What a week it's been. I am writing this post from the cozy home of Claudiu Videscelu, one of the coaches I've been working with in preparation for the Youth National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. I just left California on Monday for the rest of the summer, only having spent a total of 6 days of it at home.
Part 1 of my summer trip: Atlanta! During that time, I took a short break from training after the SCS Division 1 Championships (after taking 1st in Sport and Speed). I hung out with some of my friends and prepared for a community service day at Castle and Indian Rock, the two local bouldering crags closest to where I live.
I had been planning doing a community service cleanup at Castle for over two months with my friend David Cordero, after originally coming up with the idea about a year previously. My goal for the day was to coordinate cleaning up trash around the crag while getting people involved in the climbing community and getting them out in nature at a beautiful state park.
However, about a month ago, I learned that Castle Rock State Park was slated to close in the fall due to state budget cuts. Thankfully, it received federal grants from the US government, allowing it to stay open. This turn of events made me realize how significant these places are, and made it all the more important that our project succeed.
Before the event, I coordinated a raffle for the participants of the cleanup to offer an incentive to show up. I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the sponsors involved, including Marmot, and REI, who all donated backpacks, t-shirts, water bottles, and even playing cards. Planet Granite donated rental climbing shoes and some shirts for the raffle, Orchard Supply Hardware donated trash bags, and Noah's Bagels contributed over 15 pounds of bagels for lunch. Thank you so much for helping out!
The day started out well with 14 people showing up at Fremont High School and carpooling over to my friend Kevin Ott's house to pick up crash pads for bouldering later on. We then drove up to the Indian Rock parking lot, arriving at around 9:30AM. At 10 we started cleaning up trash (mostly glass) around the base of Indian Rock for a good two hours, using the bags and gloves provided by Orchard Supply.
We started by walking up the hill on the Indian Rock side, only finding minor trash fragments, but cleaning up as many pieces we could find. It wasn't until we got to the main Indian Rock boulder that we really found a lot of broken glass. It seemed like people had been throwing glass bottles off the main rock for a long time; we found countless shards of glass all over the ground in that area, shining on the ground in a rainbow of colors.
All photos: Cole Carter
It was sad to see so much trash in such a beautiful area, but it felt good that we were helping bring it back to its natural state. We stayed around there the most, although we did make it down the hill behind the main rock a little ways, finishing around noon. In the end, we picked up over 67 pounds of trash! Some of the more interesting things we picked up included full cans of juice, tennis balls, empty wrappers, intact glass bottles, empty shotgun shells, and even a cell phone battery. The area around Indian Rock was much more clean than when we started, but there is still a lot of trash left over that we didn't have time to get. Definitely coming back next year!
After we finished our cleanup, the group hiked back to the parking lot for the raffle and bagels Noah's Bagels provided for lunch. Around this time, Ranger Edward pulled up and collected our volunteer paperwork and even hung out with us during lunch and participated in the raffle.
Left to right: Chris Swanson, Josh Levin, Ranger Edward, Stacey Collver, Ricardo Gomez, Ryan Kashi, Omer Hit, Mona Nguyen, Brett Ashton, Vishesh Jaggi, Roy Barnea, Rich Kaercher, Matthew Salmanpour, Jason McCrorie, David Dobervich.
When everybody had finished with the bagels, we all went across the street to Castle Rock State Park for some bouldering. Everyone had a great time and got to the top of at least one boulder problem. Brett entertained all of us near the end with his pad-on send of The Spoon (v1), and even Mr. Dobervich (my calculus teacher) sent it after him using similar beta.
When we finally returned back to the parking lots to make our way home, I had a moment of reflection on the day as a whole. As a group, we cleaned up almost 70 pounds of trash, had a hugely successful raffle (thanks to all of our sponsors!) and got to eat a great lunch and get kids climbing in a beautiful environment. I am very satisfied with the final result, and can't wait to come back next year!
I would like to take one last time to thank all of our sponsors (Planet Granite, Marmot, REI, Orchard Supply, and Noah's Bagels) and everyone for coming out and supporting such a great event. We couldn't have done it without you!
The rest of my summer is ahead, with one part done. Next stop, US Nationals in Atlanta next week, followed by my trip to Europe for the rest of the summer! On the list are Italy, France, Spain, and Austria for an adult World Cup, the Youth and adult World Championships, and lots of climbing outdoors. Keep posted and thanks for reading!