Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

New River Gorge: The (Almost) Day of Reckoning

I'd love to know how many Friday nights our family has spent picnicking at this VA rest area off Hwy 77!

I’d love to know how many Friday nights our family has spent picnicking at this VA rest area off Hwy 77!

If you follow our family on instagram (@cragmama1), you may have noticed a family photo taken along the Endless Wall Trail on Saturday morning, with a caption entitled -“Today is a day of reckoning out the NRG…let’s do this!”  It was my first (and potentially only) chance this spring to send Jesus and Tequila 12b, the mega classic sandbag that I’d came heartbreakingly close to ticking off last November as the fall season closed out.  After some annihilating circuit work in the gym, along with recent success at both the New and the Red in recent weeks, I was feeling reasonably strong and my mental game was in a great space.  I was ready to tackle this monster again.

The first crux of the weekend was finding willing partners to drag down to Endless Wall with me, with a forecast of 70 and sunny.  With no leaves on the trees yet and a wall that bakes in the sun, it was a hard sell.  The CragDaddy was more than willing, but unless I wanted to find Baby Zu rafting down the river after looking away for 10 minutes, we needed someone else as well.  Fortunately for me though, I have some pretty awesome friends who were willing to suffer in the sun with me.  (And actually, they had sunny projects in mind as well, and their alpine start + twilight climbing schedule meshed reasonably well with my midday brawl.)

Trying hard on the J n T crux...

Trying hard on the J n T crux…

UNfortunately for myself and everyone else, however, no one’s efforts on Saturday resulted in a send.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be…yet.  Except for the obvious fact that I didn’t send it, I feel really good about how the day went.  I gave it 4 tries – one was a bolt to bolt warm-up to re-familiarize myself with the moves.  I was really psyched to figure out a completely different sequence of moves for the upper roof crux…the same move that spit me off last fall on my epic un-send.  The new beta is MUCH more secure and higher percentage, and I am certain that when the time comes to do that move on point, I won’t be falling there again.

...aaaand I'm off.

…aaaand I’m off.

My second go of the day was a one-hang – I fell at the crux after fiddling with my foot placement too much (the rope management is a little weird there.)  I pulled right back up and finished the route strong, and felt really good about my next attempt.  My third go I made it through the crux!  I was pleased at how much I was able to get back at the rest stances, and was thinking it was my time…then I fell at the big deadpoint move.  Ugh.  That move has always been hard for me, but I had never struggled on it until that day.

Big C's super cool nature find along the trail.

Big C’s super cool nature find along the trail.

By this point I was running out of time, but I owed it to myself to give it one more go.  The days will only be getting hotter from here on out, so it was probably my last shot before fall.  Predictably, however, I was pretty gassed, and fell at the crux, again.  Ironically, the deadpoint move felt the most solid as it had all day, and of course, with the new beta, I cruised right through the roof.

I’d be lying if I didn’t feel just a little disappointed, but like my friend Caleb said, “It’s all part of the process.”  The real story here is about an amazing piece of rock that so many people have on their bucket list.  I would consider myself blessed to be able to experience it even once, let alone have a chance to invest so much of myself in it.  This all probably sounds a little silly to a non-climber, but there is a very personal, almost relational, connection, between a climber and a project.  Whether the route is personified as a nemesis that you want to exact revenge upon, or an old friend that you keep coming back to for a friendly duel, the emotional investment can be pretty intense.  For me, I think finding the right balance is key – training hard for a goal and leaving everything out there on the rock is good, and necessary for the send.  But at the end of the day, I hike out with my family with a smile on my face, knowing deep down it’s really just a hunk of rock.

Can you guess which kid is a morning person?!?

Can you guess which kid is a morning person?!?

Sure I wish I would have sent, but this trip was by far not a waste.  The next day I tried hard for a 2nd go send of All the Right Moves 11d, a 100 foot journey with a funky roof crux that had previously seemed really intimidating.  I also came super close on Control 12a, and am confident that those power moves will go down fairly easily when I’m fresh. Not to mention the new roof beta I have for Jesus and Tequila.

