Katie finally got to experience climbing outside! Here are her reflections and, yes, sketches of the experience.

 

Foster Falls Y’all

 

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never climbed outside. It’s unfortunate, really, but it had just never quite worked out. Finally, a spur of the moment opportunity presented itself to me and I took it. Thanks to Jacob, a long-time employee of The Crag, I would finally be going on my first journey to the grand Foster Falls.

 

It was early. Meeting up at Whole Foods with a trunk full of gear and a thermos filled with coffee, Jacob, Thor, Zoe, and I set out on our way.  The car was filled with anxious expectations of solid climbing as Kanye’s bass got us pumped. Weather wise, it was one of the best days to go climbing; fall and summer seemed to mix perfectly. Upon our arrival, we clambered down  the side of Foster Falls to take some Kodaks of the majestic waterfall. Hiking up to the climbing sites without a guidebook, we hiked around until we found a nice set of routes to start on.

With that, the real fun began. We set up a triangle of hammocks and went to it. Outdoor climbing was insanely different. Shaking, I started on probably the easiest route there– I wasn’t even leading, but nonetheless, I was a little scared. I felt like a kid, hanging, trying to get used to the unmarked rocks. I’d find myself stuck. Use your feet, I would remember, and then all would be well. A new, wonderful challenge. The gang moved on to Rode Hard, Put Up Wet, a  5.10d. Jacob and Zoe conquered like pros, with Thor dominating right behind them. The route was extremely pumpy, but it was a victorious moment when they overcame the roof. I didn’t get so far, making it up three fourths of the way like an inch-worm, but I stuck with it. It was an amazing route.

 

At the end of the day, we climbed up to the top of Bear Mountain Picnic to look out at the park’s stunning expanse. Eating salty Mexican chocolate and sharing apples, we seniors talked about a future that was coming all too soon. But, for the moment, climbing was all that mattered, and our futures were all but a whim. We finished it out with Jacob and Zoe leading a 5.10b around the corner and Thor and I right behind them. With that, we called it a day and took the long hike up and out of the Falls.

Climbing outside is a whole other game. Plastic holds were traded for sharp rocks and gym atmosphere left for the calm woods. However, there wasn’t a more perfect day to “belay on” and get started. I am still quite the novice, though now I’m a novice that’s climbed outside. This just gave me a small taste of what adventures are out there, and lemme say, I can’t wait to go on many more!

 

-Katie