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.

The first night that I was in Lexington I was hanging out at the gym and saw my friend Ben. I met Ben while playing bike polo in Lexington and didn’t realize he climbed until I saw him at the gym months later. Ben and I have only climbed together once when he was passing through Salt Lake on his way to the west coast. He stayed for a couple days and we played bike polo one night and then went climbing at Glass Ocean Wall in Big Cottonwood. Since then, Ben has started climbing a lot more and has been making huge improvements.

Ben picked me up at Miguel’s and we headed to Muir Valley, a large climbing area purchased and developed by retired engineers Rick and Liz Weber. We warmed up at Inner Sanctum on Bad Company (5.10a) and Naughty Neighbors (5.10d), both pretty nice routes with some interesting movement. To the right of these routes is a fantastic slab route called Karmic Retribution (5.10c). Muir Valley is known for having some very soft grades, especially at the earlier crags like the Inner Sanctum so, when I first got on Karmic Retribution a few years ago, I thought it would be a cake walk. I just managed to onsite it. The climbing is great though if you're looking for something technical and though provoking.

After warming up, we headed over to the Sanctuary. I haven’t done too many climbs here because most of the routes are pretty tough. Ben wanted to work on some stuff here and I’ve always wanted to get on Jesus Wept a classic 5.12d that starts with a steep, bouldery section and finishes on a vertical section with tiny pockets. I managed to get through the bottom hanging at most of the bolts and into the mono pocket crux near the end. I gave it a few tries but decided that pushing my already tweaked fingers on something beyond my abilities didn’t make much sense. Ben had just sent Jesus Wept a few weeks ago and wanted to get on its neighbor, Prometheus Unbound (5.13a). Having never been on it before, Ben made good progress working through the cruxes and getting to the top both times.

We headed over to the Stadium to get on Cheetah a slopey, bouldery 5.12a. Some of my friends had sent it recently and this gave me hope that I was ready for it. Water was dripping around the route but it looked like all the key holds were dry. I got through the first couple bolts to the first crux: a long move to a slopey rail. I stuck the rail, matched it and then found I couldn’t move, the slopers were just too insecure. A hang later I got past the sloper to better holds and moved up a couple bolts to the upper thin face section. Here I found that key holds were indeed wet. I stick clipped and French freed past the wet, thin crimps and got to the anchors. Despite my thrashing, Ben decided to give the route a try and found the upper face equally difficult due to the wet holds. We packed up and headed out to find we were one of the last cars in the lot.

 

It was still raining this morning but I had made plans to meet up with my buddy ScoBro at Torrent so Bram and our friend Terri headed down to the Red. Torrent used to be a mega popular crag and was “loved to death” when Dr. Bob bought the property in the late 2007. The super short approach and the quality and quantity of routes made Torrent popular and the hoards destroyed the underbrush and cut trails all over. The area was closed to climbing for a few years which allowed trails to be built and the undergrowth to recover. The area now limits its access to folks staying at the cabins and to those who wake early enough to snag an online day pass.   A few new routes have gone up at Torrent in the past year and it’s a great place to climb in wet weather.

We warmed up on Bandolier (5.11a) and then ScoBro and I went around to the right side of the crag to get on Pork and Bondage (5.10c), a new addition to the crag. Not a fantastic climb but not bad. I always enjoy getting on new routes and there was definitely some thought provoking moves on this one. I headed back around to the main amphitheater to hear cries of joy as Bram had just sent Bare Metal Teen known as one of the hardest 5.12a’s in the Red. He sent it on his first go of the day, shocking considering he hadn’t been on it in months and had no expectations of actually being able to send it today.


The other new route at Torrent that I wanted to get on Situational Awareness (5.11c) an incredibly steep traversing route that Blake Bowling put up. The route has potential of being a good route but it is currently pretty friable and a couple of my attempts ended with broken holds. I finished my day with a burn up Bare Metal Teen and we packed up.

BramsExhaustOn the way out, half of the exhaust system on Bram's Subaru fell off. He'd just had a new seal put on it and evidently the rust they had scrapped off was structual. We drove a few miles to The Rock House to get some dinner with the exhaust scrapping along the road. The Red River Rock House opened after I left last year and I wanted to check it out. They offer a pretty limited but delicious menu with great burgers in a very nice, bright setting. Bram wasn't about to drive back to Lexington with the exhaust dragging and luckily the guys at the Rockhouse were kind enough to give us a hanger and lend us some tools. We drove the car onto the concrete slab out front, blocked the wheels and crawled underneith to secure the exhaust for the ride home. With the exhaust fixed we headed to Miguel's where Bram dropped me off for a week of climbing and camping. I crawled into my bag exhausted and was serenaded by a few dozen frogs in the pond next to my tent and slept like a rock.

 

The reason for this whole trip was to go to April’s wedding. I met April when she was 18 and we quickly developed a friendly big brother/little sister relationship based on giving each other lots crap and being silly. April has always been amazingly mature for her age and I was excited to be able to see her get married and start her next big journey. I headed up to Indy around 1:00 pm on Friday after going present shopping and then heading back to Bram’s to pick up the suit I forgot. While I've passed through Indianapolis many times, I’ve never spent time there and didn't know what to expect. I got the church to help set up for the wedding and reception and found myself in this funky church come art studio and gallery called Harrison Center for the Arts. Evidently they turned the defunct school part of the church into art studios and a couple galleries. It was neat idea and brought the church into the surrounding community.

The Burrow by Justin Vining
After a night of decorating and giving Chris a fun, although completely honorable, last night of being a bachelor, we woke up a bit groggy and went to clean out Chris's apartment. From there I went off to Broad Ripple, an artsy area of Indy where I met up with my good friends Tuteur and Jesse at their friends art studio/house. I met Tuteur on one of my first trips to the Red and met his infectiously energetic wife years later when she was recovering from a nasty fall by hanging out at Miguel's with her walker. A few weeks later she was hiking with a cane to come hang out with us at the cliff. She is a serious trooper and a burst of energy. Tuteur used to live in Indy and was staying with his buddy Justin Vining, an art teacher, come lawyer, come artist. I met Justin at the same time as Tuteur but his focus has been more on school and art than climbing although he tends to boulder pretty well off the couch. He mostly works with paints and creates surreal landscapes and buildings like the one above.

Tuteur, Jesse and I got cleaned up and headed downtown to the wedding. We got all dressed up and headed to the wedding in an old gymnasium. Odd wedding venues like this seem to be gaining popularity and I am all for it. With a little decoration, this place was a rad setting for a wedding and the hardwood floors were great for dancing. 

The next morning I rose early and headed southeast towards Lexington hoping to hook up with friends for a day in the Red. Twenty minutes outside of Indy the promised rain started to poor down and I knew my hopes for the day were dashed. I rolled into Lexington a couple hours later and spent the day recovering from the weekend and trying to get ready for a week in the Red.

 

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What our users have to say

Belay Specs have allowed me to finally enjoy sport climbing.  As a chiropractor I know the huge anatomical stress of extended extension while belaying.  Belay Specs allow you to belay without putting yourself at risk of injury and lost climbing days.  In my opinion, they are just as important as your belay device. 

Dr. Chris Hanson of NE Community Chiropractic  www.necommunitychiro.com

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