Monday, December 6, 2010

Old and New Friends

Horse Pens 40 would be only our second repeat destination since we left in April. Despite all of the places we've been, nearly 50 destinations and counting, I still rank Horse Pens as one of the best. So many classic problems. So much diverse climbing. So many ridiculous topouts.

Our return would bring the downfall of several projects from the spring. Grooverider, Millipede and Orca to name a few. And add new projects for our next visit. So close on Trick or Treat! For most of you those names won't mean a thing. For me they are synonymous with pure climbing joy.

We made many new friends this trip: Jim, Eric, Katelyn, Katherine, Jorge and a fellow Canadian from Calgary, Alex, who is also on an extended climbing road trip. We also had a hilarious run-in with an old friend from our previous visit.

In April we met Wes, who rolled in around 11:00 pm one night, cooked himself some dinner, and headed into the woods to work on his project, Skywalker, by lamplight. Having nothing better to do, we joined him of course, and eventually left him in the wee hours of the morning to continue his work. The next day, as we were finishing up our session he was still there, toiling away, and would chill out with us on whatever problems we happened to be working on.

Fast forward to this visit, as we were wrapping up one day near the Skywalker problem, Kristal turns to me and says 'I think I just saw Wes!'. And lo and behold there he was, come back to work on Skywalker once again. Neither he nor we had been to Horse Pens since April, and yet here we met again, in the exact same spot, 7 months later! It was awesome catching up with him, and I only hope we get to meet up again someday.

Here he is taking a break from Skywalker to give Trick or Treat a go.

We put the camera away while we were climbing. I think we did a decent job in the first Horse Pens post of capturing the place in pictures. Aside from the picture of Wes above I only took one other shot, of one random sunset.

We got 3 days of awesome climbing conditions before the weather decided to rain on our parade. We once again moved on, and just like with all my previous visits to Horse Pens, all I could think about after leaving was when I would be back.

With the rain coming down, we decided to play tourist once again, and went for a tour of Ruby Falls, a 145 ft underground waterfall, in Chattanooga. The tour itself wasn't all that exciting, but the cave leading to the falls was full your typical cool underground cave formations.

The waterfall itself is pretty awesome, and is only somewhat marred by the crazy light show and music that they play while you are there.

At least it was a nice distraction from the pouring rain outside.

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