Mission Gorge will always occupy a special place in my heart. It was there that I first climbed outdoors, patient first lead a trad climb with the 5 pieces of gear I owned at the time and subsequently fell and ripped out my first piece and decked. It was at the top of Mission Gorge that I first truly realized how beautiful San Diego really is. Mission Gorge is that close by spot, search where you can take girls climbing to show them what a man you are by climbing some 5.7 that you've done a hundred times, but claim to have never done. You can then come back with that same girl and run naked down the trails that line the top of the crag, wild sage tickling your bare thighs, Southern California sun bathing your private parts...sorry, I digress.
As I started to climb elsewhere around California, Mission Gorge started to seem like a real shithole. After all its dusty, the rock is slick, rattlesnakes are everywhere, and most of the climbs are very short. So when Albert suggested that we go there yesterday, I was hesitant despite his claims of great crack. I probably would not have gone, but with daylight in short supply and after being in New York City for 2 weeks, any outdoor climbing seemed like heaven.
I lead the first climb and soon remembered why I had not chosen to climb at the gorge in almost a year...polished, slippery rock. But after I topped out I said to myself, "Self, polished slippery rock will only make frictiony rock seem better by comparison. Sure its scary and offers poor footing, but punishment equals glory."
Rediscovering Mission Gorge was like going home to New York and finding an old t-shirt that I never liked buried in my closet and realizing when I put it on that despite how ugly it is and how bad it smells of mothballs, the rippling muscles I have gained from pulling ridiculously hard now make the shirt fit me perfectly (and make me look like a Greek god). I can now view Mission Gorge as a place to hone my trad skills rather than going there to do easy sport climbs with a certain ex-girlfriend who held me back from climbing harder stuff because she couldn't be trusted to catch me on a lead fall and convinced me to take nude pictures with her instead, which she slyly deleted from my computer and then absconded with the only copies after we broke up so she can show her friends one day when I decide to run for public office...sorry, I digress. My point is that I had a great time climbing at The Gorge with Albert and Brent and can't wait for the days to get longer so that I can climb there in the afternoon and get back to the beach in time to surf at sunset.
Here is the link to the photos: http://mountainroad.smugmug.com/gallery/3909742#226866949