Every Labor Day weekend, my extended family has a campout in the Feather River Canyon near Tobin, California, where my grandfather used to live. There’s a great place to climb nearby called Grizzly Dome right next to Highway 70 and I’ve done a few climbs there over the last few years. It’s hard to find information on the crag but I finally found a good guide called Grizzly Dome by Ben Gohlke. You can get it from Mountain Sports in Chico.
The original plan was to for me, climbing buddy Cameron and brother Ethan to find some challenging routes. But when some of the other kids at the camp showed interest, we decided to introduce them to rock climbing. We were joined by two boys, 10 and 17 and two girls, 12 and 14. None of them had ever climbed, not even in a gym. Luckily, we were able to find shoes and harnesses that fit everyone.
I led the Regular Route (5.6) and set a top rope for them to climb. With some quick instruction and lots of encouragement, they climbed this route and Ursus Horribilis (5.8). They were all scared at first but only one quit. It was so satisfying to see how much fun they had and how psyched they were to do something they thought they couldn’t do. One of the girls was shaking when we lowered her down but was grinning ear to ear!
When they were done, there was not much time left but I did have time to onsight Each Year People are Killed (10d). It was a really fun route out a tunnel and over the water. It was not the climbing trip we had planned but it felt good to introduce 4 newbies to climbing and show them a great time.