Waking up dark and early at 5am was a huge challenge. Bing tells me to get up, and I had to beg for 2 more minutes, but we got up and picked up some friends along the way to make our way to Kentucky. This was a road trip I was dreading the ride for, but looking forward to the climb.
We had a few stops on the way, so for 7 people, you can imagine that my car needed food (hell ya, it was so early!), or washroom breaks. Best stop ever was when we stopped by Party Source to get our liquor (I picked up Hendrick’s gin… Review next time on that). But we finally made it to KY in 12 hours. But first things first, we needed Miguel’s Pizza. The pizza was fresh with an abundance of ingredients, and Bing and I went nuts putting 7 different toppings on. We were starved from the whole day sitting in the car.
After settling and resting for a night, we headed up to the Torrent Falls crag. This was my second time leading outdoors, and I was stoked! The swamp was a dress rehearsal, and now I am going to climb what Kentucky is known for 🙂
We decided to warm up on a 5.9 (Wadcutter), and I was thinking it was like the gym, or the Swamp. I was so wrong! My fingertips got shredded and I somehow got rope burn on my arm. At least I top-roped it! Next up was a 5.8 wall (Dream of a Bee) and that was a breeze. The next and last climb I did was a 5.10a (Rest Assured) rating. I decided to lead it, since that IS what I was there for. It was exhilarating, and I got up to the 4th clip without actually falling or getting scared. But as I got higher up, I realized each clip was about 10 feet apart. That was when I decided, I was going to get my belay partner to pull up slack from clip to clip. I chickened out, when in fact I should’ve taken a fall. Climbing outdoors does teach me to be cautious, but since I haven’t fallen outdoors, I should’ve just tried it to see what it felt like.
Climbing outdoors takes time because the first person who climbs needs to set up the quickdraws as they go up, and make sure there are secure anchor points at the top. A person can either top rope this, or can lead it. The last person who climbs the route needs to clean it. We only had 2 ropes, so we only had 2 routes set up at a time.
The next morning we headed out to Phantasia. It was a 3 minute hike in (Short hikes are a blessing for me). We did a short detour to check out the Twinkie crag.. That was rated a 5.11+? Regardless to say, it looked incredibly difficult, and a a climb my friend, Stephen, sent it! Everyone tried out Creature Feature (Rated a 5.9), and it was a climb I couldn’t finish. There was this boulder move where I had to put my left foot up, and push with all my might to get up. Well, it didn’t happen for me, and it looks like I have to practise when I get back to the gym. Prior to that climb, I hit up a 5.10d (named Creepshow), and that was pretty freakin’ fun. Some moves were tricky, but I managed to finish it. So I was thrilled about that.
The last climb of the day for myself was a 10 minute hike, and was rated a 5.10a (Overlord). The rock was slab, and it was all about placement of where the feet and hand goes. I half loved it, half hated it. I think only coz it was tougher than it looked, but I loved the challenge for it. At the end of the day, I learned how to clean a route, and Stephen climbed a 5.12 in the dark with a headlamp on. Exciting, and none of us have ever done that.
All 7 of us had a great combination of colourful languages we would use whilst tackling a climb. But the end result was we tried and we rocked.
We hit Miguel’s one more time, because that was how good it was, and headed back our merry way back home the next morning. It was a long trip back, but I couldn’t have been more happier to be in my own bed.