"Not all those who wander are lost"

4th of July

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea and the music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

-Lord Byron

 

Wednesday (6/29) morning was the usual sitting on the porch hanging out and waiting to see how the day plays out.  I was all set to go and still nobody to climb with so I decided to work on whittling a spoon.  I’m sure you all have more foresight than I did.  Naturally after a while my hand slipped and I sliced my thumb.  Instantly it started gushing blood.

With my thumb sealed up with krazy glue and athletic tape I headed off to Summersville lake with Mark, a friend I met in Yosemite last fall, and Matt whom I had just met at Roger’s.  We warmed up on some really fun 5.10s at the Orange Oswald wall before moving on to do some harder climbs.  The only problem was that my krazy glue had already broken and my thumb had begun to bleed into the tape when I used it.  After a new round of glue I jumped on Satisfaction Guaranteed.  After getting making my way though the bouldery moves to get off the ground, a technical and difficult slab, and pulling through a roof my thumb began to stream blood.  Pumped from the roof and unable to grip through the blood I quickly fell off.  Once I had wiped all the excess blood off onto the rock and re-taped my thumb (I had to get the tape thrown up to me) I managed to finish the route.

Before we headed out we jumped in the lake to cool down and of course, to try to deep water solo.  I found on great boulder problem starting in the water with a few big moves that Mark and I took turns trying to finish.  Every time we ended up with full body extension into a sloped side pull and not being able to move our feet.  Despite not being able to finish the problem it was certainly a great one and very fun.

 

Thursday I joined up with the two French Canadians, Evelyne and Sophie, as well as a couple of the guys, Scurvy and Ken, who live at Roger’s for a trip out to Meadow River.  Seven miles of wavy dirt roads, sketchy bridges, massive pot holes, and a stream crossing later we made it to the crag.  The day was spent on some 11s and attempting a couple 12s, belaying, and hanging out.  Again, the krazy glue holding my thumb together split and I bled on another route.  Life at the New had begun to be normal and I loved it.  Every day was spent climbing with some hanging out on the porch in the morning and evening.

(Sophie on Depth Charge, 5.12b)

 

While I was in Morgantown I had ordered a crash pad online and managed to convince Ian to drive down to the New for the weekend to deliver it and hang out.  I met Ian and his friend Jess at Summersville lake to do some climbing and deep water soloing.  Both were eager learners and I was happy to see that Ian was getting better since the beginning of our trip in New England.  Unfortunately, despite my checking, when he got to the top of the route, he was lost on how to clean the route.  I had explained the process when we were in New Hampshire, but all of the anchors at Rumney had been quick clips so he never had to actually clean.  Before I could yell instructions up to him the girl on the next route over helped explain since she was right next to him.  Crisis averted we headed back to the parking area to meet up with a two more of Ian’s friends, Mac and Kristine.  Once we got everyone together we headed to Whippoorwill, a crag that has sport climbing when the lake drains in the winter but is deep water soloing during the summer.  Armed with noodles Ian brought we swam, climbed, jumped and played around.  I even got lots of the climbing on video with my GoPro (equipped with a nalgine for flotation) including underwater climbing.  When we got back to Roger’s I was stunned; the number of tents tripled while I was gone for the day.  The advantage of the fourth of July crowd was that someone finally got around to making a fire which all the regulars hadn’t bothered to do since I arrived.

(Ian climbing at the lake)

(Kristine, Jess, Ian, Me, and Mac at the lake)

 

Saturday morning Jess and Mac headed out early.  Ian and Kristine on the other hand couldn’t be motivated to do much besides taking a nap for most of the morning.  After a while I got them going and we headed to the Bridge area.  We got down underneath the bridge and stopped for some pictures, but before we could go any further ambulances, cops, and park rangers passed by and stopped just down the road, closing it off to traffic.  Someone had been hurt at the crag, but it wasn’t until later that I found out what happened.  Apparently a guy was drunk by noon and thought it a good idea to free solo some routes.  He did one, but fell off the second from almost at the top and somehow managed to survive.  He was in the ICU for a while, but last I heard he was getting better.  Another sobering reminder to know your limits.  Since the road was blocked off we went back to the one area we could get to and since I didn’t have my trad gear I set up some top ropes for Kristine to climb.  When we finished climbing the road had been opened for a while so we headed to the car to go swim at the river.  The local swim spot on the river is right before some rapids so we got great views of boaters while we played in the water.  We got dinner and free local beer (from a coupon left on our car at the bridge) before Ian and Kristine headed back to Morgantown.  With them gone I went back to the usual hanging out on the porch until some of us went to a free bluegrass show.

(4th craziness at Roger’s)

 

Sunday was another lake day.  I hated to keep going to the same place so many times when there were so many placed that I hadn’t been at all, but then again, the water was great.  I hung out most of the day with a couple people from Roger’s but I found out once I got there that none were going back to Roger’s.  I managed to find a potential ride with some other people I knew were staying at Roger’s too so continued to climb and swim.  Looking for a climb to deep water solo I climbed starting from a low horizontal crack.  After a few moves the holds disappeared and I fell back into the water with a splash.  I began to swim to a similar horizontal crack about 10 feet away before I noticed a snake sitting in the crack.  Once I noticed the snake I remembered hearing someone mention a copperhead a couple hours before.  I gave the snake a wide berth and went to another spot where I could easily climb.  I got 15 feet up the climb when a wasp stung me and continued to buzz around me.  I called it quits and swam back giving the copperhead a wide berth again.  My ride back proved interesting.  First thing as we were leaving the parking lot he asked which way to turn.  The ride back was filled with similar questions and comments, most prevalently was asking if every road we drove past was the turn to Fayetteville.

 

Fourth of July!  As usual I hung out on the porch until I found someone to climb with.  This time it was Daryl guy up from Ashville for a few days.  We headed down to the Rico Suave area of Kaymoor.  After a warm up I got on Out of the Bag (5.11d).  I climbed up the face of the buttress on big moves to an insecure crux with no good feet or hands, but ended up getting to tired figuring it out to onsight the route.  On my second attempt I made it through the first part of the crux but messed up the next moves on tiny crimps.  My third try I finally got it; moving up through the crux into a section of tiny crimps and some more awkward technical moves up to the anchors.  It was my hardest red point since getting back on my ankle and I was happy to get it.  In my search for the perfect climb it was certainly coming in towards the top and definitely my favorite climb I had done at the New so far.  Clouds had been rolling in while we climbed and now we heard thunder getting closer.  For some that would be time to bail, but as Roger is quoted in the guide book say “Rico’s dry” we decided to keep climbing.  The Rico (the route) is four star 5.10 so we got on it.  By the time Daryl and I finished it was a full downpour but we were (mostly) dry under an overhang.  We chilled out of the rain with three other people, Weston, Chiara, and Doug, who had been climbing next to us.  I spent most of the time giving advice about New Zealand to Chiara who is moving there soon.  The rain eased up a bit and we hiked back to Roger’s.  Unable to climb for the rest of the day I headed to Class VI to sneak a free shower.  Clean and clean shaved I returned to camp just in time to pile into a minivan with 12 other people to ride into town for the fireworks.  It may be a small town, but Fayetteville went all out for the holiday with a fair, rides, and 45 minutes of fireworks.

(On Out of the Bag, 5.11d)

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