Monday, January 15, 2007

What I love About North Carolina...

This post was inspired by Dougald's post over at The Mountain World on what he loves about Colorado.

While Colorado is getting record snowfall, we are seeing record high temperatures. This weekend it was over 70 degrees and our average temperature in in the high 40's. So instead of complaining about no snow, I decided to take advantage of the weather, and make the best of it.

I was lucky enough to get away to Stone Mountain State Park in northern NC and get a little steep friction climbing in. For those of you who have never climbed on Stone Mountain granite, it is about as close to pure friction climbing as you can get. The 500 foot tall dome has some featured routes, but anything over 5.7 is pretty much a blank face and you need to rely on the friction of your sticky rubber entirely.

Stone Mountain is also notoriously run-out.

20 foot run-outs are standard and nearly every route has at least one 40 footer. This weekend I was watching a very "southern" climber and his wife/girlfriend climb a 5.9 just to the left of where my friend and I were getting ready to start our climb. He was about 25 feet out from his bolt and 45 feet off of the ledge where we were all hanging out.

As he pulled into the crux moves, he smeared his left foot up high, and as he shifted his weight and lifted his right foot up for the next non-existent foothold, he started sliding down - on one foot. He dropped five of six feet and then just stopped - for no apparent reason other than some strange glitch in the laws of physics

He looked down at his wife/girlfriend and without any fear or trepidation said, "Well that was strange, wasn't it honey."

I thought he was talking about the fact that he didn't fall and completely ledge-out but apparently he was talking about the fact that he didn't do the crux move. He promptly climbed back up to his high point and tried again, and slid back down five or six feet again.

"Well damn, I just don't understand," he said as he climbed right back up to his high point again. At this point I thought he was pressing his luck, but he chalked up, took a few deep breaths, and fired off the move.

I don't think there are too many other places where you can say you fell twice, from the same spot, 25 feet above your last piece, and still got the on-sight.

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