Saturday, May 14, 2011

Climbing The Egg

Jake was in town for a few days and we got to spend a whole day climbing!!!! Just like the old days. We went up to a place in Little Cottonwood Canyon called The Egg and climbed all afternoon till dark. The weather was perfect sunny and cool, the climbs were challenging and unique, we had the place almost all to ourselves except for two really nice climbers who we shared a rope with to rappel, the squirrels didn't steal our snacks and I flicked the giant tick on me away before he bored into my skin. All in all, a pretty perfect day of climbing.
Racking up to climb...
Jake's up there somewhere, can you find him? My shadow giving an excellent belay... My turn. Looking up, getting ready to climb and clean the route... Almost to the top! Both of us safely at the top of the rock... Back at the bottom for a snack before going up another one...
This is Annie. We dodn't know her, but we shared her rope to come down. She was cool and while climbing next to us made a pretty cool climbing photo.

Adventures in Babysitting

While Jake was in town he agreed to babysit Alicia's kids for an entire weekend...and then asked me to help him out. It was actually pretty fun and I was glad to help out. Granted I hang out with these kids a lot so I was a little more ok with it than I might have been with someone else's kids. There wasn't any serious drama, just some fun field trips.
The first day we went to the coppermine. My grandfather worked at the mine on the trains (before the big yellow trucks) so I'd gone to the visitor center a few times as a kid. They'd recently redone it and it was really cool. For dinner we stopped at McDonald's. I'm not one to judge parents who take their kids to McDonald's, just as long as they don't go all the time. That place was actually pretty easy and fun when you have three kids with you.
Bedtime was uneventful as well as Saturday morning cartoons. Somehow Jake was able to recycle a bowl of cereal and feed it to both the boys. It was impressive. Then we spent the day hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon along the river. I'd been sending pictures of the boys climbing up boulders to Jake at school and it was fun to show him in person what natural climbers his nephews are. I think he was impressed.
And Jake got to try out the new baby backpack too...
We found a small waterfall where there was a minor breakdown by Quinn. That was our fault though, I think we didn't keep him supplied with adequate snacks. What do I know, I don't have kids... Dinner, baths, and bedtime went off without a hitch the second night in a row and before we knew it the kids were asleep and Alicia and James were home from their relaxing weekend away. It was fun to tag along with Uncle Jake and give him a hand and do Alicia and James a favor too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Climbing Trip of 2011

I haven't been climbing in months, not even in the gym, so when Jennilyn asked me to meet her in St. George for some climbing down south I excitedly accepted her last minute invitation. He husband was climbing a big wall in Zion we we'd spend the weekend at the Woodbury Road Crags and then hike around the Mineral Mountains on Sunday before she met up with him again in Beaver and we all headed home. I love climbing with her. She can somehow push me to do things I think I can't. She's the first one who got me to lead anything in the gym or outside (the first time I met her even) and this trip was the same. I was thinking I'd just top rope both days but she had me leading the second route I climbed. I'd never lead sport routes before, just trad and I was happy to see that it's a lot easier than what I was used to. I was leading 5.9's and even a 5.10 on day two. Jennilyn getting ready to rap down our last route on Kelly's Wall
The Black and Tan Wall
Jennilyn on one of our warmups at the Black and Tan Wall. I later got a nasty rope whip across the neck pulling the rope off this route...
My favorite climb and my last on the trip. A fun 5.8 up this skinny rib then up a little further with some good exposure at the top. Even Indy climbed with us. He made it about 3 clips up this 5.7 route without a problem. He's about 5 and he keeps it up he's going to be pretty awesome when he's older.
Which leads me to some of the other aspects of the weekend trip besides just the climbing...
If you want to climb with Jennilyn, you should expect to have her two boys along for the ride. The good thing is that they've been going on climbing trips since they were born, even living out of the car for a few months, so they are pretty good at hanging out on cliffs and entertaining themselves. Sometimes is coloring or toys, sometimes it's a movie, and sometimes it's just snacks (except the time the dog stole their suckers and buried them) I love their little race car tracks. Here they had to build a road block so the cars didn't shoot off the cliff. But injuries do happen still. Fisher took a bad fall on a steep part of the trail and insisted he get a bandaid on the gash over his front lip. He was so cute with it on.
She was a new addition to climbing with Jennilyn, but I have to admit I kind of liked her.
Just setting the huge 6 man tent up was an adventure in the strong winds. We almost lost the fly, and we had to open all the doors and fill the tent with huge rocks and the cooler (which even blew over once filling the tent with milk) before it would stay in place. Somehow we managed to get it done and we had ourselves a great campsite. Then in the middle of the night it finally gave into the wind and Jennilyn and I had to sleep most the night with a cross bar pressing into our legs so it would stay off the boys. This was our tent the next day...
The Desert was in BLOOM!
There's so many different kinds of flowers out in the dessert in the spring. Sometimes they're spread out pretty well (except the yellow ones), but I kept running into new ones everyday and I didn't even get a picture of most of them. They were a nice distraction when we weren't climbing.
(I had to take this picture while driving since it was 30 miles to town mostly on a dirt road and my low fuel light was on so I couldn't stop and waste my momentum)
The MINERAL MOUNTAINS (and happy May Day)
On Sunday after our guest appearance at church looking like homeless people we headed out to the Mineral Mountains to check out what climbing would be like there. First we tried the short direct dirt road but were stopped halfway by some rushing spring runoff. Deeper than it looked, we turned back and took the long way there.
The Mineral Mountains were so cool. There is so much cool rock there in really neat formations and almost no established climbing. We left the boys by this cactus and then explored a little. Unfortunately we couldn't stay long but hopefully I'll be back someday.
It was cold up there but we all still have fun jumping over the full washes full of melting spring snow.
I stopped at Brianhead on my way home and hiked around in the snow and up in Parowan Canyon where I accidentally but happily hiked up to a hlaf frozen waterfall. It turns out this is the last of three falls out of a small canyon that you can rap down in the summer or ice climb up in the winter. Maybe I'll be back here too.