April 26, 2009

country roads

Seneca Rocks is pretty cool. It offers a great low key scene, tight knit community, and some amazing scenery. The climbing is pretty cool too. Our group dynamics this trip made the experience of Seneca Rocks more memerable than the climbing itself. This is the first time Will Mayo and I had a chance to tie in and climb together. He and I see each other at different events throughout the year, but we've never just gone climbing together. He's inspiring and motivational for sure! Our small crew also included Chris Goplerud from Colorado. Chris is a long time climber, now in his 50's. He has seen the evelotion of climbing for many decades and shared stories of famous climbers and the traditions of yester year with us thoughout the week. He and i also had a chance to climb several routes together. He's strong willed as well as physically and climbs with grace and confidence. Chris climbed in Seneca back in the early 70's and this was his first time back since 1978. I enjoyed following him around as he remenissed of experiences from all those years ago.

We also got to know some of the locals and a few of the area guides. Rumors of out of towners sending many of the difficult routes was fueled by our screams of desperation ringing through the trees as we fought with the routes and encouraged each other. One local guide said that "those screams" were all his clients could talk about all day and they too became fueled with motivation to try hard.
We climbed some pretty amazing routes. My favorite route was the 5.4 notch to south summit. Nathan and I first down climbed this fin after photographing a route on the Green Wall. We were both so inspired by it that we went up the next day and I cilmbed it again and then down climbed it. I also sampled the local project that was equipped two decades ago and found it to be steep and hard! We climbed a beautiful powerful and very overhung 5.11 thin crack and i even flashed a steep and pumpy 5.11cX route then finished up with another 5.12a flash late in the day. I'm pretty excited about this as i'm now just starting to feel like i have gained some fitness from a long climbing dry spell during the winter.
We joked around, poked fun at each other and continued to have a great time while at Seneca. I am pretty sure most of the locals thought we were a bit over the top with our silly British accents and primal screaming, but it wouldn't be us without it! Likely our craziness was fueled by our need for energy drinks and the funny buzz you get from them!
I'll be back in Idaho tomorrow and looking forward to spending time with family and friends.
Christine Balaz

the local slang

me and Chris at the base of the Green Wall