CragDaddy cruxin' on Control 12a

CragDaddy cruxin’ on Control 12a

Some weekends everything falls together and you send.  Other times you work your ass off and walk away empty-handed.  But those “work” weekends are what makes the “sending” weekends so magical.  I’m not sure when, but one of these days I will pull the crux on Jesus and Tequila and not take the swinging whipper.  I’ll stay clean through the dihedral and nail the deadpoint move.  I’ll teeter out across the roof and plant my foot exactly where it needs to be, and execute the final sequence.  I’ll stand at the top and savor the magnificent view of the river below, feeling that mix of pure exhilaration and exhaustion that I so wish I could bottle up and sell.  We’ll go out for dinner and I’ll celebrate with a round of margaritas for anyone that wants to join me.  Then I’ll walk the cliff again and wait for inspiration to strike, and the cycle will start all over again.  Ah, thank you God for creating rocks to climb on.  :)

The magnificent view atop J n T.

The magnificent view atop J n T.


Spring(?!?) Break at the Red River Gorge

Hueco wackos enjoying themselves out at Left Flank.

Hueco wackos enjoying themselves out at Left Flank.

When we started planning our spring break trip to the Red a couple of months ago, we decided to reserve a cabin in lieu of camping, just because the weather can be a bit of a toss up this time of year.  Turns out that was a pretty good decision, because 4 days straight of high’s in the 40’s mixed with clouds, rain, and even a little bit of snow is not my idea of fun family camping.  To be perfectly honest, it’s not exactly my idea of fun family climbing either…but we decided to go for it anyway…and I’m really glad we did!

For starters, the weather ended up not being quite as mean as initially forecasted…temps were still pretty low for every day but Sunday (our last day, of course!), but instead of constant precipitation and clouds, we escaped with just a few passing showers and flurries, and just enough sunshine to keep the rock warm.

Day 1:

LEFT FLANK:  Everyone’s objective for the day was Mercy the Huff 12b.  We probably should NOT have warmed up on Fast Food Christians 10a…the slab was cold, and the opening moves were damp and a little tweaky.  Considering the too-little-too-late power endurance I was coming in with, I wasn’t terribly optimistic about the send.  I felt pretty good on the moves, however, and had a good bolt to bolt run on my first attempt.  My second go I came up juuuuust short of the clipping hold at the 4th bolt, but linked clean until there and for several bolts after.  No one else from our crew sent either, but we all agreed it was a good start to the long weekend.

Steve on his way up Mercy the Huff 12b

Steve on his way up Mercy the Huff 12b

Day 2:

SOLARIUM:  This place is my new favorite crag in Muir Valley for sure, and possibly in the entire gorge!  Loads of tall, aesthetic lines, most of which are littered with huecos to perch in and enjoy the views (while your forearms slowly deflate back to their original size!)  I started my day out on Air Ride Equipped 11a, which I probably would have enjoyed more had my hands not felt frozen and numb.  Next I hopped on Banshee 11c…and shoulda (coulda woulda) had the onsight, had I not completely missed the fingerlock in the back of the second hueco.  Womp womp.  I pulled the rope and sent it fairly easily second go.

Since the draws were already up, I decided to try my hand on Magnum Opus 12a, a long line that packs a short, but powerful punch at the beginning.  I figured out the crux beta fairly quickly, but I think putting it together would have taken more time than I wanted to spend at a new area.

Enjoying the jugland on the upper section of Banshee 11c

Enjoying the jugland on the upper section of Banshee 11c

Day 3:

With temps not getting out of the 30’s until late in the day, and 15-20 mph winds in cloudy skies, our family decided a rest day might be in order.  We stopped by to hang out with a fellow climbing family that had coincidentally arrived on an extended 3 month trip just days before, and then in the afternoon Big C and I went to the Kentucky Reptile Zoo as part of the Snake Study we are doing in his homeschooling right now.  I can’t say enough how cool this place was – first off, it has one of the largest collections of venomous snakes in the entire world.  We got a very personalized tour of all of their snakes on exhibit, and even got to watch some angry cobras getting their venom extracted!  My little nature geek was in heaven.


We rounded out our day on a scouting hike to Funk Rock City, to check out Orange Juice 12c, a route that has been on my bucket list to try since I first laid eyes on it in 2012.  Unlike many routes at the Red, this one does NOT do well in the rain, and the forecast had kept us away until this point.  Also, the hike is long, and includes a stream crossing which can be a little temperamental depending on water levels.  We thought a rest day was a good chance to see how 6 year old legs would handle both the hike and the stream.  He crossed the stream like a champ (except for when he came back to “help Mommy” and fell in…), but the hike was still a 45 minute slog one way.  That combined with the fact that it was 30 minutes from our cabin in the OPPOSITE direction from our house meant it was not ideal for our last day when we have a 7 hour drive ahead of us.  So OJ got put on the backburner…again.  One of these days I’ll get to it.


