Tuesday, May 5, 2009

West Virginia Trip – Part 11 – The End

---- Current location – My Parent’s Condo, Norfolk, VA, USA - Temp: ~17DegC ----

I am sitting in a warm condo, looking out over the beach, writing this. It is a very different setting than the place I woke up in yesterday morning. I had to leave West Virginia several days earlier, due to logistical problems getting back to Kingston in time to leave for Phase Three Infantry.

The past couple of days in West Virginia were very rainy. It rained harder than it has my whole trip and climbing was definitely not possible. So, The Dans and I drove into Elkins, WV, on Sunday for lunch and a movie. We ate at “Scottie’s Hamburgers”, a greasy, greasy, spoon. I had the roast turkey sandwich, a monochromatic turkey, mashed potato, white bread and gravy concoction. We then moved on to the movie theatre and saw the new X-men movie. It was terrible. So terrible, it was funny. When the movie ended, we grabbed some groceries and headed home.

Figure 1 - Scottie's Hamburgers.

Once arriving home, we started building a fire. Everything was soaked, however, so we just poured Naptha all over it, lit it, and it eventually dried out. We had the best fire of the entire trip. Then we cooked dinner, a delicious curry. I cooked a turkey leg on the coals and we threw that in, as well. Geoff, a guy who is on a 6 month climbing trip, joined us for dinner and scrabble. It was fun.

Figure 2 - The turkey leg, on the coals and in a beer can reflector.

The next day (Monday), we drove the hour back to Elkins, so we could have breakfast at Scottie’s (we regretted not getting breakfast the day before). We immediately headed back, as I was being picked up at noon. My Dad came to get me and we went back to Norfolk, VA, together. Once there, we ate dinner, watched TV, etc. I then slept in a bed for the first time in a few weeks – it was pretty good … I guess.

Figure 3 - Across from my parent's place.

Figure 4 - On the beach, this morning.

Now, I am just sorting out stuff for the rest of my summer, the Infantry course, other work, school, etc. I am also hoping to spend some time on the beach (if the weather gets better) and see some old friends. I hope you have all enjoyed the blog – look out for the epilogue.

Figure 5 - Obligatory foot in sand/water picture.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

West Virginia Trip – Part 10 – The Party

---- Current location – The Gendarme Climbing School, Seneca Rocks, WV, USA - Temp: ~9DegC ----

Unfortunately, this post will not nearly be as epic as previously implied, sorry.

Today, the weather is the worst is has been the entire trip. Usually, it rains all night and drizzles during the day. Last night, it started raining and is still pouring harder than I have seen yet.

Yesterday, however, the weather was slightly better. It rained a bit in the morning and eventually dried up. So, The Dans and I headed out to do Conn’s East (5.5), a three pitch route that would take us to the South Summit. The approach was heinous. We slogged our way up to the base of Seneca, from which point we had to do some exposed scrambling to get to the base of the climb. Chico (the dog) did not particularly enjoy this, so we had to hand him up to each other. Once at the base of the climb, we dropped our gear and scrambled into The Gunsight for lunch. It was quite the beautiful day. We dropped back down to the base of the climb and racked up. I lead the first pitch, a long diagonal traverse along a giant flake. Rope drag was incredible on this pitch. The Dans followed and Dan R set up to take the next pitch. Once we all arrived there, Dan FM took us to the summit. It was a great view and The Dans had really wanted to get up there, so that was good. We double rope rapped to the base and pulled the ropes. Dan R’s brand new 70m got stuck in a constriction about 40feet above us (D’oh!). So, Dan FM got to climb the first pitch of Conn’s East Direct (5.8) to retrieve it. Once we got the rope down we walked South along Broadway Ledge and rappelled off – with Chico, of course. This was quite the ordeal. We had to build him a harness, shove him into my pack and then Dan R rapped off with him. It was pretty awesome. Once back on the trail, we made a slippery descent and headed off to the party.

Figure 1 - Lunch in the Gunsight.

Figure 2 - Dan FM at the summit.

Figure 3 - Me topping out.

The party was pretty fun, but not nearly as epic as we imagined it would be. The beer was pretty good – and free! The food was delicious – and free! The prizes were great – and free! But, there was something missing. It just didn’t seem like a crazy party. The three of us cleaned up when it came to prizes. Dan R won a chalkbag, Dan FM won a Misty Mountain harness and a pair of socks, and I won a Black Diamond #1 C4 Cam – schwing! The party died down around midnight, so we all went up to the campsite and fell asleep.

Now, it is pouring rain and we are trying to figure out what to do. Hopefully we figure something out.

Figure 4 - Dan R rapping with Chico.

Friday, May 1, 2009

West Virginia Trip – Part 9 – The Dans’ Arrival

---- Current location – The Gendarme Climbing School, Seneca Rocks, WV, USA - Temp: ~19DegC ----

Yesterday was a pretty boring day. There was not much climbing to be done, due to the weather. So, Matt, Massey and I set up for the big Cinco De Mayo party. We had to put up a big tent, a small tent, set up the barbeques, etc. Once we were done, Matt and Massey wanted to go work some harder routes that are overhanging and out of the rain. I tagged along. I didn’t really feel like climbing, that much, for some reason, anyway. It went well and we came back to the shop. From there, we decided on burgers for dinner. So, we headed to Yokum’s restaurant. We grabbed a late night (after closing) burger from Jim (which was delicious, as usual). When we returned to the shop, we ran into none other than The Dans, who had arrived several hours earlier from Kingston. I took off with them to the campsite. We tried to get a fire going, but everything was too wet and we didn’t really have the energy. So, we went to sleep.

Figure 1 - How Seneca has, unfortunately, looked lately.

Today, we woke up and made a very scrumptious breakfast. We made bacon, scrambled eggs and toast (awesome!). After breakfast, we decided to climb Ecstasy, a three pitch 5.7 (classic Seneca route). So, we headed down to the climb, with all our gear. As soon as we arrived, it started raining. We hung around the base of the climb hoping beyond hope that it would stop, which it did not. So, we trundled back to the shop in shame. Once there, we left our gear and went back to the tents to grab our laptops and Scrabble. We trudged our way back to the shop (in the rain) and got some internet time in, plus played a game of Scrabble. After which, we grabbed a sandwich from Yokum’s Deli for lunch. It was not very delicious, unlike most of the food around here. We sat around a while longer. Dan R took a nap. Until, we were tired of sitting around, so we headed to The South End with plans to climb Candy Corner (5.5), whether it was raining or not. We got there and it seemed fine, so Dan FM lead the first pitch. We had planned on top roping it, but decided to go on an adventure. So, we set up for multi pitch. I followed. Dan FM and I tried to haul Chico (Dan R’s dog) up with us, but failed. Chico had to stay on the ground. Dan R then thirded. I set up to lead the next pitch, but realised we were at the wrong bolts. My pitch ended p being about 10m and required no protection. Dan R lead the next pitch to the base of Bee Sting corner (his first multi-pitch trad lead – woohoo). From there we double rope rappelled off, collected Chico and headed home.

Figure 2 - Me at the first belay of our Candy Corner link up.

Figure 3 - Dan R and I at the second belay.

Figure 4 - Dan FM at the base, post climb.

Tomorrow, we plan on hitting up some more routes and partying our faces off (we have to show these Southerners how Canadians do it). Be ready for an epic blog soonest.