14 Minutes

“Skander, I bet we only have like 30 minutes until that storm hits.”
“Naw, it’s 8:45 now.  There’s no way we’ll be wet by 9:15.”

I spent last week desperate to climb, and despite a relatively obvious forecast (“heavy rain”), Jess and I were hiking up to the Starlight Lounge wall at Lost Horse Canyon on Saturday morning.   I had hoped the rain wouldn’t really kick until the afternoon, that seemed optimistic as we drove up to the trailhead.  Props to Jess for being a willing partner, and a much better judge of the weather- 14 minutes after our conversation, a steady drizzle enveloped the cliff face.  It was not the best start to the day.

Not sure whether Jess is indicating her opinion of the weather or my skills at forecasting it.

Jess was kind enough to oblige me by finishing the hike to the base of the cliff despite the steady precip.  Just at the base, the skies began to lighten, and we scrambled to get an up-valley vantage.  Clearing skies and warm temps got me thinking- “by the time we rack up, I bet this thing is dry…”  So we did, and it was.  I shot up the 5.8 we chose to warmup on, leaving several pieces of big gear on the ground.  Fast early season lesson- big cracks are always bigger than they look from the ground.

This picture just doesn’t really fit into any good day of climbing. Note the line of water marching down the valley.

Ultimately, it was fine, and “good training” for running it out and finding “odd” gear.  From the top I could see another system building up the valley, but it felt like we had more time.

The sun in the background is entirely deceiving.

We rapped off but left a top rope for this funky looking wide crack just next to the previous line.  The storm was moving fast. My ego told me I should lead the wide crack, but based on the previous experience, I took the top rope and figured out the route on top rope just in time to rap off before the rain hit.  And then it really hit, going back to the car suddenly became mandatory, we we’re sitting this one out.  It was clear and sunny by the time we got down, but another storm system was rolling through, so we grabbed some lunch and weighed our options.  A group of five other folks came off the cliff around the same time and we swapped stories about who was on what when it started getting wet.

Long story short, they were “the locals”, and also very friendly, and also literally lived in a climbing gym.  They were psyched to meet some new people, and quickly invited us back to town for some plastic pulling rather than rolling the dice with the weather.  As usual, the locals are STRONG.  Eric and Katie rent a 4,000s.f. warehouse, with a little partition for a bedroom, and a completely freestanding, multifaceted indoor wall covering about 1,000 s.f. of floor space.  They have plans to continue building out the rest of the space.  I admire their complete dedication to the sport, and they are equally strong, humble, and fun.  Getting to know them was a great way to salvage the afternoon- I look forward to linking up with them again soon.

Wanna get strong? These kids literally live in a gym…

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