My three favorites!

My three favorites!

Day 4:

SOLARIUM/GREAT ARCH:  Instead, we opted for Muir Valley again…it was half the hike, and on the way out.  Plus we’d had so much fun there the previous day!  This time I warmed up on Black Powder 10b, a rather non-descript line with a couple of surprisingly burly moves down low.

The CragDaddy had his sights set on Beef Stick 12a, and his hard work earned him his second ever 5.12 onsight!  He lowered pronouncing it “reachy, but I think you’ll be able to get your feet up.”  I figured I had nothing to lose so I tied in.  It WAS reachy…but I WAS able to get my feet up, and I was very psyched to nab the flash!  The climbing was very odd, and very un-Red like (which is probably why Steve and I both did so well on it…)  There were 3 distinct cruxes, each separated by pretty good rests, and all involving some sort of scrappy rockover/mantle maneuver.  The moves were a lot more committing than they were hard.

High-stepping along the black streak of Beef Stick 12a.

High-stepping along the black streak of Beef Stick 12a.

I ended my day on something I should have tried far earlier – Galunlati 12b.  What a fantastic line – technical face climbing on terrain that doesn’t feel very steep until you lower off and see how far back you are.  I regrettably only got one crack at it, and after taking 10 minutes to hang the 4th draw (darn those reachy clips!), realized that another flash was not in the cards for the day.  Had I gotten on it on our first Solarium day (as opposed to Magnum Opus), I’m pretty sure I would have been able to link it 2nd or 3rd go, but I guess it’ll have to wait for the next trip.

Speaking of next trips…usually we only make it to the Red twice a year – once in spring and once in fall.  But the kiddos have been doing great in the car recently so we may (fingers crossed!) be able to eek out one more Red trip in early May (hopefully before the weather gets too hot!)  Next weekend though, it’s back to the NRG, where I am hoping the weather will cooperate long enough for me to excise my revenge on Jesus and Tequila!!!






Spring Climbing Season Has Sprung!

CragDaddy fingerlockin on Reckless Abandon 12a

CragDaddy fingerlockin on Reckless Abandon 12a

This past weekend represented the official “start” of spring climbing season for us.  The CragDaddy and I both came into the weekend with somewhat mixed emotions.  On the one hand, we were SO PSYCHED about the chance to get back on a rope, back up to the New River Gorge, and start spending our weekend on the rock again.  Ordinarily there are plenty of opportunities to get some climbing in during the winter on clear, calm days at south-facing crags (sun’s out, gun’s out!)  But this winter it seemed like it rained on just about every free weekend we had, and as a family we have been subsequently going nuts…so the opportunity to spend a whole weekend outside in brilliant weather was heavenly!

On the other hand…neither CragDaddy nor myself felt particularly “ready” for a season of sendage.  Last year at this time,  I was just finishing up an RCTM training cycle, and after planning out every detail or every workout for months, I was ready to reap the benefits of my hard work and commitment.  This year…not so much, due to a myriad of random things that have wreaked havoc on our schedule (starting homeschooling and battling walking pneumonia, to name a few.)  While we’ve been getting to the gym consistently 2-3x per week, the actual days/times vary by the week, which makes sticking to a training program difficult.  Not to mention, climbing hasn’t been occupying much of my focus lately with everything that’s been going on.

Not a bad backdrop to spend your day in front of...

Not a bad backdrop to spend your day in front of…

Needless to say, our performance expectations were NOT very high, to say the least.  My only agenda was to get out and try hard on something that was fun and worth doing.  And it’s a good thing I had a good attitude about it, because aside from one unexpected high note at the end of the trip, I climbed pretty terrible!

These tree stumps (which will be underwater in just a few weeks), are perfect for hiding eggs around, playing house inside, and of course, climbing up!

These tree stumps (which will be underwater in just a few weeks), are perfect for hiding eggs around, playing house inside, and of course, climbing up!

Our weekend started off at Summersville Lake at the Coliseum.  The warm-ups were fairly promising (Talk About It 10b and Do It 11a), but things started heading downhill on Reckless Abandon 12a.  A classic route with  gorgeous position out over the water, it had been on my list to try for a while.  I scrambled up the opening block, got paired up on some good edges and launched for the first big move…again and again and again.  I just couldn’t make the move.  A few times I actually latched the hold for a split second before peeling off, but never once snagged it…Strike 1.

