Thursday, January 13, 2011

Enchanted Rock

Our original plan was to spend some time in the south east, maybe a week or so, before heading west.  Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas.  We managed one day of bouldering at Horse Pens 40 in Alabama, then decided to hit the road before the weather turned sour.  Despite the short visit it was awesome to be climbing on real rock again, after almost a month of being relegated to the gym.

The drive through Louisiana and eastern Texas was interesting, highlighted by a full on blizzard.  Didn't we come south to escape that stuff?  It was obvious the locals were not used to the amount of snow that was falling, as we saw zero snow equipment, and more than a few vehicles in the ditch. Some of the interstates were even shut down, but thankfully none that we were on.

We eventually made it to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, just west of Austin, Texas.  And thankfully on the other side of the eastward moving storm.  Enchanted Rock is a pretty impressive large pink granite dome, and has a variety of climbing on and around it.

Most of the formation consists of pretty low angle slab, which makes it a popular destination for anyone that likes hiking on cool rocks.  If you click on the picture below you can see hordes of people scrambling around on the main dome.

The rock is large crystal granite, which is incredibly sharp.  It was also of pretty varied quality, which meant the occasional crumbling foot holds did not always give us that nice warm fuzzy secure climbing feeling.  Regardless, in the two days we spent at the park we got on some fun routes and problems.

Here is Kristal on the awesome crack, Sweat 5.6.

And again on a cool warm up slab, Dairy Dog V0.

And setting up to pull the mantle on Schmantel Fest V4.

We could have easily stayed longer, but despite the fact that the storm system had moved on, it left some pretty cold weather in it's wake.  We decided to continue west.  Southern Arizona, with it's promise of year round summer, was calling to us.

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