Tag Archives: Sandstonia

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Other Galleries

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Epilogue

Interestingly enough, I wasn’t the only one on this adventure.

And, thankfully for everyone, some of the other adventurers are excellent photographers.  You may have noticed that, while leafing through the various pictures that I posted, I don’t feature in a whole lot of them.  Funny, that.  Turns out that being behind the camera (or cell phone, in this case) is pretty non-conducive to being in the photos themselves.  I tried for some selfies… but let’s be honest.  The front-facing camera isn’t really doing my beautiful face justice.

Thankfully, those other excellent photographers also had cameras.  And some of those cameras are really good!

 

So please.  Sit back, relax, forgive us for any repetitions that you might see, and enjoy Daniel’s rather massive photo gallery.

 

Link:  https://photos.danielbostwick.com/Public/New-River-Gorge-2018/

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Wednesday, 30-May

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Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Wednesday, 30-May

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018

 

Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…

 

 

Wednesday

 

Today’s the day! The big day of the trip! And big days start with… breakfast! What? Bacon and eggs? That’s crazy!

But you know what? We’re cool kids, and we can do what we want. So we break with all tradition and have bacon and eggs and coffee for breakfast. Just like the last three days, because it’s awesome.

 

The goal for the day is to go back to where we went on Monday, but to use our new knowledge to set up more routes now that the whole crew had been gathered. The forecast looked good, the sky looked pretty clear, and we were energetic and ready to go.

We started in pretty quickly – taking two cars meant that packing and unpacking was actually really quick, even with six peoples worth of gear, so we found ourselves setting up routes rather impressively quickly…

  • Butterfly Flake, 5.7, Lead – I did this one at least twice, and it was definitely worth doing multiple times. Fun, powerful, and just slightly sketchy due to the fact that you’re climbing a massive, detached flake of rock that probably weighs something around a hundred tons.
  • Shady Lady, 5.7, Lead – Cindy (from Monday) had recommended this route rather intensely… which makes sense, since she set the route herself in years past. I found it to be really fun, but a little weepy and wet thanks to the constant rain.
  • Layback and Enjoy it, 5.10d, TR – Ohh my lord I loved this route. The first crux was gloriously, horribly, evilly hard, and I don’t think I honestly did it cleanly. But I did do it… mostly by going around the hard bit. The second crux went super cleanly though, since I love laybacks. And, interestingly, this route had a pretty big one.
  • The Decameron, 5.10b, TR – This route is the test piece for the area, and it was evil. I didn’t complete it, I’ll fully and honestly admit. The crux is a terrifying traverse over open space, followed by a super thin move. As Daniel said, “Move onto the really bad sloper, then match your hands on the bad sloper, and then move to the worse sloper above. Then jump”.

 

Now, the original forecast for the day was bright and sunny all day… but of course this was the New River Gorge, and weather reports are really not super accurate. None of us were particularly surprised then, when we checked the weather at noon and found that a storm was quickly bearing down on us.

Thankfully, it was still a ways out, so we had time before we had to run out. But climbing always takes longer than expected, and soon enough I was trying to rush up The Decameron to pull it down and hopefully avoid a repetition of our earlier, soaking wet adventure at Sandstonia. I’ll be fully honest with you all here, dear readers; I got my butt handed to me by that route. The earlier 5.10d was easier for me, and I kept getting thrown off the crux move of The Decameron.

 

But I’m not a good loser, and I refused to leave any gear at the top of that climb… or worse, call Daniel over to clean it for me. So I swung over to a slightly easier line, climbed up, and then swung back onto the main route a bit above the crux portion. Because I’m smaht that way. Wicked Smaht.

 

I had the route cleaned, and we could head out. The walk was quick, and soon enough we were heading toward WalMart for boat shoes for everyone.

Wait, boat shoes?

Yup. Boat shoes.

Not everyone is as obsessed with climbing as I am, as it turns out, and so everyone else decided that they should do something other than scrambling up rocks while wearing strange shoes. Instead, they wanted to splash over submerged rocks, also while wearing strange (but strange in a different way) shoes.

They didn’t own those new strange shoes yet, though. So we had to go to Walmart to buy them.

If it isn’t apparent, the summary of the above is: “Everyone else wanted to to whitewater rafting, but needed water shoes. So we bought them at Walmart”.

We also got some food, since we needed it. That turned out to be a mistake, since we were all quite hungry, and shopping while hungry is a bad idea. But we persevered, and finally found ourselves at home, making dinner.

And by that, I mean “we went to an ice cream shop called Fat Eddies, and ate amazing ice cream and I also ate a corn dog which I dipped in the afforementioned ice cream because this is America and I can do crazy things like that if I want to especially when I’m over hungry from climbing and then herding cats in Walmart who are also hungry”

 

Dinner was awesome. Daniel and Erin make chicken foccatia, and it’s delicious.

We all hung out, and I soaked in the hot tub for a while, which was awesome.

Then a well fed sleep.

Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Monday, 28-May

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Spring Break 2018 – West Virginian adventures, Monday, 28-May

A West Virginia adventure – Spring Break in the New River Gorge, 2018

Saturday, 26-May, through Saturday, 02-June, 2018

 

Life is old there, older than the trees. Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze. Country roads, take me home… to the place, I belong! West Virginia, Mountain momma… take me home, country roads.”