Next I decided to hop on Tobacco Road 12b, a juggy line that traverses right along sharp(!) jugs to a short but powerful crux sequence pulling onto the headwall.  The clip before the crux proved to be a heinous reach for me, but I finally figured out some beta that involved batting at the draw to get it swinging closer so I could reach it.  I figured out the initial part of the crux relatively quickly, but the last move was a giant toss to a hero bucket hold, and once again, I just couldn’t make the move.  Once again, I latched it for a split second, but never once snagged it.  After just a few tries I lowered off, getting tired of having to boink back up every time I fell.  Apparently the move used to be substantially easier up until recently when an intermediate hold broke off, so too bad I didn’t get on it before!  I’m pretty sure with a little more work I can do it in it’s current state, as it felt far more doable than Reckless for me, but apparently it wasn’t meant to be this weekend! Strike 2.

The next day was spent at Butcher’s Branch, where I set my sights a little lower (or so I thought), on Bicycle Club 11d.  Everyone says this one is easier than it’s 11c neighbor, Sancho Belige, which I’d sent 2nd go a while back, so I was optimistic that I’d be able to put this one down relatively quickly.  But FOR THE THIRD TIME, I tossed for the big move at the 1st bolt (a relatively non-move for my taller partners), and FOR THE THIRD TIME I just couldn’t make the move.  Again and again and again.

The CragDaddy reaching tall on the Reckless Abandon move that shut me down.

The CragDaddy reaching tall on the Reckless Abandon move that shut me down.

Up until this point I had still been in pretty good spirits despite my dismal performance.  I’ve found that when I am in a season of life that is not as focused on training, I’m not as emotionally invested in the routes I’m doing, and I don’t get as frustrated when things don’t go my way.  But STRIKE 3 did not feel good!  My friend Sam convinced me to try Ministry 12b with him, and since he sent it first go, I opted to toprope it first so I could get his draws back without shenanigans if things didn’t go well (after all, my track record up until this point wasn’t looking good.)

Tobacco Road 12b

Tobacco Road 12b

I’d been on Ministry before, a couple of years ago, and had been unable to make it to the top.  It’s basically fun 5.10+ climbing for a handful of bolts, where a crimpy boulder problem awaits at the top.  This time around I surprised myself by figuring out a crux sequence that worked for me, albeit via two pretty terrible rounded crimpers (aka “slimpers.”)  The moves felt pretty darn hard, and I wasn’t at all confident about sending, but I tried again anyway.

That little pointer finger...;)

That little pointer finger…;)

As soon as my right hand hit the first hold of the crux sequence, I felt my attitude shift.  For the first time that weekend, I really wanted it.  It was like something switched on in my brain and I all of a sudden wanted to fight for the send.  Each move felt easier than the last, and before I knew it, I was standing at the chains.

Me going "full blowfish" on Ministry 12b

Me going “full blowfish” on Ministry 12b

Emotions are a very curious thing.  The feeling that I get when I am in the heat of a redpoint attempt on a project I’ve poured a lot of myself into is indescribable.  I can ride that high for weeks, and if I could bottle it and sell it, I’d be set for life!  But unfortunately that feeling can be as fleeting as it is strong.  And for me, I have a hard time sending if I don’t want it bad enough.  Perhaps that was part of my problem earlier in the weekend?  Maybe Ministry awakened some psych that had been hibernating over the winter.  Then again maybe I really am just weak and out of shape from the crazy couple of months we’ve just had.  More than likely, it’s a little bit of both.  But either way, I’m looking forward to upping my psych level at the Red River Gorge next week.  Spring has sprung!!!



Best in Snow…DUCKSDAY

Ready for a snowy hike in the Ducksday Ski Suit!

Ready for a snowy hike in the Ducksday Ski Suit!

It feels a bit odd to be writing this post in shorts as I look out the window and see my son frolicking around in 75 degree weather.  But I’m all too aware that just because spring has sprung in the South, doesn’t mean everyone is done with winter (and also doesn’t mean that winter won’t come back for one last laugh before spring is here to stay!)  I had actually intended to write this post back in January, but held off because we had a snowtubing adventure planned for February, and I had hoped to get some great action shots of Baby Zu’s new Ducksday ski suit to use.  Unfortunately for us, however, the weather was rather uncooperative, and the snowtubing just didn’t happen for our family this year.

