Early season is tough. With the improved weather, excitement fills the air and climbers get anxious not only to get out but also to send. Attacking a project too high too soon often results in injury, putting the kibosh on training until you heal. Dialing down routes can help maximize your training early season (and throughout the year).
Several years ago, I was climbing with a friend of mine at Rumney, and we were warming up before heading off to our respective projects. After completing a route that I enjoyed but did not climb smoothly, I muttered, “That was sloppy.” I had wished I felt more comfortable on the route.
“Don’t untie,” he said. “Dial it down.” So I climbed it again, much more smoothly. When I reached the ground the second time, he smiled. “Don’t untie. You’re not done.” I sighed but started again. I moved more fluidly than the previous times and anticipated the next handhold and my feet found the footholds. The fourth time…yes, he made me climb it four times…I felt solid.
The more familiar you are with a route, the greater chance you have to move efficiently, grabbing the holds the best way the first time or finding the right footholds without hanging too much on your arms. Each spring, when I have been off the rock for several months, I gravitate to the routes where my body knows the motions like dialing the number to an old friend. Often times, these routes are either the same grade or harder than the routes that I am trying to onsight. Because I am so familiar with these routes I have dialed down, I am performing challenging moves without wasting too much energy trying to figure out the beta. As a result, I can climb harder for a longer period of time, enabling me to get into climbing shape faster.
This season when you climb a route that you enjoy, don’t rush off too quickly for the next one. Spend the extra time to work through the moves. Dial it down.
Mooney Mountain Guides is excited to offer a spring special. Our crag skills seminars will help you get ready for your best climbing session yet.
Crag Skills Seminar
Choose one of four options:
1) Top-Rope Construction.
2) Introduction to Traditional Climbing.
3) Gym to Crag Transition.
4) Self Rescue
Combine any two for a comprehensive two-day seminar.
Who: Learn from expert guides who not only teach these skills but apply them every single day in the field. Our guides are trained and certified by the AMGA and use the most up-to-date methods in the field. 4:1 guide to guest ratio.
What: You can expect to learn and apply the skills needed to perform independently at the crag with your friends or family.
When: Seminars will be held May 1st – May 20th.
Where: Seminars will be held in four different locations based on interest and availability. These areas include Pawtuckaway State Park, Rumney, Echo Crag, and Crow Hill in Massachusetts.
Why: Climbing can be dangerous, especially if a climber is unprepared and underestimates the risks. Receiving training from experts allows a climber to choose the appropriate technical systems for the situation, make conservative decisions when evaluating risk, and reduce the time to gain independence.
For more information:
Please vist www.mooneymountainguides.com
E-mail at [email protected]
or Call Alex
Our good friend Margie and niece Alyssa made time to visit Terry and I in the Red Rock Canyon area. There is so much to do in the Red Rock area so we did not have any idle time on our hands. Right off the planes we ventured out into the canyons to hike, to climb on the soft sandstone and to bask in the desert sun.
Margie arrived first – coming from the long winter in the Seattle area she was ready for the warm weather activities. Terry and Margie had a lot to catch up on as its been two years since our last get together. Boy how time flys.
Alyssa came in next and turned us on to Yoga on the Rocks. As an advanced yogi shen was able to demonstrate advanced inversion poses both on a rope and on the smooth slabs on rock at the base of the climbs. We in turn gave her some guidance on the stone. Alyssa picked up the transitions from ground yoga poses to the rock movements on a vertical wall with ease.
The coolness of the morning air drew us out to the desert for hikes. The early morning light, long shadows, brought a beautiful beginning to each day .
Margie, Terry and I at the Bellagio Resort viewing the fabulous display of spring flowers.
Margie getting reaquainted with the sandstone climbs – Red Rocks.
Alyssa starting off with ease on a 5.9 route at Conundrum Crag.
Alyssa – Shredding all Fear!!!
These poses requires focus, balance, power, and grace.
Early morning wake up hike.
Terry – Art
Great times with good friends and family.
Thanks Margie and Alyssa for putting some extra spring into our trip.
Art & Terry
This spring rock climbing trip was Derek’s and my third one running for the Peppercom Team and friends in Red Rocks of Las Vegas. Steve, Chris, Adel, Mark and Deivis were quite overdue for this warm weather vacation/break. The long lasting northeastern winter had certainly taken its affect on many of us and by now it was time to escape and have some fun climbing and adventuring in the desert.
The goals were set on day one by the team. It was decided that we have full days with lots of challenging rock climbing. Steep and technical sport routes, a few traditional lines with a mid week type break ascending Mt Wilson would keep us occupied for the five days. Right away the Wake Up wall kicked us into gear with a variety of climbing on slabs, cracks and overhangs. The Sunny and Steep Wall was next with a few burns on the steep climbs there and then a session on a little known route called the sport chimney which took on a sleeper type role for a 5.8 climb. These two days put smiles on everyones face and turned our eyes towards Mt Wilson.
