Belay Specs Blog

This blog has less to do with Belay Specs and more to do with our employee's climbing and outdoor outings.  We'll talk about exciting news about Belay Specs but we'll talk much more about the trips we've taken and the places we've checked out.  We'd like to share some of our experiences in the hope that they inspire you to check the areas out for yourselves. If you read about an area or activity in one of our posts and have questions on beta, route recommendations or anything else, leave a comment and we'll try to fill you in.

We got up this morning and headed out to the Bright Side, a newly develop area a few minutes down the cliff line from Solar Collector. The Bright Side offers routes from 5.10 thru 5.13 with most of the routes in the 11 to 12 range. In the summer it gets nice shade all morning until ~2:00 pm but in the winter it gets sun most of the day. The routes on the main wall are good and consistent. We warmed up on Chica Loca (5.10c) although I can’t recommend it as a good warm up. The crux is going to the second bolt and a ledge just above the second bolt gives the route a ledge fall possibility, I like my warm ups to be a bit less committing even if they aren't near my limit. Overall it is a decent route, just not a warm up. It felt a bit stout for the grade too. We then headed over to the second easiest route at the cliff, Scalawagarus (5.11a). I liked this route, especially the undercling slopper move leaving the alcove rest towards the top. It feels bad when you first grab it but gets really positive as you move your feet up. It reminded me of a funky balancy move that you'd find in a gym.

Feeling nicely warmed up, we got on Crown of Thorns (5.11d) on the main wall. I climbed well through the first five or so bolts of gently overhanging pockets to hueco rest. You leave the hueco by going straight up, an intimidating path but luckily big holds just above the roof make it easy. I ran into trouble just before the last bolt where the wall goes blank for a section. I desperately clipped the bolt from a very awkward stance and in the process got too pumped to think. After a quick hang I sorted out beta and did a long reach off an undercling to span the gap. Bram walked the route with my beta and I tied in for another go. I got through and out of the hueco fine but felt the pump setting in. I messed up a move just before the last bolt and took a fall. Evidently my training didn’t prepare me for the Red’s forearm blowing pump.

After the sun came onto the cliff, we headed over to Solar Collector and met up with my friend Art and Ayna, who has been climbing at the gym for the past year but hadn’t spent time outside. Ayna always struck me as a very calm, peaceful young woman so I was amazed at the string of expletives that came out of her mouth after she took her first (intentional) lead fall. Bram, Art and I nearly fell on the ground laughing. Solar Collector is a great crag but doesn’t offer much for beginners (Ayna) and the unfit (me), so we hiked over to Crossroads.

Development of the Crossroads stared over a decade ago by Flyin’ Brian McCray and was rediscovered by Wes Allen in 2008. The Crossroads is generally a quiet crag with over 30 routes spread from 5.8 through 5.12. Lots of the routes here are slabby to vertical with a few nice overhanging routes on the left end of the crag. I had done most of the routes here before I moved but a few new routes had gone up that looked doable. I headed up Love Potion #9 (5.9) and found it to be a little awkward and runout but overall a decent route. To my amazement Art convinced Ayna to get on it and she walked up it for her first 5.9 lead. Meanwhile Art had climbed The Country Boy (5.11a), a thin vertical route just to the right. We tease Art a lot about his footwork but I found myself eating my words as I hung on the rope to work out the delicate moves that Art had just walked up. I got the route on a second attempt and we headed over to Hippie Speedball (5.11d) for Art and Bram. This route is much more of the typical Red route: slightly overhanging with positive holds but without the rest jugs that are common. Bram fought his way to the last bolt but took a zigger while clipping it and ended up hitting a big tree just behind the route. I’ve taken the fall before and had not issue with the tree but Bram is not the first to get close and personal with it. Luckily Bram didn't have any serious injuries but now had an excuse for the next couple days. Art nervously headed up the route, hanging along the way to find holds and determined not to repeat Bram's fall.

What our users have to say

After wearing these belay glasses for one day, we felt like idiots we didn't get a pair sooner! Seriously, anyone who climbs (and subsequently belays) should have a pair! They work for ALL climbs (not just steep ones), saving the neck, and providing a safer belay because your belayer can actually keep watching you from nearly any angle. In fact, the ability to view your climber from almost any direction and have good peripheral vision means even if you catch yourself eying another climber on your project, you can still keep your eye on your climber at the same time! 

Ben and Lindsey Kunz, Seattle, WA. Read more at her blog

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