With all the stress of preparing the wedding behind us Katie and I were looking forward to getting out of Madison for a bit. We pulled out our new GPS, thank baby jesus for that, and drove to Taylors Falls.
For some reason we'd thought that Taylors was 5 and a half hours away. Turns out we were very wrong and after an easy 4 hour drive we got a hotel room and passed out.
The next morning we rolled out to a lazy 11 AM start and drove over to the Cave Traverse. A quick hike to the base and I locked in a nice little excuse with the humid conditions.
I warmed up on the jugs to the left and Katie diligently glued and taped her fingertip into place, hoping that it'd hold. I did all of the moves again, rather quickly, and figured it would go that day no problem. Boy was I wrong.
Soon after, I tried it from the start and noticed something in my forearms. It was this weird stiffness. Felt almost like I was getting pumped! Absurd! I looked down to my waist and didn't see a rope attached so my confusion only grew!
I sat down in a confused bubble wondering why I was getting pumped without a rope on! Apparently I'm only good for 6-8 moves before I start to get a debilitating pump. Absurd.
Katie finished her taping and decided to throw herself on the Pharoah problems to get warmed up. We tossed the pads down to the base and I grabbed my camera to witness the devastation.
She cruised up the first couple moves and then came down with a bit of a yelp. I silently knew what happened but waited to see it for myself.
There it was, through about 8 layers of tape and another 3 of krazy glue. Blood. Katie's tip had torn open again and her day was done.
I gave the Cave Traverse another go but fell off at the sloper in a cloud of pump and bad technique. We packed up and headed down to Stillwater to get some Quikclot and check out the town.
I'd only been in Stillwater once before and had obviously forgotten how cool it actually was! That one time though, I went sport climbing at a local area called Boomtown.
When Katie and I drove in we noticed a sign for Boomtown and the memories floated back to me! We stopped in town for a bit and then drove out to check it out.
Boomtown is very Midwest. I love it. The routes are all 4-6 bolts long and about 20-30 feet long. They're right on the shore of the river and it's a very cool setting. If only the rock was a little better. Oh well.
Katie and I walked the length of the cliff, or what I thought was the length of it, and then turned back. The whole time we were joking back and forth about climbing in the midwest. Joking about how many bolts there were and just enjoying ourselves.
It was only later in the week, after a stop to see the Organic Super Crash Pad Shop of Doom, that we found out who bolted all of the routes and just how many there were!
Apparently when Josh was 10 or 11 his parents gave him and his brother a Hilti and a box of bolts. They went all crazy nuts on the cliff and bolted something like 180 routes throughout their younger years in Stillwater. Impressive, to say the least!
It was definitely fun to see the climbing again and to just sort of hang out. With that though we went back to Taylors, found a campsite on the river and set up the tent. Midway through putting up the tent Katie caught her fingertip and it opened up again in a blood gushing sort of event. She jumped around a lot and squealed a bit before I believed it was serious. I suck, I know.
We ran and grabbed the QuikClot and man, I'm impressed. It stopped the bleeding in about a minute flat. Very impressive and something we should all have around. Neither of us could believe how fast it worked.
With that, we set up camp with relative calm and passed out, again.
The next morning I tried the Cave Traverse again, with the same amount of success as the day before. Motivation wasn't exactly at a high point at any time during the trip. We definitely used this as a time to relax so I wasn't too worried about whether I actually climbed anything or not.
We went down and spent the rest of the day in Minneapolis and then spent the night at a very cool Bed and Breakfast in Stillwater. Can't say enough how cool of a town that place is! We loved it there!