I’m pretty sure that the first real spring break I ever had was with Daniel, years ago, when we drove down to the New River Gorge to climb, and attend the New River Rendezvous. Since that year, we’ve done our best to always link up and go on some glorious climbing trip on or around Memorial Day. This year was a tough one, with Sarah breaking her leg, but she insisted that I go anyways, and let her live vicariously through me as she convalesed at home. I’d already cleared the week as vacation with my boss, even before I was hired for the project, so I was free and clear for a throwback adventure…

 

 

Monday

Per what would become the usual, I woke up to the smell of bacon.

Not coffee though. Interesting note: of everyone at the cabin so far, I was the only coffee drinker. I blame Sarah for this – before meeting her, coffee was a mid-afternoon thing. Now, it’s more of a morning thing. Not that it’s bad to have coffee in the morning. Just an interesting note.

So I woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, and tea. Good way to wake up.

 

This time, I get to drive. Yesterday, Daniel had driven us all to the cliff… but this time, I was behind the wheel, getting to test out the BMW. And, just in case I wasn’t sure who owned it, Daniel reminded me right off the bat by uploading the directions from his phone to the cars navigation system. Yeah, That’s a thing that it does.

After maybe 5 minutes of trying to figure out all the various autonomous, assisted, or downright robotic aspects of the car, we were on our way to Sandstonia!

We set up camp at the Tattoo Wall, the far Northern section of Sandstonia. It did have some people… but for memorial day, it was surprisingly empty. Well, we’re not going to complain… so let’s set some routes!

  • Bobby D’s Bunny, 5.6, Lead – My first lead of the day, it was a simple and pleasant line. Nothing hard… but not quite as easy as I’d expect a 5.6 to be.
  • 5.5 my ass, 5.6, Lead – This route was short and strange. I think even calling it a 5.6 is a bit sandbaggy, though it was only 40ft tall, and the only real move was pulling over a really simple ledge.
  • Kinesthetica, 5.10c, TR – This was nice. This was obscenely, gloriously, brutally nice. The main route was simple and delicate, the kind of climbing that I enjoy on top rope, but avoid on lead. The final moves, though, were my jam. Hugely burly, strong overhanging jugs that simply require you to commit, pull, and move. Seriously – it just had me grab a huge dinner-plate sized jug, and haul up over a 3ft roof. Just like the gym.
  • Geisha Girl, 5.8, TR – Another really fun route… the start was my favorite part, though everyone else hated it. It’s a clean hand-crack, the kind that I feel most comfortable in, but that Brian and Erin can’t stand. Ehh, their loss, I loved it.

Now, that was the climbing portion. There were two other bits that very much deserve a mention:

  • We met Cindy Hintz. The name might not mean anything to you, dear reader, but if you read the guidebook for this crag, you’ll see her name mentioned all over its pages. She was one of the original route setters for the crag, one of the pioneers who not only set the routes, but discovered the rock itself. And we met her, and got beta from her!
  • I helped a team nearby. See, I finished Geisha Girl in the rain. Did I mention that? I should have. And I don’t mean some silly “ohh, tee hee, it’s misting” rain. No, I mean “Ohh wow, who took a fire hose to my face? Ohh, the sky did. Okay”, fully drenched in 2minutes, deluge. And I was on the wall.
    Thankfully, it wasn’t lightening, and I’d already gotten through the tough bits. So all I had to do was clean and lower.
    But then I looked right, and saw the family next to us. Their rope was still set up too – and they had just barely started the route. They’d need to set up an ascender, ascend the 100ft route, clean, and then descend. All in the rain, with three kids all less than age 6 milling around.
    I couldn’t make them do that.
    So I traversed. In the rain. On top of a slippery rock cliff, 100ft in the air. I mean, I was obviously roped in, and in no real danger at all. But man, that’s scary. I was looking at a huge swinging fall, probably smacking various bodyparts against the rock if I slipped. But I am truly a glorious specimen of humanity, and I prevailed. I grabbed their gear, dropped their rope, and lowered myself safely to the ground.

 

By the time we got to the car, we were soaked.

I’d managed to help out the family next to us, but that didn’t help us stay any less wet. By the time I was on the ground, I was fully saturated, and my rain gear didn’t fare any better… being left in a puddle at the base of the route. Nothing was damaged, but it did lead to a rather squishy walk back to the car.

Thankfully, I was in charge of that night’s dinner… which meant we were having my type of comfort food – surf and turf. I’d gotten a pound of salmon, a pound of steak, dinner rolls, and ingredients for a spring green / pear salad. Which I set to making with a passion, just as soon as all of our gear was laid out to dry in front of a fan in the basement.

 

Dinner went well… I hesitate to claim that it was the best dinner of the trip… but let’s be honest. I’m not humble. I think it was the best. Not that anyone else’s was bad! Not by a long shot! But I just prefer mine, since… you know, I make what I like. It went over well though, and I didn’t have any major complaints, so yeah. I’m proud. Go chef Ben, go.

The rest of the evening? Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and some catching up over glasses of wine. And of course enjoying the fact that we were warm and dry.