Well, the weather forecast may have looked significantly better this time compared to the last time, but of course it isn’t a trip to the New without a little rain, right? Steve, Canaan, and I arrived 7 or so on Friday night, which gave us plenty of time to set up our tent and cook some dinner before it got dark. Canaan really enjoyed walking around the campground before bedtime – apparently he thought it was hilarious and cackled with laughter for at least 30 minutes. I’m still not really sure what was so funny, but of course a baby’s laughter is contagious, so it made for a fun evening. It’s obvious that Canaan is a lot more aware of his surroundings these days – he was way more interested in all the sights and sounds of the woods than in going to sleep both nights – but all it took (both nights) was a 15 minute car ride to put him down for the count, and we never heard a peep til morning!
Saturday morning started out bright, but right as we were leaving, the skies darkened and the heavens opened up again. At first it was really discouraging – but we just forded our way to the High Times Cave at the Bridge Buttress (literally – the trail had turned into a small river). Thankfully the cave was not only dry, but also not overrun with other people with the same idea. There were a few folks there, but they were very nice, and there were definitely enough routes to go around without tons of waiting. And lo and behold, after a couple of hours the sun came out, so when Chris and Taylor left to grab some lunch, Steve, Canaan, Christie and I headed to The Brain at Beauty Mountain.
Day 1 Routes ~
High Times – 5.10c - I’m not sure that any of us considered this a warm-up, but it was what was available, and thankfully Chris was a good sport and put it up for us.
Let the Wind Blow – 5.12a – A festival of toprope flailing commenced on this route that shared anchors with High Times
Labor Day – 5.8 - I’d never been on this route before, but it was a very enjoyable crack climb – laybacks, a few jams here and there, and smeary feet on the opposing face
Brain Tweezers – 5.10c - one of my favorite routes in the gorge, recently got upgraded from 10b in the new guidebook.
Brainstorm – 5.8 - Also a new one for me, and also a really fun crack climb with a traverse across very interesting rock at the top
It made for a fun day, especially considering how the day started, and we all got in a lot more climbing than we thought we were gonna get. We made it to Pies n Pints minutes before the crowds showed up, and shared our highlight reels outside on the patio, while Canaan slept through the majority of dinner.
The weather threatened again on Sunday morning but thankfully never amounted to much (just enough to cause a mad scramble during breakfast). Our crew had gotten our wires crossed, so Christie ended up climbing with us at Bubba City, while Chris and Taylor ended up back at the Bridge Buttress. The terrain on the approach to Bubba City is substantially harder to navigate than most of the other areas that we’d taken Canaan to, but I was really happy with how the hiking in went. Canaan has way better head control now, which allows me a lot more freedom of movement, which in turn makes things a lot easier for everyone involved.
Day 2 Routes ~
St. Pauli Girl – 5.10b - I decided that warming up on the dry 10b was a lot safer than the slimy, wet 8, so I hung the draws on this one. Thin face moves led to a difficult-to-read bulge (along with a sketchy clip)
Spatenweiss – 5.11c - Another hard to resist toprope due to anchor sharing. The bottom was straightforward face climbing – the business was figuring out the correct sequence to crank over the roof.
Beer Wench – 5.8 – I really like this route. The start is powerful moves up a sloping crack…to me it feels way harder than 5.8. The rest of the climb is pretty casual with fun moves. It was a good way to close the weekend.
So while Canaan’s third weekend at the New still threw us a few curve balls, I think we’re starting to really get the hang of this cragbaby thing. I feel like we’ve got a system down, and even though its a veer from Canaan’s normal routine at home, he’s starting to figure out the “crag routine.” And the best part is that he seems to be enjoying himself just as much as Mom and Dad are.