|Randy leading||Two teams at first belay station|
By John Simpkins
The fact that Koala Rock was in shadow during most of our climb provided an additional challenge for me...it was very cold! With encouragement from above and below, I carefully made my way up the first pitch, noticing that my fingertips became less sensitive, absorbing the cold from the rock itself. Good holds on the pitch made the climb economically achievable, and yet the height from the river far below made for some very exhilarating views! A couple of times that visual drop caused me to ask myself what I was doing up there! I had never been so high up clinging to a vertical rock before! Once I made it to the ledge where Brent awaited me, I turned and sat, taking in the amazing view, with new respect for heights, and thankfulness for the support, enthusiasm and encouragement from Brent, Kara, Roger, Randy and Kristi. I find climbing is very much like practicing Zen. Staying in the moment, being mindful, and breathing into each movement. The physicality punctuates this. Now I look at rocks differently.....my eyes seeking to find possible routes to the top! I decided to join the club. The camaraderie heightens the experience for me, and there is much to be shared and learned from the members. "Climb On!".
|Kristi at first belay||Tied in on top||Group shot on top of Koala Rock||Kara showing how to rapell||John's first rapell|
By Randy GriffinThe morning was cool, windy and threatening to rain but the excitement was high! This was only my second time rock climbing and I was going to do a lead climb up the three pitches of the Round River Route. Needless to say I was a little nervous, but the reassuring instructions and ecouragement of Brent and Kara eased my doubts. After Brent's team was anchored at the top of the first pitch and I started the lead climb for my team, all fears were lost and I got into the excitement and thrill of just being on the side of the rock. As I clipped into each bolt,remembering the instuctions given to me, my confidence built. Finishing the final pitch onto the top and climbing in to the warm sunshine was exhilarating. After hanging out on the summit enjoying the glorious view and taking some pictures with this wonderful group of people, we learned how to rappel down the back side. What a fun and rewarding climb. Thanks to Brent and Kara for sharing their time and knowledge with us to do this climb!