This one’s my first sport climb outing and also my first trip with fellow American friends in the US. We climbed for two days by this ranch called Horseshoe Canyon in Arkansas, which is basically a vast area of landscape with wooden structures meant for raising grazing livestock like sheep and cattle. After a 5 hour drive from Lawrence, we reached HCR at around 12am, camped for the night and began climbing early morning the next day.
Greeted with bright sunshine, I saw guys already sending some tough routes by the time me and my group made it to the ranch. And we weren’t alone, for the ranch is one of the hotspot for climbers during this time of the year, with the winter just having ended. As for my climbing, I didn’t give a damn for the grades of the routes that I wanted to send but just wanted to have fun climbing. I managed to send 4 routes of which 2 were easy and the other two were super difficult given my strength and technical skills, for I had just started climbing regularly for 3 months till then. But I was really happy with the challenges that I was faced off with.
The highlight about my climbing to my friends was this 20 feet fall that I had when I was just about to make the last quick draw clip of this route that was 80feet high, which I almost sent. It was my last climb of the day and the route was not that difficult. It had pretty decent holds, but was definitely a test of endurance. Zack, who was belaying me did really well when I took the fall. Lead climbing this one, with all the gas I had left in me, I reached the last bolt that was 10 feet away from the previous one, and Zack had let loose when I shouted out “clipping”. But I guess I spent the last bit of the energy that was left out of my poor body to announce that I was to clip. Before I was done pulling the rope toward the bolt with my left hand, my right fingers, three of them that helped me hang on to this tiny hold, gave up one at a time and the next thing I realized, I was taking a fall, which fortunately was a safe one.
Physically tired of all the climbing, we had early dinner, following which we circled around the campfire. While the Carlo Rossi Sweet Red Wine Jug went around in loop, guys shared their climbing experience for the trip, which was really fun listening to. Everyone one had a good laugh when Lyle picture perfectly described my fall. I got some pat on the back saying it was brave to have gone for the final bolt with hardly any gas left, but they also cautioned me to be careful, for the route can always be sent during the next trip but ones hurt by the fall, it could probably hurt me forever. Advice taken! I hardly remember what I spoke, when it was my turn to talk and drink the wine out of the Rossi Jug. I got a bit nervous to be honest. Later I slipped into my tent at around 12:30am. Next day morning I was told that the guys got drunk till 4am in the morning and I could see 3 Rossi Jugs empty, which is like lot of wine. We didn’t do much of climbing the second day to be honest and started driving to Lawrence at 3:00pm.
You know there’re certain things that when you do for the first time in your life, you will know for sure and will tell yourself that you would want to continue doing it your whole life. That’s exactly what happened with me the first time when I went on a hike, took my bike out for a long ride, ran a half marathon, learnt “FEM and Simulation technologies” (academic stuffs) , and blogged for the first time. This wasn’t different either. At the end of the trip while heading back home, leaning on the car mirror and enjoying the beautiful view of the sunset, I was all full of thoughts. I was wondering about how many more of these trips I would want to do in my life. And the answer was, as long as I am fit enough to climb outdoors.
In the morning…
Outdoor climbing is fun, challenging and thought provoking when you look back at your trip and think of all the lessons learnt that could be applied to your day to day life. Here’s a post which summarizes why one should rock climb for good.