Moose Hanging Out At Camp.
I saw a window and I grabbed it.
In short, I've been crazy busy lately and this trip to So Ill came up super last minute. I took the chance to get out of Madison and we left about 12 hours after deciding to go.
We had no idea if it was dry. No idea if things were climbable. No clue if the weather would hold or if we'd actually get to climb anything. We just wanted out of Madison for a little bit.
We were planning on meeting Chris (Gunther Von Ponch) and Sarah down at Jackson Falls and had planned on spending three days being lazy there. Earlier on Wednesday Chris told me they'd leave a bit earlier to make sure we had a campsite when we got there.
I told him not to worry too much. January isn't exactly prime time for Jackson...
All I can say about the first night it that it was DAMN cold out. The inch or so of snow on the ground didn't help matters. Around 7 AM I got up with Moose in tow and we went for a bit of a walk. The other three were fast asleep and I had some time to burn. We walked out to the falls, which as we found out later in the weekend is the cool thing to do, and I was sad to see they'd taken down the rope ladder for "Safety Concerns". In its place they put up a two bolt easy sport climb. Oh well.
All Alone At Jackson Falls.
Chris Showing Us All That He's Just Not Into That Whole 'Morning' Thing.
After a quick breakfast we started out down the trail and over to the dog walk access. Katie and I made it down through the snow ok but we watched in surprise as Chris chucked Sarah's pad down the small hill and everything exploded out of the pad. Water bottles, sammiches, climbing shoes, down booties...EVERYTHING! In an even cooler moment their Stanley thermos landed on their aluminum water bottle and basically imploded the water bottle. Very fun.
We picked up the mess and dropped everything under the Reefer Madness boulder while we ran around like idiots looking at the different boulders. Eventually we started warming up on all the stuff by Reefer. It was so nice to be on rock again. Chris spent some time up on the top of the boulder trying to clear off the lip of any and all snow. First time I've seen someone use a car brush to clear off snow. More fun was had.
Katie On Ghetto Life
Shortly after that we packed up and moved over to Body Karate and Yosemite slab. We set up our bevy of pads and got going. I'd been curious about a problem called Hypoglycemia that climbs into the finish of Body Karate from the left on cool slopers and edges. I figured out the hard first move after a few tries and then quickly made my way through the rest of the beta. A bit of a rest and some key foot beta from Chris and I'd finished it up.
While it wasn't a super rad sicky gnar gnar style send, it felt really good to pull a little bit and finish something again. It felt even better to do it rather quickly on my 4th or 5th day back climbing.
Chris ended up punting on his flash go pretty badly by falling off of the upper jugs unexpectedly. Too bad really. He finished it up right after I did. Maybe I should start calling him Gunther Von Punt...I like that.
Gunther on his punt attempt.
And again, to reiterate, he punted well after this. Sad to watch cause he looked so strong.
Katie started working on the problem and Sarah started working Cold Fusion. Katie made some great progress using a heel hook on the first move where Chris and I had pulled out our stupid hats and made the move much harder than it needed to be. She figured out the rest of the moves pretty easily and was left to just try and link it together. She had a couple of really good tries making it to just past the redpoint crux before coming off. We figured it'd go tomorrow or the next day, no problem.
Katie working out the first move.
Near the finish on one of her best tries.
Sarah figured out some good beta on Cold Fusion and was getting closer and closer to making it to the big jugs up high. Sadly the Sandstone was taking its toll on our skin and we were getting more and more thrashed. Katie was still sore from her death workout earlier in the week and I didn't want to mess with my finger too much.
Chris though was pretty psyched on Body Karate and so we set up the pads for that bad boy. He gave it a few goes and finally I had to convince him to awkwardly put his heel in instead of his toe. He listened and quickly stuck the second and third moves. After trying the back end of the problem he had everything figured out rather quickly.
On the first slap.
He gave it a couple of really strong efforts but couldn't keep his core together long enough to finish the problem up.
I tried Body Karate once but my fingers cried uncle after one go and I didn't want to get hurt.
I spent much more time brushing the problem than actually climbing on it.
Finger saying "Ouchie Poo".
After a bit of rest we were able to egg him on enough to get him to try Yosemite Slab. Chris is, by choice, not a slab climber. He brought over Katie's half pad thinking that it's so low angle his lack of slabby skills wouldn't matter. He was wrong.
This is the exact moment that he slapped the wall and lost ALL of his chalk.
About halfway up he asked the ladies to "Bring over a real pad" so that he wouldn't die. The pictures tell it better than I could though. I think he spent a good 10 minutes on the damn thing.
Katie and Sarah bringing over a "Real Pad".
Shoulda brought the chalk...
With that we hiked over to Zig Zag and OBD to see what might be dry. Nothing was dry, but we cleaned up some of the topouts with hope in our hearts as we walked out. On the way back to our pads we spied the rope ladder by lovely tower and went up there instead of the dog walk. A continual stretch of wetness made the rope good and sketchy all three days.
Look for Day 2 radness soon...