe of the formations. We went back and went to sleep and I woke up early again. This time it was because I was excited to get on the rock. We packed up and drove to Castle Rocks SP. There was nobody in the parking lot and I decided to explore some of the less visited formations. We hiked to True Grit and The Duke. We spent some time finding a climb that the whole family could do and ended up on the NW ridge of The Duke. I think the climb was a 5.6 and had two bolts and then needed gear to the anchors. The rock was pretty bad since it probably hadn't been climbed in a long time. Quite a few holds broke in hand and under foot. The gear placements were less than stellar, as well. I love Metolius cams because they have a larger lobe and different geometry on the axle that make them more secure. We stayed in the cool corridor for awhile.
5.6 Mixed Bolt/Gear
Kaden going for it!
Sierra's good footwork
On the way back to the van we stopped at Lone Rock and Bonnie led Poking Holes in the Firmament (5.6). She did very well. I could get used to swapping leads!
At the Anchors.
Everyone was worn out.