Climbing Season has Begun!

Finally, the weather has cooperated!  Climbing season has officially begun (for me anyway).  Josh and I managed to grab a few hours of climbing this afternoon at the local crag, Hidden Cracks.  The hike was great, but a few more fallen trees were across the trail than there were in the fall (probably due to the recent high winds we’ve had in this area).

We got some great top roping in, starting on Double Crack, a fun little 5.5.  We then played around on another route about 8 feet to the left; our first impression was that the climb was somewhere in the 5.6-5.7 range.  It was technical, with very small holds and some careful foot work required, but not strenuous.  Imagine our surprise when we got home, looked it up in the guidebook, and discovered that it is actually rated at 5.9!  Turns out its called Fallen Boulder.  Josh then hung around on a hairline crack system that turned out to be a 5.11c called Equilibrium Point…that will have to be something we come back for.

Josh, stuck between a rock and a hard place (just before I rescued him).

We then re-rigged the rope about 20 feet to the left, and enjoyed some of the best crack climbing in Rockingham County; one of my personal favorites, Arm and Jammer, rating at 5.7.  A clean, very vertical hand crack with a fun roof to pull at the top.

I also had an opportunity to practice my rescue skills; Josh got a bit wedged on the overhang, and couldn’t proceed any further up the climb.  I had to escape the belay and walk around to the top to get him figured out.  He did a great job keeping calm while I reached way, way back in my memory for my belay escape training.

We finished the afternoon by hiking past a very pretty small waterfall; because of the snowmelt and the recent rains we’ve had, it was running very nicely.

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About Ethan Zook

I'm 27, and happily married to a pretty girl named Melissa with a little boy named Elijah. From the Shenandoah Valley, currently hanging out in Richmond, VA. I love exploring the wild places around the area. I write two blogs; Mountain Ramblings is about my personal explorations in the mountains and valleys that I live around. In Mountain Rescue Blog, I write about issues faced by rescuers in mountain environments both locally and around the world.
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