The Final Family Climb in Tucson

IMG_3909

Our kids have left to return to their lives in Seattle. Dennis and I were surprised at just how much we miss them 😦 Of course, we expected to feel a little sad when they left, but it has hit us harder than we thought it would. Perhaps that is because we know, as parents, that the window to have them available to us is closing. They are strong, independent young adults with dreams and bright futures ahead of them, which is what all parents strive toward for their children. But now, when they are fun and capable we want more time with them, not less!

We all got to have one last climb in Mt. Lemmon. We climbed “feed the sweed” on Barnum Rock. This is an easy three pitch ascent that we all enjoyed!

IMG_3456

We climbed to the top of this guy!

It was a gorgeous day, really perfect for climbing! We drove to this spot in the picture above, crossed the street and started the hike up to the base.

IMG_3400

This is the base looking up to the top

IMG_3402

The view from the base looking over the valley. We started at the 6000 ft. level

Ryan led, of course, and Dennis followed. Alex and I were next.

IMG_3409

IMG_3408

IMG_3419IMG_3413

IMG_1426

With four people and just as many iPhones, we had plenty of photos of everybody.

IMG_1437

IMG_2180

Alex is making her way onto the top of the first pitch

IMG_2164

Alex is belaying me as I climb, while Ryan supervises.

IMG_2173

spoiler alert, I made it!

The view from the top of pitches 1 and 2

IMG_3424

IMG_2184

Some pictures of us climbing pitch 3

IMG_2189

 

 

IMG_3419

IMG_3845

IMG_3429

Ryan at the top!

Eventually, we all made our way up to Ryan. What a view!

IMG_2198

IMG_3451

Dennis at the top

IMG_3856

Alex enjoying the view

IMG_3861

Ryan and I packing some gear, getting ready for the decent

IMG_3866

The obligatory summit selfie!

We had such an amazing time. The kids are really patient with us and chose a fun and simple climb. No one fell (I usually fall at least once!) and the rock conditions were perfect.

As I said before, Alex and Ryan are back in Seattle working and getting ready for classes. Dennis and I will be coping by heading to Manzanillo Mexico for a yoga retreat. We leave tomorrow, so don’t feel too sorry for us as we miss the kids!

35651ECF-FFCD-41AE-84BC-F433E7C74315

Advertisements

Standard Route on Mt. Lemmon

Ryan and I first climbed on Mt. Lemmon near the base, at “the wall of the flying scorpions”. This was a single pitch crag and near 1500ft. elevation. We had fun, even though I did split open a couple fingers in the process.

This time we decided to head up near the 4000ft area to a multi pitch climb named “the standard route“. This climb is located on Chimney rock and is only a 200ft climb, divided into 5 pitches. Perfect for me but pretty lame for Ryan!

It was a gorgeous day when we got to the base of the wall.

IMG_3174

Ryan placed his rope and some gear near the base and we “suited up”.

IMG_3175

IMG_3180

IMG_3177

There was a party of three ahead of us, so we waiting our turn. I watched the two women ahead of us in the hopes of learning the best way to maneuver the route.

Then Ryan lead up to the first anchor.

IMG_3179

There was a big ledge here to sit and wait for our turn on the second pitch.

IMG_3181

The view just keeps getting better!

This is the start of the second, and my least favorite, pitch. This is the chimney, which is just large enough for your body to squeeze into the gap. You can see the last climber in the group ahead of us as she tries to work her way up the rock face.

IMG_3184

Eventually, Ryan and I got up, through and over this pitch. Below is the top of the chimney and the start of my favorite pitch, number 3.

IMG_3191

We waited here for a bit while the other group made their way up.

IMG_3185

 

IMG_3186

IMG_3187

Helmet hair!

 

IMG_3193

Ryan was tired of waiting at this point and was ready to head up.

The view from the top of pitch 3.

IMG_3199

IMG_3205

After talking with the group ahead of us, we all decided to combing pitches 4 and 5 and went to the top!

IMG_3215

This rock teetering on the spike, was another 1000ft or so above us. Would love to climb in that area!

IMG_3214

The obligatory Summit Selfie!

 

IMG_3219

We waited for our turn to rappel off the top.

IMG_3210

Ryan goes first and I wait for him to yell clear, then I head down. When we are both on the ground, we pull the rope through the anchor.

But the rope did not cooperate this time. Ryan had to climb back up and retrieve it!

IMG_3212

This happens sometimes! Luckily he knew what to do because that rope is $300.00, Yikes!

After a fun climb there is only one thing left to do!

IMG_3247

Happy Hour at Zona78!

Our next climb will be with the whole family!

The Climbing Adventure Continues on Mount Lemmon

Ryan and I have been climbing in the Southern Arizona area, and have been to the Cochise Stronghold area a couple times. We like that area, but it is a two hour drive from our home in the Catalina foothills and makes for a pretty long day. We decided to head over to Mount Lemmon, in the Coronado National Forest, which is only 40 minutes away.

The day was perfect for climbing with the temperature at 73F and no wind. And, since it was a weekday, we would not have too many other climbers to contend with on the wall.

There are many crags here, mostly single pitch climbing, all well bolted with “lower offs” in place.

We chose the “wall of the flying scorpions” because it had several routes, some low enough for me, and most harder, for Ryan to climb.

This is the view from the parking area and our routes are on the far right rock wall.

