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Decide Before You Climb

by Richard
09/18/2014 09:52:38 P.M.

I was recently invited to what's called a "baby moon" trip with my buddy. His wife was due to give birth to their daughter a few months from then and she wanted him to have one last good hurrah in the wilderness before the child came (Update: the child arrived...and is beautiful). 

So, five of us packed our bags and headed for Asheville, North Carolina, for a weekend at a lakehouse: climbing, swimming, grilling out, and relaxing. 

We decided to not particularly have any plans so that we could all take one collective breath from our normal schedule. This was a massively good decision...except for one logistic. Our climbing trip.

We decided early on that we wanted to climb and we knew we'd be near a spot, Rumbling Bald, that was widely heralded as some of the better climbing in the area. We looked at how to get to the routes and what to do to find our markers along the trail, but that was pretty much it. What we didn't know, is that those routes would be pretty stinking difficult to find. In fact, damn near impossible. 

When we finally a couple routes grouped together, we set up our ENO hammocks and did it right for quite a while. Climbing, belaying, or chillin'.

But after our buddy took quite the fall, we decided it was time to move on. We looked and looked for bolted routes, but they were few and far between. Then, we came across something chatostrophic: a landslide.

Massive boulders and splintered trees littered the path in front of us. We had nowhere to go, so we decided to try and scramble through to the other side—a noble, and ultimately stupid, idea. We got hit with poison ivy, didn't find our way through (it was hundreds of yards long), and morale suffered a great deal. So by the time we found our way back, we decided that it was time to call it a day. An extremely eventful day.

So, take it from me and my friends, when you go out to climb, make sure you're prepared as much as you can be. Be ready to make quick decisions that could save either a life or, at least, a good climbing experience.