It’s been awhile since my last blog post…I apologize for that, what with school, training, and other stuff, it’s not an exaggeration to say I barely have time to breathe, and I haven’t always had time to sleep. My last post was just before I started school; it’s now the middle of the second month of my junior year in high school and I have more going on than ever! I am taking seven classes, volunteering at Peak Potential weekly, as well as with helping coordinate a school blood drive, and of course training hard and trying to stay in shape. At the end of the summer, I decided to take a couple weeks’ break from climbing to try to avoid any injuries, so most of September was spent trying to get back in shape in general. I felt like I was back into it in about two weeks, and at the beginning of October, I decided to go to the red for a long weekend to get some climbing in down there in conditions besides the 95 degree/ 80% humidity of the summer, as well as check out the annual Rocktoberfest.
I left school after second period on Wednesday, October 3, and caught a flight out of Newark airport. I had a quick layover in Detroit, and ended up getting into Lexington at around 4:30 that afternoon. I met my friend Erika at the airport, and after making a few quick stops in Lex and the hour drive to Slade, we were at Miguel’s pizza shop and campground! A lot of my friends from over the summer were at the shop, either living and working there or just down for the event, and it was great getting to see them all again so soon; normally I only get down to the red in the summer, so I don’t see many of them for about a year.
I woke up the next morning and it was beautiful out…good temperatures, sunny, and I was psyched to get to miss some school to get to climb. I headed out to Left Flank with my friend Dru and some other people, and after warming up we got on Table of Colors (13a), but neither of us had any luck. After that, I managed to onsight Sex Farm (12b), which had to be the worst route to clean ever. I wasn’t paying attention and swung into a tree pretty hard and gave myself a nice bruise on my thigh. I was told at least ten times it was hysterical to watch. Anyway, at the end of the day we just got on some easy climbs before heading back and hanging out at Miguel’s the rest of the night. The next day, we headed out to the Chocolate Factory. I’d never been there before, but it was a pretty sweet crag, and seeing the beautiful wall with Pure Imagination and The Golden Ticket (both 14d) was really inspiring. Maybe someday I’ll come back to try and send them. We walked over to the other side of the crag and tried some new routes, which were pretty fun. The last route we got on was called Bathed in Light and was given the grade of 12a- we all worked it, and none of us sent, which made me think that grade was probably pretty sandbagged. We headed back to the campground, showered off, then wandered over to the campground holding Rocktoberfest. It was a pretty fun event- crate stacking, sponsor booths, food, and a ton of other stuff going on. I hung out at the 5.10 booth a lot of the time, or just wandered around talking with people. I headed back when stuff was dying down, then passed out cause I was getting up early the next day.
So I normally don’t like coffee all that much. Some is ok, but most I don’t like, especially if it’s real strong. However, after waking up to pouring rain at 5:30 am, then getting up at 7 to help out with a shoe demo, lots of coffee seemed like a must-have. I ended up drinking about four cups of it during the three hours I helped with the shoe demo, which was not my best idea ever. Aside from that though, I enjoyed the demo; I’m really happy I was able to help 5.10 after all the support they’ve given me over the years. In the middle of the day, after the demo and the caffeine wore off, I headed over to Lady Slipper, a crag that I’ve only been to once before. It’s not generally a great summer crag, since it gets direct sun, but in the cooler temperatures, the climbing was technical and fun. We did the same thing as the night before, and headed over to the event, only this time there was a 23-string band as well, which was pretty cool. The next day, we got a late start, and since it seemed like all the crags were packed, we just headed out to Solar Collector. I got on a climb called Golden Boy, which is one of my favorite climbs ever, with the hopes of working out all the moves. Golden Boy, like the name hints, runs up a beautiful gold-streaked wall, overhanging about 20 degrees. It’s a bouldery route, but the movement is perfect, and the holds are friendly on the skin. It’s easily a 5-star classic. I got the moves down quickly, and on my third go on the route, I one-hung it. I wanted to save my energy for the next day to try and send it, but we woke up the next morning and it was raining! That was a real bummer, but I’ll definitely go back and try to send it next time I’m at the red.
I headed back to New Jersey later that afternoon, and after some crazy airport issues, got home around 11 at night. It’s back to school now, with comps starting up later in the month! I’m looking forward to that a lot. Anyway, I had a great time at Rocktoberfest, and a huge thanks goes out to all my friends out at the red, not to mention Five Ten for all their help and support!