IMG_3127

We had a bit of a hike to get through the gully and over to the crag. One thing I have learned about hiking in the desert is that the cactus are not the worst offenders. I used to believe that the cacti, with their sharp spines, were the only foliage to be avoided. But the cactus are not the biggest problem!  The brush and bushes, none of which are the iconic saguaro variety, are the real danger. Look at the spikes on this bush!

IMG_3157

This, and the many large aloe vera plants with their razor sharp leaves, are the real obstacles along the path.

We made our way to the other side of the valley and found the wall.

IMG_3129

IMG_3130

These are the easier routes, so just a warm up for Ryan! I made it up this first, 5.8 just fine.

IMG_3137

But, 1/3 of the way up the second wall (5.9) I had a little problem.

IMG_3142

Turns out this rock was a little sharper than I had hoped. As I pulled up on a finger tip hold, I sliced my index finger. It wasn’t too bad, but the blood made the rest of the route a little slippery and I then took a larger piece of my thumb off.

IMG_3136

That was ok because these were the only two routes I was going to attempt on this wall anyway. So I finished off the climb and we moved down the wall to Ryan’s routes, 5.10b, 5.10b/c and a 5.11-.

IMG_3139

IMG_3140

IMG_3141

IMG_3156

Ryan’s routes were longer and obviously harder. At this point I was just belaying him and taking some shots from the base of the wall. A pretty view!

IMG_3132

The view from the base of the wall, looking back on the road leading up Mount Lemmon

IMG_3147

IMG_3153

Ryan’s favorite climbing shirt. Last year’s Christmas gift from his sister.

We were not alone at the crag, a few other duos were there working the wall as well. We caught a glimpse of them as we drove away.

IMG_3161

Zooming in on the wall, you can see one of their back packs (circled) where the belayer is standing and the arrow indicates the climber on his way up.

IMG_3160

This must have been how Ryan and I appeared from the other side of the highway.

There are so many other crags to explore on Mount Lemmon and we will be heading back to check them out!

Ryan and Dee Dee’s Excellent Adventure

You may recall that my husband and I decided to buy a second home in Tucson about six months ago. As soon as we told our kids, our son, Ryan, began planning a climbing trip. He wanted to leave Washington the minute his fall semester ended and stay at the new house, which would serve as his base of operations, through the Christmas holiday.

This plan was not practical for Dennis and Alex (our daughter) as they needed to work and was not poplar with Grandma as Ryan and I would not be around for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner! But, this is our first year with the new house and everyone has been gracious in allowing Ryan and I this great opportunity 🙂

We decided that Ryan and I would be in Tucson until the end of December and then Dennis and Alex will join us so we can all climb for the first week of January. So, Ryan and I had our first foray into Southern Arizona yesterday.

We left the house at 9:30am for the 2 hour drive to the Cochise Stronghold climbing area in the Coronado National Forest. There are over 1000 different routes to choose from. Ryan decided on Euphoria for our first climb. Armed with two guide books and the Mountain project website we began our search for the route.

For any of you that climb or hike, you know that finding the parking area is the first challenge. We turned onto the well marked “primitive road” and began the 10 mile drive toward the general area.  We were pretty sure we were on the right track when we saw the domes off in the distance.

IMG_2950

About 8 miles into the gravel road we saw this…

 

IMG_2953

How is a school bus making the 16 mile round trip on this road? And where are these kids coming from??

Anyway, we kept going.

IMG_2951

Getting closer!

We had been making good time, up until this point! Somewhere we missed the tiny little sign that indicated the forest road that split off toward the parking area. This cost us an hour as we tried to back track and listen to the disembodied GPS voice telling us to take the private, padlocked road to our destination! Finally, we found it.

IMG_2955

IMG_2956

The dome on the far right was where Euphoria lives, and where we needed to hike over toward. This hike would take about an hour, according to the guide books, we managed to get there in 40 minutes.

We now are beginning the climb at almost 1pm! The sun sets at 5:22pm and we were hoping to climb the five pitches (plus the hour hike back) before it was so dark that we needed head lamps, so we had to be efficient!

IMG_2958

Ryan began flaking the rope

IMG_2962

This is the view from the base, lots of trees and rocks!

Ryan lead the first pitch and set the anchor, you might be able to see his yellow jacket at the top of the orange rope.

IMG_2964

I climbed up and Ryan took this shot at the top of pitch one.

IMG_2976

From here it gets colder! The wind picked up big time and we climbed the next four pitches. No pictures there as the focus is now on not dying! Both hands on the rope at all times. As we went higher the cold became a factor as our finger tips and toes were really starting to suffer! Ryan, of course, never fell. I, of course, fell twice!

We finally topped out about three hours after the initial pitch and we were both shivering! Ryan snapped a summit selfie.

I found out later that a “unusual cold front” had moved into the area and would take the temperature into the low 20s. The first frost warning of the season-lucky us!

IMG_2977

It was now pushing 5pm and we had to get back to the car. The hike down was steep and we had all the gear to balance. The sun was going down and we took a few last shots of this beautiful place.

IMG_2973

IMG_2972

IMG_2967

IMG_2974

IMG_2978

IMG_2970

IMG_2980

We did make it back to the car before it was too dark to see without the head lamps. I was rather proud of that!

I am not going to lie, I am bruised and sore today! But we will be back! There are many more routes to explore in this area.