||[Tuesday, September 6th, 2011, 11:21 am]
Had an excellent weekend, but don't feel like writing about it in much detail. So here's what I did:|
2pm: meet Tina and Kelly at King George skytrain
2pm - 4pm: kill time at Kelly's while she packs... very... slowly. Played with the Murphydog and sampled strawberries from Kelly's garden.
4pm - 10pm: drive to Penticton! Road trip! Kelly is full of stories about everything along the way because she's lived in a bunch of places along that highway. Beautiful scenic mountain highway. Stopped at Eastgate where there is a petrol station with a diner attached to it, in the middle of nowhere. Kelly's old boss owns the diner. We had delicious bumbleberry pie and bought some of the "best samosas in the world" (Kelly's rec). More 90s tunes and driving later, we pull into Penticton at 9.30 at night, just in time to hit the Safeway before it closes.
10pm - late: Meet up with the boys at the hostel, eat some of Mike's bacon lasagna. Chat over a few beers and make plots for the next day before going to bed. We have a 6/2 bed split and I wind up in the boy room with Mike, Owen, Geoff and Nick.
After leisurely breakfasts at the hostel we head out to the crags! But first we stop and buy a Skaha guidebook. They were out of stock at the gear store but I managed to find one in a used book store down the street. Walking through the farmer's market is also fun.
At the crags I take Tina and we climb at Another Buttress near Redtail, a shortish wall with medium grade face-climbing. I lead everything, Tina top-ropes. Then I climb it again to clean the gear. Tina is feeling sort of unfocussed and doesn't want to learn to clean gear. So after a while that gets old and we hike over to Redtail to meet up with some others. Acquire Mike, Nick, Joe Wong and two newbies that Joe had brought along. Do more climbing. Nothing over a 5.9 I think. But it was a lot of fun. Just spidering up easy routes outdoors can be very enjoyable.
We head back to the hostel in the evening and get started on dinner. I warm up my giant bag of frozen chilli, Geoff makes cornbread, Nick makes Hainanese rice, there are chips and beer, and everything is amazingly delicious. Afterwards we hang out in the dorm drinking wine and talking.
We have a vague plan to go to the cave... after some delays at the parking lot Geoff and I head out on the alternate flatter route because it will be kinder to my knee, which started twinging oddly the day before. It takes an hour and a half to hike to Cave Hill, where the climbs are less than amazing. Messed around there for a bit before the others showed up and then we hiked around to the cave. We started out with 9 and people opted out eventually until it was just me, Joe and Geoff. The last time I went caving was in New Zealand in 2005. This cave wasn't anything like that one, there were a lot of tricky traverse spots that definitely felt like climbing. Couldn't have done it without my climbing shoes. We brought a rope with us and used it to rappel or build ladders in spots to make it safer, but still did a lot of cool climbing. We went in backwards from the recommended route, which I think made it a lot harder.
After the cave we meet up with the others and then hike back to the parking lot. It takes two hours. Exhausting day. Head to the lake after. I borrow Owen's swim trunks because we don't want to go back to the hostel, and we make it to the lake just in time to catch the last rays of sun. After a brief dip in the freezing water we get out and dry off in a chill wind and get some hamburgers from the festival BBQ stand to tide us over till dinner. There's a bit of a show where they're giving out prizes and stuff from the climbing festival, and then afterwards a band comes on. Delhi to Dublin and they are some kind of fusion Indian-Celtic music that winds up being very good.
At the festival we also meet up with the rest,of the VRCG group and the Project Climb people, and Athomas's daughter Fiona makes an appearance (she was sick the previous day). She runs around giving everyone hugs... also she tells me that I'm her best friend, which is super sweet!
We get back to the hostel around 9 or 10pm, dinner is chicken masala and chickpea curry courtesy of Owen. Also brownies and ice cream. We found the tub of ice cream from our LAST trip in June, still marked with my name on it, waiting for us in the freezer! After that we hang out in the TV room watching videos off Owen and Mike's iPhones - some of the funnier stuff from our climbing trips.
Geoff lets me swap cars with him because he cut his ankle in the cave the day before and it was kind of swollen. So Mike, Nick, Owen and I head out to the crags to squeeze in some climbing before heading back. It turned out to be the best climbing day. We did two 5.9s and a 5.10a and 10c at Diamondback. They were really neat climbs, I felt like I actually had to use some technical moves. After that we hiked over to the Fortress and managed one last climb, a 5.10b that went 25m. Those were the hardest climbs I've ever done outdoors and I was pleasantly surprised. But then we had to head back... I felt like I was just getting warmed up and wanted to stay another 3 days.
Beautiful scenic mountain highway again on the way back, but far too dozy to appreciate it. Texted people where there was cell reception to pass the time. Joe (not climbing Joe) did an 8 hour motorcycle ride along the same highway, and we both agreed that it was indeed a beautiful scenic mountain highway. He suggested that we do a weekend+ climbing trip some time. He gets to ride his motorcycle for hours and hours, I get to climb things. The prospect is very pleasant. I want to do it like RIGHT NOW, he doesn't think he'll be able to schedule things before the season ends and I'll have to wait till next summer. Oh well.
Joe is having a busy couple of days too, yesterday he did an 8 hour motorcycle ride with Selina and today he's climbing at Area 44 with Avi! But first he came over this morning to surprise me and it was very nice, although I was surprisingly unsurprised.
Today I think it will be rollerblading and then climbing. Classes start tomorrow!