Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rock Climbing... and Scrambling

This past Sunday, we went rock climbing after church. Two of our friends came along, so we had a full vehicle as we drove toward our destination... Sheep Mountain!

Grizz has hiked around this mountain before. He went last fall by himself in hopes of finding other people climbing in the area (there weren't). We did see several cars at different spots as we drove the rough, gravel road toward the parking area. Equipped with a guidebook and packs of water and climbing gear, we set off to find "7 Sisters."

There was a path toward Right Rock, so we followed that. As we neared where Grizz thought the climbing area was, we had to do more and more scrambling over rocks in our path. To make things even more interesting, the entire ground was covered in old pine needles. You wouldn't think pine needles would cause a problem, but they are slippery!! And they get caught in your shoes...

Our scrambling over rocks got more and more intense. Adventure time! We found "Multiple Screamers Block" and "Stooges Slab." From there, Grizz wasn't sure exactly where we had to go next. Thus, more scrambling! As you can see in the picture, we had to descend a bit to get to our destination. Thankfully, the boys did it without a problem. They were there to help us by giving us feet and hand holds! Lots of trust here.

Finally, we got to "7 Sisters," a climbing area named for the 7 cracks. The boys scrambled up a bit more to set the top rope - there were already chains at the top to attach the rope too. They rappelled down and we started climbing!

Now, the cracks are supposed to help climbers, and I admit, I did try to use them. However, after a year hiatus from climbing, my feet have to get used to my shoes again. They are a little small for my feet so when I stuck my feet in the cracks on the rock, they hurt even more so than usual. You want climbing shoes to be small, as then it is easier for your toes to find little foot holds... I just need to get used to the tight feeling again! The rock out here is a lot like the Black Hills - granite. This is unlike the Palisades, which has a lot more visible hand/foot holds. Granite usually looks smoother, but there are hand/foot holds... they're just a lot smaller!

Here are a few pics from the day!

That tree gave us grief all day - here they're trying to get the rope unstuck from it.

We finished the day by almost getting lost while looking for Oslo (the Xterra) and by stopping at Buffalo Wild Wings for supper. All-in-all (even though I never made it to the top of the rock face we climbed), it was a glorious day! Outdoors + friends = FUN ADVENTURE!

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