But thankfully, I think the term “ski suit” might be a little misleading, and doesn’t actually give enough credit to this awesome little piece of gear.  Though we technically only got one “snow” (and if you are from the South, you understand why I put that in quotes,) we have gotten plenty of use out of this suit.

But first, the specs.  At first glance, this suit looks and feels like a much beefier version of the Ducksday Original Rainsuit (another family gear favorite, reviewed here!)  The outer layer is designed to block wind as well as water, all the way from the fleece-lined detachable, hood, down to the fold over toes (in the infant version.)  Insulated with 3M thinsulate, little bodies stay warm without overheating and getting sweaty.

"Its nowing!!!"

“Its nowing!!!”

Now for the applications.  We’ve used this suit in snow.  We’ve used it in ice. We’ve used it on cold, rainy afternoons.  But probably most frequently, we’ve used it on chilly, sometimes sub-freezing mornings around camp and at the crag.  This outerwear is perfect for bundling Baby Zu up in to explore around camp while waiting patiently (?!?) for a hot breakfast to head her way.  Then, when it’s time to hike in to the crag, and all the adults start shedding layers, she can stay comfy cozy all the way to the base of the cliff.  Usually by midmorning, the sun has thawed everything out enough so that she doesn’t need the suit anymore…and despite it’s initial bulky appearance, it actually can pack down pretty well!

One of my favorite parts about ALL Ducksday products is their versatility and durability.  The sizing is very generous, and designed to fit multiple children for multiples seasons.  For example, my son wore his green rain suit for THREE years…he wore it pretty hard, but it is no where near being worn out, and I am confident my daughter will be able to do the same when she can fit into it.  I’m also fairly certain that she’ll still be sporting the same pink ski suit next winter…so maybe I’ll still get a chance for those snowtubing action pics!


Hard to believe this was just a few weeks ago!

But in the meantime, I’d love to hear from others who have used Ducksday on family outings – what pieces are your favorites?  And if you haven’t tried Ducksday yet, what brands are your go to for cold/wet family adventures?


Family Climbing: Big C’s First Multi-pitch Adventure

It was an epic day for our family at Stone Mountain last weekend.  Well, for three of us anyway.  We left Baby Zu with the grands, and whisked Big C off to Stone Mountain for his very first day of multipitch climbing.

Up until this point the highest Big C had ever been off the ground was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 feet.  But on a previous trip to Stone Mountain a few weeks ago, he had astonished all of us at how well he had scrambled up the friction slab, and the CragDaddy and I left wishing we could have taken him higher.

And...they're off!

And…they’re off!

Note for the non-climbers: A “pitch” is a singular stretch of climbing, from one belay spot to the next.  “Single pitch” routes start on the ground and finish at a set of natural or man-made anchors (which may or may not be at the top of the cliff.)  A “multi-pitch” route usually starts from the ground, but upon reaching the anchors, continues up another section of cliff to the next belay station (often atop a natural ledge or other feature), then another section of climbing, and so on and so forth.  Therefore, a route that is 5 pitches long would be climbed in 5 distinct sections, with all climbers in a party finishing one section before continuing on to the next.

Obviously a multipitch scenario where everyone is off the ground at once can’t work when you’ve got a crazy toddler running around at the base of the cliff!  But with Baby Zu spending the day with grandparents, we had Big C all to ourselves, ready to make a summit run together.  We talked through the logistics at length on the way there, including plans for a summit, as well as back up plans in case we had to bail.

Enjoying the view from the Tree Ledge

Enjoying the view from the Tree Ledge

Block Route (5.8) seemed like the best and easiest option to get Big C to the Tree Ledge, a giant ledge about 160 feet off the deck.  He had already climbed the first 50 feet to the intermediate anchors without any issues, and there was really only one move that we anticipated he’d have a problem with.   (The namesake “block move” involves flopping one’s self up and over a 5 ft overlap feature, and we didn’t think he’d be able to reach up over the block to pull himself up.  Our plan was for me to lead that pitch on two ropes, clipping both into each piece of gear.  Then I could belay CragDaddy and Big C at the same time as they simul-climbed.  When they got to the block, CragDaddy would just hoist him up and over.

