In the climbing world, October is officially known as Rocktober — the best time of year for climbing. The effect of the cold, brisk air on granite coupled with the gentle fall sun on your back makes for superb climbing. For some, the fall weather makes the hardest routes in the world (in places like Yosemite)… almost achievable. And while Ryan would love to find himself on giant, big wall multi-pitch routes all the time, sometimes you just don’t have the time, gear, or skills to comply. Also, sometimes the best routes are just too dang crowded. But little inconveniences can’t stop us!
Our goal for October was to get out and climb outdoors as often as possible. A few months back Ryan snagged the Sonora Pass Highway climbers guide online and read about the Gianelli Edges, a remote mostly top roping area at the end of a few miles of dirt roads with some great spots to practice our crack climbing. It didn’t seem too far away for a one night trip, so a few weeks ago we went for the first time and have been back to Sonora twice since. We’ve yet to be disappointed.
Leaving Friday nights after traffic has died down and driving the 3 hours or so with a good audio book has proven our best recipie. Around 10pm we pull happily into our new favorite camping spot, throw up our tent, and sleep like babies on our camping pads and pillows in the cool, quiet air.
Three visits in and I think we found our groove: lots of layers, freezing feet and fingers, but beautiful views and some great climbs.
While Ryan loves the open air and determination of multi pitch climbs, I personally love getting the chance to do single pitch climbs because it provides a safe space to practice specific skills — setting up anchors, rope management, lead belaying (for me), placing gear & most recently: crack climbing.
Crack climbing can best be described as… painful. You basically stick some version of your hands, wrists, arms, and/or fingers into the crack in order to pull yourself up the wall. The hardest climbs require using your feet in the cracks — turning your foot sideways and twisting your ankle & toes against the rock to create friction. It’s unpleasant, terrifying and takes weeks to get familiar with the re-distribution of your weight in such a way. And yet…
…there’s something so beautiful about it.
This weekend we are off to keep up the Rocktober fun with a surf & camp trip to Doran Beach with some friends — hoping to squeeze some bouldering in with our new bouldering mat. Stay tuned!