How hard could it be to climb that peak – Mt Wilson? The day was full of bush wacking, route finding, 3rd and 4th class terrain with a spring storm adding some additional excitement. We titled the climb and day the 2014 Suffer fest as the First Creek Wash and overall Mt Wilson climb was no easy undertaking.
A few more days of cragging on the cracks and steeps routes at Cannibal Crag, the Black Corridor, and Physcial Graffiti rounded out the week nicely.
It was another fantastic spring break for us all. The desert is in bloom, the sun was high and warm, and there were lots of climbers around to meet and hang out with.
Enjoy the photos of our 2014 spring trip. If you are interested in a fun time on the sandstone rocks just outside Las Vegas get in touch. We are planning our October fall climbing days and weeks at this tim
Arrival at the wake Up wall.
Chris relaxing at the Sunny And Steep crag
“It was an awesome trip – probably the best yet! And Mount Wilson, aka ‘suffer fest 2014,’ was some legit type 2 fun.”
Deivis pulling down at Sunny and Steep
“Ditto. I can’t wait for the next adventure. These trips just get better every year.”
Chris on a 5.10c – how hard can this be!!!
Steve aka Repman and Chris on Mt Wilson
Margie and terry escaping the spring snow shower on Mt Wilson.
Long arduous climb above the wash.
Just sitting here at my desk, looking out my office window at the lingering snowbanks, and thinking about the warm(er) desert! I really appreciate the continuing opportunities to climb with you all, so thank you once again. I look forward to the next round of team Cody time soon. Until then…
Cheers, Derek – MMG Guide
Adel – Mammut logos on his gear.
Mark silhouetted on Caliban at Cannibal Crag.
“Great times as always everyone. I had a blast. Art and Derek you guys are awesome. I can’t wait till the next adventure! Next time were gonna beat Mt. Wilson’s ass haha.”
Adel raising the bar on a tough 5.10 at Cannibal Crag.
Red Rock Canyons.
Morning warm up on – Turtle Mountain.
Thanks guys it was a great week with you all.
I’m looking ahead to climbing with you this spring and summer in the northeast – at the Gunks, Rumney, North Conway and Acadia.
Chattanooga has become one of our favorite places to recreate in the spring and fall seasons. Terry and I made plans early as we knew we would be ready to escape the wintry march weather of the northeast. This March has been especially brutal in NH with cold temps and stormy weather for much of the month.
Lucky for us our timing was right, we arrived in Chattanooga with a sunny and seasonably warm forecast for our five day trip. The T Wall for trad and the Foster Falls sport routes were on the hit list.
The Tennessee Wall is a perfect place to warm up the fingers, hands, and body on the wide variety of moderate steep jam cracks and corners which are usually capped by a roof of some sort. The area is also south facing and we were on a mission to seek out the sunshine.
Foster falls is another favorite area of mine. The long sandstone wall has a few hundred sport routes – the warm ups start in the 5. 9 and 5’10 range and then its on to the harder testy sport climbs. The Crime Buttress is one of our favorite areas with a bunch of 5.11 and up routes on the steep slightly overhanging wall.
Chattanooga – the city is mid sized with plenty to do. Yoga is plentiful – we found an excellent studio called the Yoga Landing that offers a great variety of classes. There are lots of hikers, runners, bikers, climbers around – you can tell this is one of the better outdoor designations in the south east. Restaurants – we found excellent places to eat such as Sluggos, the Boathouse, and Mojo Burritos.
If you are looking for a quick three or four day adventure – I would say put this place – Chattanooga on the list
Foster Falls – in springtime condition.
Terry – first lead on the season – Golden Locks 5.8!!!
Terry sorting out the gear and the hand jams on Passages another 5.8 gem at the T Wall.
The T Wall is a shared area – copy this info you are planning a trip.
High Point Climbing Gym – brand new in downtown Chattanooga. Indoor and outdoor walls and a large bouldering section. We did not climb here as the weather was to nice – we opted for the outdoor fun.
Side walk activities.
Chattanooga has four bridges across the Tennessee River. We walked over the bridges in circuits each morning. The bridge in the photos has been closed to motor traffic and is now only a foot bridge for walkers, runners, and bikers
Our good friend Tim was spending the winter here. We met up and he showed us a quiet crag that is just being developed. Terry is seconding a very nice 5.11b route.
Tim D giving me a proper blue point belay.
The steep climbs at Foster Falls.
I’ve got to say we are now refreshed from all this southern fun.
Mountaineering is a term that encompasses many skills that all come together and enable us to climb mountains. There are no set rules and the creative have a clear advantage. Part of getting creative is climbing rock with ice climbing equipment (mixed climbing), and being able to climb ice and rock simultaneously. In the mountains there is no taped routes, it is up to the climber to decipher a route to the top. This route may require these mixed climbing skills. Aubrey and I took to the ice, and rock, to train, climb and have a great time. After climbing eight different routes the sun was setting on an amazing day of mixed climbing.
