Today, the goal was to get some rock under my hands.
Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve climbed? I don’t, actually. I mean, I’d bouldered recently, but actual roped, vertical, leading? I… couldn’t tell you. I think Sarah and I did the first three pitches of Beacon at some point in the last year, maybe?
It’s bad, man. I shouldn’t let myself go that long.
Thankfully, French’s Dome is nearby. I met Bri at her place in the morning, we packed the car, and got ourselves moving. Sticking to the new theme of the year, we weren’t particularly rushed… but we did get going at a pretty reasonable time, since French’s is definitely a popular area.
The trailhead was packed. Like, seriously packed.
I’m a good driver, thank you very much, and I know how to park my car. But this… well, parking was creative today. With some spotting though, I was able to wedge myself in pretty safely, and was even able to check with the drivers of nearby cars to make sure they didn’t mind me coming in so close. With everything good, we headed in.
And got a beautiful surprise – even with a packed trailhead, very few of the routes had people on them! And all the routes that I was hoping to climb? All of them were open!
Continued birthday luck, I guess.
We pulled out our gear, and set up shop:
- Giant’s Direct – 5.5, Sport – Fun climb, not bad at all
- Balloon Knot – 5.9, Sport – I think we did this one? I don’t remember it being 5.9-level difficulty, but this is the only route I can find in any of the guides, and it looks exactly like what we climbed. Maybe we did a variant?
- Tin Man / Tin Tangle – 5.8, Sport – This was really fun too, though the fact that the guidebook lists both names is a little confusing.
- Alpha – 5.8, Sport – Fun!
- Straw Man – 5.7, Sport – Also fun!
- Giant’s Staircase – 5.6, Sport, 2 pitches – We summitted! This was fun and easy, and a great way to get up to the top of the dome. With snacks, of course!
It was a good day. We got more climbs in than I’d hoped for, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I’d feared. I was definitely pretty weak, and did run into some mental walls while above the bolts in a few places… but you know what? That’s fine. It’s expected, and I felt good.
That’s the fun of climbing, right? Breaking through walls, being strong, and enjoying the rock!