Our plan for the first pitch worked out perfectly.  So far, so good.  We took a break on the Tree Ledge to grab some food and reorganize the gear, as the CragDaddy was going to take the lead on our next pitch (No Alternative 5.4.)  At this point we noticed that the wind was starting to really pick up now that we were higher off the ground.  While I belayed the CragDaddy, Big C huddled in his down vest, asking if it was his turn to climb approximately every 24 seconds.

CragDaddy manning the upper belay station.

CragDaddy manning the upper belay station.

After about a million minutes (according to Big C), the CragDaddy had us on belay and was ready for us to climb on.  The first 50 feet went great…then that’s when our Summit Plan began to fall apart.  There was an encounter with some briars, several ill-timed gusts of wind, and the last straw…3 up close and personal ladybug sightings.  (For reasons I’ll never know, Big C is terrified of running into ladybugs while climbing…which can definitely present a problem this time of year in the South.)

The remainder of that pitch was pretty ugly…as in, at a couple points he was so panicked he was literally frozen in fear. Numerous times I suggested that we lower back to the Tree Ledge and just let Daddy rap down and clean the gear.  But that suggestion was adamantly shot down every time.  (“BUT I WANNA GO TO THE TOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

As a parent, it was really hard to know how to handle it.  It was so sad to see my little boy so frightened, especially by a situation that I HAD PUT HIM IN (even though he had shown us every sign that he was ready, and up until the sudden freak out there had been no red flags.)  And if I’m being completely honest, I was also worried about judgment from other climbers.  It was a beautiful winter climbing day, and there were a lot of people on the mountain, and I was pretty sure most of them were probably at least a little unnerved about hearing a small child screaming 250 feet off the deck.  While on the Tree Ledge, Big C had gotten lots of positive reactions from other climbers passing through…the part of me that cares too much about what other people think of me wondered if those same people were now ready to call CPS.

There's where we were, beside the tree at the top of that flake!

There’s where we were!

But the majority of my efforts, of course, went towards comforting and encouraging my inconsolable son.  Each time Big C had a “moment,” I held him close, we prayed, and I spoke calmly until he gained enough control to let me be his voice of reason.  Over and over we discussed our choices – going up or going down.  And over and over, Big C chose to press on.  After another million minutes (this time according to ME), we finally reached the CragDaddy at the next belay station.

By this time the wind was REALLY starting to whip up.  We had about 300 feet under us, with another 200 or so of significantly easier climbing ahead of us.  We had a family meeting atop the No Alternative flake, and came to a consensus that the best decision was to bail, and leave the summit for another day.

Originally we had all brought our hiking shoes, intending to leisurely walk off the other side of the mountain once we reached the top.  But bailing before the summit was a lot more complicated, and I was glad that we had talked through the possibility beforehand.  It ended up being a lot easier than we’d anticipated – I rapped down first, then CragDaddy and Big C rapped together on an extended rappel using their personal anchors.

Everyone was relieved when we set foot on solid ground.  I was afraid Big C would still be upset, but as we sorted through the gear he quickly went into full crag mode climbing trees and jumping from boulder to boulder.  CragDaddy and I decided to take a lap up Father Knows Best 5.9+, to give him a chance to decompress a bit.

On the hike out, we talked about how it’s okay to be afraid, but sometimes we let our fears get too big.  My own fears about having permanently scarred my child from climbing were alleviated when he asked if we could “try again another day when it’s not so cold and windy.”

So while things didn’t go exactly according to our plans, all’s well that ends well.  He may not have made it to the top, but I’m so proud of my little boy for making it as far as he did and for pushing through his fears.  When we got back down to the meadow at the base, his mind was absolutely blown when we pointed out our high point on the cliff.  I have since overheard him telling at least 3 friends about how he “climbed way higher than even the trees,” with an emphasis of “for real!!!!!”  A fellow climber on a neighboring route contacted us with a picture a friend of his had gotten from the base, and Big C has even requested a copy of it to keep in his room.  And that same fellow climber was also good for my own psyche as well – previously I didn’t know him, but the following day I saw that he posted some very encouraging remarks about seeing our family up there on a Stone Mountain facebook group.


Can you zoom in and find us? (Photo: courtesy Christopher Wittman)

So moral of the story – type 2 fun with kids is stressful!!!  But, I like to think worth it.  It might be a while before we try it again, simply because there were so many logistics involved to make it work.  But in the meantime, it’s almost time for spring climbing season…and CragDaddy and I have an anniversary date to celebrate at Rumbling Bald this weekend!