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.

Managing energy and skin levels on a trip is crucial so today I took a rest day. Rather than sitting around Miguel’s and working like I should have, some friends picked me up and we headed to Sunnyside at Muir Valley. Curtis and Audrey Gale-Dyer are some of the weirdest folks that I know and I love them for it. They’re both doctors, love sci-fi and both hyphenated their last names when they got married. When I left Kentucky, Curtis was climbing low-5.11s and Audrey had just led her first 5.10. A year later, we’re headed down to Sunnyside to get on Suppress the Rage, a 5.12a with a somewhat powerful start and a tricky face finish. Along with us is their friend Audrey (let’s call her Audrey2 and the other Audrey Prime). They had been working the route for a few weeks and were all hoping to send today.

My rest day goal was to take some photos to use on business cards and other advertising. I came equipped with my iPhone but Audrey2 had a DSLR that she happily handed me. Audrey2 and Curtis warmed up on a 5.9 and I got some shots. Curtis then hopped on Suppress the Rage to hang the draws while I stick clipped and rope soloed up the next route over to get some shots. With the draws and a rope hung, Audrey Prime warmed up by TRing the route and proceded to send her first 5.12. She moved so fast that I wasn’t able to get many good shots. Audrey2 was next up and she sent  with no problems and this time I kept up with her getting some great shots.

Audrey3STR

With the ladies crushing it, Curtis was under pressure to show results and that he did by walking up it to bag his third 5.12 while giving it the finger.

CurtisSTR

We convinced Audrey Prime to give the route a lead attempt and she stepped up to the plate. Audrey’s lead head isn’t the most impressive which made her send of this more impressive. She knew the moves and kept it together until she clipped the chains in celebration. It was a fun day for me to be a part of and I was glad to have gotten such great shots of her accomplishment.

AudreyPrimeSTR

We headed over to the Washboard Wall to chase shade and get in another couple pitches. Besides being a tribute to my favorite radio stations, Heard It On NPR (5.10d) is a great, somewhat goofy route. You can do it as one long pitch or break it into two short pitches to get a multi-pitch feel, avoid bad rope drag and give a better belay for the upper pitch. I recommend the second option. The mid-point anchors are on a ledge and I have good memories of sitting at them, chatting with my partner and enjoying the view of the valley below. As for the climbing itself, it starts with about 50 feet of 5.9 face climbing on huge plates up to the belay ledge. If 5.9 is your limit, you should do this first pitch as it is guaranteed to make you smile although having a very long stick clip is needed to clip the first bolt. From the mid-point anchors, another 20 feet of easy climbing brings you to the headwall. There is only about 30 feet of climb left at this point and it is probably the steepest, juggiest 5.10 climbing in the Red River Gorge. Imagine taking the biggest holds and putting them on the steepest wall in the gym; that is pretty much the rest of the route.

Being a climbing group of three, Curtis decided to do the route in one pitch on an untrimmed 60m rope. As Audrey2 lowered him off after his send, we got concerned about rope length. In the end, I caught Curtis in my arms and as I lowered my arms down, the rope end went through the Grigri. Audrey2 went next and, being somewhat lighter than Curtis, and therefore not stretching the rope as much, she needed to be lowered onto my shoulders. It was a funny ending to a great day but I recommend using at least a full 60m if you get on Heard It On NPR.

shortrope

 

What our users have to say

In the end, all the benefits ultimately yield a more attentive belay, and its hard to argue against that. Highly recommended. 

Gripped, April/May 2013

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