Saturday, September 26, 2009

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

We all climb for different reasons. Some of us love to feel our bodies move over stone, others chase the burn of physical exertion, and a few base their passion in adventure and exploration. The wide world of climbing is an open game of possiblities; creative athleticism at its finest.

Jessica on Wildcat Crack (5.10c)
Personally, I enjoy the variety of climbing. It is not one dimensional. Being based in Washington state has allowed me to pursue a wide range of styles. I can climb granite, limestone, andesite, rhinostone, or basalt on any given day. Mountains, ice, mixed, dry tooling out doesn't matter. Wahington has it all.

Keelhauled (5.11d)

I visited two unique crags this week that reminded me how awesome and varied climbing in Washington is. On my birthday (Sep. 22) I visited Punk Rock (high in the Tumwater Canyon) with a few of my closest monkey friends. We climbed many of the routes there, finding challenge in obscure, heady lines. All of the routes at Punk Rock were established before 1980 and it shows. No bolts, no chains, no scrubmarks. I love these older areas as the routes force you to adapt to the rock, always believing in yourself. I was poignantly reminded of this 40 feet out, digging out a shady placement from a turf filled crack on the appropriatley named, "Big Balls", a 5.11 two pitch adventure route that I strung into one mega ropelength. Fun, but scary.

A few days later Jessica, River (Jessica's cute Akida pup), and I visited the andesite cliffs of the Tieton River Canyon. The Tieton features splitter, long cracks unlike any others in the state. Even Index and L-town have little to match the sustained fissures of this unique area. We warmed up on the super classic, "Wildcat Crack (5.10c)" and then moved on to "Keel Hauled (5.11d)", before finishing on "Anaphalactic Shock (5.12a)". All of these routes were absolutely awesome and totally different from the climbs of the last few months. I love granite, but climbing different stone was much appreciated...after all, variety is the spice of life.

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