Everything was going great, the roads were dry and the psych was high. Then tragedy struck. My friend Brion was a couple hours ahead of us and I received a call saying that the entire interstate was at a stand still. I was kinda bummed knowing that we were coming up on traffic but I figured it couldn't be that bad.... damn was I wrong! It took us 8 hours to get from Memphis to Little Rock....that's just over 100 miles. The roads were a sheet of ice, cars were in the ditch everywhere you looked, and I'm pretty sure that walking would have been faster than the flow of traffic. 6 p.m. turned into 2 a.m. and we were still stuck on the interstate. We decided to throw in the towel and just get a hotel room. But it wasn't that simple. Every hotel we went to was booked solid. Places were just throwing up signs on their doors saying "No Vacancy", "No Room", while others just locked their doors altogether. We were still a good 25 miles away from Little Rock at this point but we had no other option but to just get back on the highway and carefully make our way on the death ice to Little Rock. Thankfully, we arrived safely and were able to find an open room. I don't think any of us have been so happy to be out of the car in our lives. I have NEVER in my life seen anything like that before. Parked trucks on both sides of the interstate for miles.
We woke up the next morning to find the roads in much better shape and we quickly made our way to the ranch to start work on cleaning off boulders.
|Shoveling Snow - Brion Voges Photo|
After a productive day of boulder brushing, we awoke the next morning hoping that we were going to be able to climb. Luckily, the boulders we brushed were dry and we set to work to make it happen. Holly got things going by quickly doing Fraziac, a nice V6 on the Dig Dug boulder. After, we made the hike out to Southern Lean V11, a really nice boulder with awesome holds and rad movement. Brion, Nate, Preston, and I were all able to put it together. It was a really nice, relaxed session and it was rad seeing everybody do it the same day.
We ran over to Typhoon so Preston, Brion, and Holly could play on it while we waited for Shadow Jumper to get out of the sun. Brion was able to do the eliminate method quickly and Holly got super close on the actual non-contrived method before calling it a day. No worries though...she was able to put it together on our final day! Sick!
We cruised over to Shadow Jumper V11 when the sun started to go down. Shadow Jumper is a really unique, slopey arete that looks incredibly easy upon first viewing but climbs very subtly. It takes a while to figure out how to move on it but after you do, it comes together quickly. After rewarming up Voges and I were able to put it together! Nate was super close but it was getting dark quickly so we had to bail. It will go quickly next time for sure!
The next day we made the decision to check out Fred's Cave. This was probably one of the dumber decisions we made on the trip because the dirt road leading down to Fountaine Red was rough! After committing to getting to the actual climbing area, Voges and I hopped in his ride and split off from the rest of the crew to go check out Dub's Cave to see if it was dry. Dub's cave is about a mile back up the dirt hill that leads to Fred's Cave and we quickly realized that getting out was going to be much more of an issue than we initially thought it was going to be. After getting stuck on the way out we decided it was best to just dig out as much of the road as we could so it wouldn't be an issue later getting out of the woods. We made pretty quick work of the road and made it up to Dub's cave to find it completely soaked. Big bummer! Back down the road we went. It was already in much better shape than it was when we went up it just 30 minutes prior so we figured we were good to go. After making it back to Fontaine Red for a quick warm up, Nate and Preston made their way over to Fred's Cave to try One Inch Pinch V12. Brion and I were pretty psyched to make our way back to the ranch to go try Welcome to Fight Club V13 so we took off hoping to get back before it was dark. As it turns out, Preston was able to hook up the one day ascent of One Inch!
|Preston on One Inch Pinch V12 - http://p-alexander.blogspot.com photo|
On the way out we were almost to the main road when we came to the last little hill that would give us trouble. This was probably the worst part of the dirt road because of the ice and snow. The truck in front of us couldn't make it up the hill and after some debate we decided we were going to have to dig out that section of the road so the rest of our crew wouldn't get stuck on the way out. Again, after 30 minutes of digging, the road was clear and we were on our way to the ranch.
Voges and I hustled to Welcome to Fight Club and quickly started working out all the moves. We both figured it out and realized that, even though it is a traverse, it is really fun. The moves are great and the edges are small. I think this boulder comes down to pain tolerance and if you have good skin you are set. Voges and I managed to make a few good links before dark and I had plans to come back the next day to try again.
The next day was our last day and I decided to rest until the evening to try and give Fight Club some good efforts. Unfortunately, my skin was killing me from the previous day's efforts and I was unable to make any progress. I would be SO psyched to get back to AR but the weather is heating up fast and I have a feeling that I'm going to have to wait until next season to give it another effort.
The drive back was much less epic and I'm now sitting here writing a blogpost instead of doing homework. Procrastination is the best. I'm hoping to make it to Boone here soon but until then it will be trips to Chatty and the gym. It might be time to get back to my routes for a little bit (get it...back to my roots! awww man!)...its been a while and it wouldn't hurt to mix it up a bit! I guess we will see...