What a rad weekend! My old friend Phil and his family came up to the house to visit my family and me. Phil and I are planning a big trip later in the summer, but this weekend was about reacquainting and spending some excellent time out on the rock at Devil's Lake. I wrote about some plans last Thursday, but they (as they always do) changed. This is how it actually shook out.
Saturday we got an early start and headed up to the East Bluff for a mileage day, and got it. Since we are getting ready for a big trip in the real mountains we started with some easier routes in approach shoes, Easy Overhang (5.4), The Spine (5.4), and Boy Scout (5.3). After that sufficient warm-up, we switched to actual climbing shoes and bumped the grade a little with Brinton's Crack (5.6), Full Stop (5.6), and Peter's Project (5.7). With six easy-to-moderate leads under our belt we decided to throw a toprope on something a bit harder - Thoroughfare (5.11a) seemed like a good choice. I was excited to send this, even on toprope, so early in the season, and particularly since it was the first 5.11 I have climbed since my finger injury in 2010. After that we put our lead faces back on and headed over to Birch Tree Crack (5.8) for a quick lead; since we were right next door, I finished up with a toprope ascent of The Stretcher (5.9+/5.10a). At that point some friends started to congregate from other parts of the park and we all wound the day down with a chat in the perfect weather before heading down the CCC Trail to the cars.
Sunday dawned early, and we planned for a quick trip to the park so Phil and family could head home at a reasonable hour. We decided an abridged version of the original plan from Saturday would suffice. The parking lot for Old Sandstone was empty when we pulled in at 8:30a - rad! We headed up the trail and found extremely windy conditions as the wind whipped around the corner of the cliff. We flaked out the rope and racked up for Everleigh Club Crack (5.7) - a fun little lead that protects well and has the distinct advantage of being in the sun at that hour. Then we built an anchor above Curving Crack (5.8) and dropped a toprope on Mammalary Magic (5.10a). I had planned on leading Curving Crack, but bailed three-quarters of the way because it was so dirty still from the winter, I was short on cams big enough for the top, it was cold, I was still sore and tired from the day before, and just not feeling it (how is that for a laundry list of excuses?!?!). We ended up toproping it, and Mammalary Magic then calling it a day.
After lunch and goodbyes to Phil and family, we had a lazy few hours around the house; then, despite feeling sore and exhausted, I went for an eighty-five minute bike ride around the block to get my scheduled cardio workout for the day - I felt better by the time I got home (amazing how sometimes getting the blood pumping is all that is needed). All-in-all a pretty awesome weekend, and I am feeling good leading up to the J-tree trip in a few weeks. I just want to work on having more climbing endurance before then, so a long hangboard endurance session, followed by a long pull-up endurance session is on tap for tonight.