Fat in the cave.
Rock and Ice
Thanks Aubry for a great day on the rock and ice.
November is the month many Northeastern climbers travel south trying to extend the last couple of weeks of rock season, and pass the time until the ice comes in good back home. Along with the Chattanooga area of Tennessee (see T is for T-wall, below) the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky is a popular season needing location. In the hills around Slade Kentucky lies a lifetimes work of climbing. While there is both trad and sport, the Red is known for it’s radically overhanging sandstone sport climbs. The style is almost pure endurance, where the main challenge is getting to the top. With prime climber accommodations throughout the Gorge ($2 camping), this area makes it easy to come and hard to leave. It’s no wonder many traveling climbers live here for months at a time!
There are two main strategies to learn in order to climb hard on the Red’s overhanging cliffs. One is to climb fast and efficiently, the other is to train to be good at recovering when you come to a good rest, as in the photo above.
Aside from the pump, the steep walls and rather run out climbs lead to some of the biggest whippers you’ll ever take. The “Red River Belay” involves a large loop of slack and a generous hop when your climber falls. Most of these falls are as clean as possible, and we frequently jumped from the chains to get some of that fun air time.
The Red is known for having the biggest holds you’ll ever fall off of. After climbing 80 feet of overhanging rock, sometimes it just doesn’t matter how big the holds are, you’re too pumped too hold on to anything! One of our friends melted off the top of this climb on massive jugs.
At the end of the day, The Red offers some of the most enjoyable, stress free climbing around. No frustrating cruxes or micro beta, no scary falls, and a large percentage of climbable days. I suggest every one find the opportunity to head down to Ole Kentucky and check their grip on the Red’s awesome Sandstone buckets!
This waterway is the Tennessee River – and the T Wall is perched high above on the south side rim. We drove down along a windy narrow road for 6 miles to a trailhead and took a short approach hike to the base on the wall.
The T Wall is one of the premier cliffs in the southern sandstone belt and hosts routes in all grades with fantastic rock quality in a beautiful setting. November is prime climbing season here -temps are in the 60,s the rock is dry. Crowds well not yet we will see what the weekend brings.
The Tennessee River.
T is for Terry – taping up for our first route.
Terry stepped right up to the wall. Here she is leading a route called Art – a perfect dihedral – and Prerequisite for Excellence another gem of a crack corner climb .
One of the most perfect, pretty corners you will see.
Pursuit of Excellence.
Great setting at the T Wall, sun all day, great views of the gorge and river below.
Many a corner is capped by a roof.
Rock Tober its called – the time when we have clear and cool at night but during the day the sun is bright warming the rocks up to a perfect temperature. The Main Cliff is perfect on most days from now on – avoided in the heat of summer but a refreshing place this time of year. Aubrey and I spent our training session working on the steep and technical routes. Progress is being made as the sequences are refined and sent and the body gets stronger. Soon enough will be the day to send.
Baker River Valley.
Heading to Gold Bug.
Joyce on the main attraction – Underdog.
Know Ethics – slippery and sequential.
Aubrey – another good time – you are climbing well!!!
The fall foliage was in peak display and the Cathedral and Rumney rocks were dry and crisp. I instantly knew this would be a good one, Jerry was in town for a fine weekend of climbing.
I feel exceptionally fortunate to work as a mountain guide. The climbing days can be challenging physically and mentally but they are always fun. I have the opportunity to share my passion (climbing) with others and this is rewarding in so many ways. This weekend was a reminder of how good my job is and how lucky I am to work as a guide with Jerry and a variety of interesting guest from all walks of life.
The Sunday 2 pm rains shut Jerry and I down at Rumney Rocks. This in one way was a good event for us after all we had completed two amazing days on the rocks. Our first day at Cathedral was jamb packed with a variety of cracks and face routes, and today we rallied early at Rumney keeping a brisk pace while logging in ten routes by mid afternoon. The time was right to wrap our weekend up, with many high points, a new route or two, a couple of Rumney test piece climbs, all totaled into 18 pitches of fine climbing, we were certainly very satisfied.
Mt Washington Valley – a vibrant display of fall colors.
Jerry topping out on P1 of Recompense.
This is the scrappy top out from Three Birches. Due to all the leaves and dirt its quite hard to tell but there is some fine climbing on this route.
Whitehorse Ledge in the distance.
Barber Wall – multiple testpiece cracks lined up.
Jerry working on Chicken Delight 5.9.
Bombardment an area classic.
Jerry just after the slab pitch of Bombardment
Rumney Rocks – The route is False Modesty 5.8 – slick and complex. The crux moves are just above Jerry. Note the narrow strip of clean rock between the moss and lichen.
Hippos on Parade – nice corner climbing leads to the pumpy roof.
Thank you Jerry for this exceptional weekend climbing together and great way to kick off Rock Tober!!!
See you again soon,