Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some of the best days...

People tend to avoid climbing on days with bad forecasts like they tend to avoid hazardous material spills. While the latter of these avoidances is generally a good decision, the former is not...at least not at Devil's Lake. At the Lake, spring, summer and fall storms tend to be short and intense, but clear quickly - some locals have speculated that this is due to the Baraboo Range's tendency to "split" storm systems. I am no meteorologist, but I have witnessed this strange weather pattern firsthand in the past, and have come to believe in it, if nothing more, as a useful heuristic to get me off the couch and out to the bluffs.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WAGG Day 13 - Goes 37-39

05/21/15 (weight 178.2, AMRHR 52)

We had to put our beloved dog, Jenny, down today, and I needed to get out of the house - so I headed up to Necedah to meet Nate and drown my sorrows with a few goes on Whiskey. It was a nice evening, maybe a little warmer than ideal for climbing, but great temps for just being outside. At the end, while cleaning the anchors, I was treated to the beautiful sunset below.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Quick Note From Friday Night

My good friend Eric came met me after work for a few hours of climbing last Friday, we wanted to tick a few pitches off, and here's what we did:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Climber's Party Photos

Mike and Melissa hosted the Annual Wisconsin Climbers' Party again. This year it was held in conjunction with a WCA event at Devil's Lake. A good time was had by all, and the event was a success. Here are a few photos I snapped during the party:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WAGG Day 12 - Goes 35-36

05/13/15 (weight 180, AMRHR 56)

I snuck up to Necedah for an abbreviated session on Whiskey on Wednesday evening. I took a lead go and a TR go. The lead go was bolt-to-bolt, I was psyched about this, because at least I was able to commit to the heady jackness between bolts four and five. The TR go was decent too, my second two-hang of the route on TR.

At this point, I think wiring the bottom (up to the big pinch) and top (above the mail-slot) are on the docket. The climbing in both of the sections isn't particularly hard compared to the rest of the route, but both sections need to be climbed efficiently to allow for the fight in the middle.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coming Full-Circle on a Magical Night at Devil's Lake

It has been about twelve years since I have gotten paid to go climbing (which in my case usually means getting paid to build anchors and belay - not pull down). I loved guiding when I was in college - it provided me with a great avenue for sharing the skills and knowledge I had acquired, put me in generally amazing work environments, allowed me to meet a bunch of cool people (my wife included) and gave me the opportunity to really build my skills by having to know them so well that I could teach them to a variety of people in a variety of circumstances.

About six months ago Nick Wilkes, owner of Devil's Lake Climbing Guides, and I were introduced through mutual friends. Nick and I began a conversation that led to him hiring me on as a part-time guide. I helped him out for the first time on the night of Wednesday, May 6th - it was a blast working with clients again, and I look forward to more of the same as the season goes on. As fun as guiding was, the highlight of the night came after I said goodbye to everyone in the parking lot. With gorgeous temps (and 0 pitches to my name for the evening) I grabbed my shoes, chalkbag and headlamp and ran back up the Balanced Rock Trail for a few quick solos.
The night was amazing, perfect temps, a light breeze, the stars, the moon. I did five quick "pitches":
Balanced Rock Wall is the perfect place for this kind of thing, if one is so inclined. Fun climbing, low cruxes, and easy access.

Heading back down the trail on a perfect spring evening.
Walking down the trail in the dark, the climbing behind me, the talus still radiating the now-faded sun's heat and the warm breeze on my skin...all of  it, lit only by the small cone of light from my headlamp...I felt a deep a peace, a sense of place, and reverence for all that surrounded me. I felt in sync, if only for the briefest of moments, with the world pulsing around me. In that moment, life was not a struggle, or a race, but perfectly-natural, and easy - the whole universe was properly ordered, everything, including me, was in its place. The stars twinkled in the vast, unending sky and I touched eternity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

WAGG Day 11 - Goes 31-34

05/02/15 (weight 179.2, AMRHR 56)

After last Friday's encouraging progress, I couldn't wait to get back up to Necedah for another go (or four) at Whiskey.

After three lead goes and a TR go at the end of the day, I wasn't able to match my effort from last Friday, but I was pretty happy with my ability to make the first few clips repeatedly on the lead goes. On lead the route will break down into the following three cruxes for me: