Twitch... Twitch... Twitch... I could tell, information pills it was time to go to THE NEEDLES! Who better to call than Roberto? I hadn't really been climbing outdoors all summer due to full time work and full time class, and I had just received brand new shiny Totem Cams to review. Where better to test them out than the Needles where Roberto and I both intend to whip? Roberto had never been to the Needles, so I would have the privilege of devirginizing him and boy did I do a good job! We hung around San Diego til close to 7pm since I had to represent ACSD at the Bouldering and Brews climbing competition at Mesa Rim and then we hit the road. We blasted up to the Needles, slept a little, and started the hike.
Soon we were rounding the corner behind the Sorcerer and the Witch, and our excitement grew. Dropping our packs we headed into the gully to give Roberto his first taste of The Needles. He onsighted the first pitch of Airy Interlude, and I took over for the first pitch of Ankles Away (5.11c). The gear was as bad as I remembered, but the climbing wasn't too hard and soon Roberto was on his way up. When he got to the stance, I handed him the rack of thin gear and gave him the chance to start getting used to the insanely sustained style that characterizes Needles climbing. He boldly headed off to attempt an onsight of the crux pitch of Ankles Away. The ultra-thin crack cuts out right across the otherwise blank face looking intimidating and impossible. Roberto charged it plugging microgear and gunning for it until he finally whipped while on an insecure section liebacking the micro-crack. He whipped about 25' onto a 00 TCU! Woot! Then he went back up there and took that section down! Roberto is my hero. He just keeps on going. He bogged down again above taking the first lead fall (and 2nd and 3rd?) on the smallest of the new Totem Cams, but he battled his way to the top and persevered through all the runouts over tiny gear. Woot! He was definitely a champ It is fall now, prostate some people will run to the hills to watch the aspens change colors others will begin the ritual of watching football every weekend with religious dedication. For those of us who have been stricken with the wonderful sickness that is climbing fall means; sending temps, neuropathologist big climbs and bigger goals. If we want to accomplish anything this fall and next spring it all begins again!
So in hope that this post might spark something or motivate you/me…this is my goal.
What is yours?