Two days of epics in the Ozarks. Who would have thought so much adventure could happen in such a short amount of time? After all this was just a spur of the moment kind of thing. At least for me it was.
After the Capital City Crux competition in Austin some of the Dallas crew were talking about Arkansas. I was excited about my weekend of nothing when they invited me to come with them. Going to Arkansas to test myself against that sweet sandstone sounded much more fun than doing nothing at home. After convincing my mom everything was a go.
I had no idea what the climbing was going to be like or even who was going on this trip. After some confusing texting back and forth I drove for four hours up to Dallas to meet up with everyone. I was worried about limiting their climbing time since I had to drive so much farther than them, but it turns out they were all slow anyway. Finally, once I arrived I found out who was going. Dalan Faulkner, Brendan Mitchell, Tiffany Murphy, Canon Huse and Kyle Hilton was the crew. I picked up Brendan on the way to our rendezvous point (Tiffany's house), but it turned out we were an hour early, so we unicycled around for a bit. Brendan just got his new Kris Holm rig and need some good ole' breaking in. What is a Kris Holm rig you say? Go to krisholm.com.
Everyone finally all got to the right place and we took a tour of Tiffany's house before packing everything up. We had a surprising amount stuff for a weekend trip. Climbing gear, camera gear, sleeping gear, crash pads, ropes, unicycles, tents, slack lines. I think you get the gist. We managed to fit everything in Tiffany's Excursion, a massive tank of a car, and we headed off. We made terrible time getting to Arkansas due to the fact that we over shot I-40 by about an hour, thanks Kyle, but it turned out great anyway. We had great bonding time and sang songs pretty much the whole time we were driving. We arrived at our camp site around one in the morning and after looking at a boulder we passed out.
I had no idea where we were. Turns out we were camping almost directly on top of the cliff. We hiked down and I got my first glimpse of The Invasion Wall and I was blown away. I really wasn't expecting much to be honest, but this looked amazing. It wasn't massive or anything, but still a good size. The rock quality was superb. We all ran up and down the cliff until we knew what was what. We all got on our warm ups and I jumped what I thought looked like the best line there, Super Collider, thinking it was 5.12b. I fell on the opening dyno, lowered, got back on and then sent it. I barely did some of the moves and had a hard time sending. This thing felt like the hardest 5.12b ever! Turns out it was a 5.13b, so yes, it is the hardest 5.12b ever. I seem to get grades mixed up quite a lot. Everyone else who wasn't an idiot got on the real 5.12b called Close Encounters. Brendan fired up the thing and Kyle worked his way up. He is a baby when it comes to lead climbing, so I told him to skip the last draw and take a big whip to help get over the fear. He ended up just clipping the chains and coming down. Tiffany ran up it next, but when she went to clip the second to last draw the entire bolt just fell out of the wall!!! I was taking pictures from the neighboring route and my heart nearly stopped. All I see was the chain fall off the wall. If Kyle did take that big whip he would have hit the ground. Sometimes being a baby is not such a bad thing.
Next we all got on The Invasion which was another amazing route. It's a bit of a reach to get to the start holds, unless you're short then you have to jump. It was pretty funny watching Tiffany trying to psych herself up to actually try and jump. Just a little hop would have worked, but to no avail. We had to stack another rock on the already pre-existing pile for her. Brendan and I got on this cool project next to it which I ending up flashing and getting the FA on. Brendan made quick work of it right after me. I hung a rope down and took pictures. I got some beautiful pictures of the amazing Canon Huse looking fabulous on The Invasion. My last route of the day was another project. It went thought this blank section with these micro two finger pocket things. They were terrible holds. I did all of the moves though.
We packed up and went to go try some boulders at Fred's Cave. Brendan and I ghost rode the whip down to the boulders and we got on an amazing V4 called Lé Beak. We played around on that and Brendan soloed some tall dirty stuff. This was the first time for me to see Fred's Cave and for the second, time in one day I was blown away. So many hard boulders in one place! Kyle had first run on his project Fred's Roof, and made it look effortless. I got on it next and fired it right after him. I then got on Buddy and sent it quickly as well. Arkansas is definitely on my list of places to back to and it was only one day in. There is so much amazing rock in the south it's unreal.
The whole day we barely had any food or water, so it was a relieve to finally go to town and eat dinner. Subway never tasted so good. We had a quick roman candle battle by the river and then drove to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. We set up camp, meet some other people from Dallas and went for a quick night sesh. I was feeling pretty damn tired and wanted to go to bed, but I am always down for some more climbing. We got on Glass Bowl which is a rad V10 right next to the camp site. The coolest part is that it has a mono. I love monos.
Now to continue the story I need to give you some background. Dalan started a team called the Dirty South Climbers. He invited me to join, but in order to join you must do a challenge. My challenge was to climb a double digit boulder problem in a ridiculous outfit. We thought a good outfit was to wear clothes made out of Taco Bell wrappers (the food of Champions). So we made a skirt out of Taco Bell wrappers. On my send go I stripped down, donned the skirt and sent the climb. It was definitely one of the weirdest things I have ever done. Unfortunately we only got one bad picture.
The next day we had a short day. Dalan and I got on The Prophet. I got close to sending, but we weren't playing horseshoes, close doesn't cut it. I think it will go next time. Tiffany did practically everything else on that wall while Dalan and I flailed about. Canon and Brendan went and learned how to trad climb. They didn't fall, so I don't think it counts, but whatever. It makes me want to learn though.
I got home from this epic filled trip full of adventures at about four in the morning. Even though the next day I could barely function as a person I would do it all again. We had so many epics in such a short amount of time. Thanks my Dallas homies!
If you want more pictures go to http://www.climbingpix.com/Private-Gallery/Arkansauce/29144419_zBXGTV#!i=2481813918&k=2rmq5Dj. The password is Progression.