Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rain, Lightening keep us out of Outer Mongolia but NOT Out of Options

We all watched in the days before the October pilgrimage to JTree.  40% chance of rain. No problem, it MIGHT rain.  Creeping up to 50 and 60% on the day we left, we were still unconcerned.  We know Joshua Tree. It could be raining in Hidden Valley while the sun shines at Jumbo Rock. Besides we have rain gear and love to use it.  Our plans consisted of:
  • 5 hr drive to Joshua Tree
  • Jumbo Rock on Wednesday night.  Check.  
  • Any campground we want ;) SWEET!
  • Hike to Outer Mongolia in the morning..  EARLY !
  • Send the long anticipated Yasmine Bleeth (a 3 star, 2 pitch, 5.9) before Steve's grand kids arrive that afternoon.  We knew we couldn't hike them that far.  The rest of the weekend would be full of the easy stuff (the inner me smiles) so we can get the kids (8, 6 and 3) TO the climbs, let alone UP them.
But alas rain gear won't protect you from lightening (somebody should work on that) and a 3 mile hike in, across the dessert, for a multi pitch climb seemed ill advised that morning.  After all we are grown adults and I've read that article in Climbing Magazine on the Laws of Lightening more times than I care to admit.

There was no sleeping during the thunderstorm that first night.  Even tucked in base camp we felt the wind like never before (and we KNOW JT is windy) but the Thunder & Lightening demanded attention and the Rain!  OMG the RAIN !  I made sure our lights were on in base camp and the door unlocked, fully expecting the tent campers with us to come running in soaking wet.
But nothing.  They had chosen (wisely) to pitch their tents on high ground.    The morning brought more rain and no shortage of DARK clouds so we decided to go to CapRock area for the day and wait for the kids to arrive and the weather to clear.

Steve, as usual points us to the perfect destination (not to far from the car) and a short little face (sport) climb with 3 bolts that proved to be a challenge just to get off the ground.  The off and on again rain was both annoying and refreshing, and we got used to the occasional mists.

 We then walked over to the South East Face where Jim led Catch a Falling Star (5.8) and was reminded of how intimidating leading Traditional Crack Climbs can be when we train at the gym (with GriGris)  and find so many sport routes outside these days that require no more than a quick inspection, quick draw, clip and move.

At 60 (or any age) you must remember where fear comes from and how to move past it.  

With the help of Steve, Bryan and I who did our best to remind him that it was only a 5.8 in JT (with all of the friction that provides) and not a 5.11 in the gym....He was able to channel his inner JZ spirit and traversed his way across the crack and turned the face moves to make the summit.

This is what it's all about.   Overcoming a private battle with your inner self.  Fully supported (emotionally and via belay) by your friends.

As many of you know, moving beyond the obligatory comments of "nice" to really offer encouragement isn't always easy.  Especially for those of us who climb with our spouses of 30+ years.  Sometimes when he leads, my heart is in my throat.  I prefer the official chatter when I'm the belayer.  ON BELAY, CLIMBING, CLIMB.  Besides not being a "leader" myself, I know me telling someone who feels lead out and pumped to focus and work trough it (when I couldn't do it myself) seems a little hollow.  But I know it helps for a partner to feel like his/her partner can do it.  It takes a team.  There's no I in SEND!

(I just made that up)  Really... I think there needs to be a HERE IT IS:

BUY IT HERE - and benefit the Rock Phoenoms in Tempe, AZ - $20 each - Need 10 people to order to actually print the BUY NOW.

I know that's crazy....but that's the world we live in.  Stay tuned.  My next post will be of a daring RESCUE RAPPEL out at the Cat House.

Thanks for reading.

Kay Zahn

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