Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Climbing at The Pond, Queen Creek Canyon, Arizona

After weeks, if not an entire month, of climbing neglect, I finally found myself outside climbing again. Unsure of what laid in store for me, I took the opportunity that presented itself to me and jumped in with my gear. The plan was to do some sport routes which to be honest, made me a bit nervous. I was nervous because at heart I'm mainly a boulder guy. Only on occasion do I rope climb, and even then, mostly on top-rope. I can lead and do some amount of trad climbing, but I don't do it often.

Originally, the plan was to climb at Atlantis which was located in Queen Creek Canyon. But upon arrival, we found the lot packed with cars and people already on the walls. So we drove further down the road and settled on The Pond instead.

For information on The Pond, check Mountain Project (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/the-pond/105788092)

The approach is a fun shimmy up rocks and an artificial ladder of sorts which you get to after pulling yourself up using a sling. After that, about 10 minutes of additional hiking to the crag.

The wall was impressive and I immediately fell in love with the potential climbs there. Between us, we had three ropes and an assortment of gear to set up anchors and draws. Given that I was a bit rusty, I took Jenny and Andrew to what I thought was a 5.8 to warm up on.

Shoe and harness on, I jumped onto the wall.

Immediately, I started struggling. Every clip was a tedious battle for holds and feet, and I was burning out really quickly in the attempt. At first I was confused, it was only a 5.8, way below my level. But then I reasoned that I was out of shape and that perhaps that's why I was having so much difficulty.

Half an hour in, the rest of the group formed under me, watching me suffer. By then, I had only clipped in 5/9 bolts and was entirely gassed. As I hung there, people started remarking how a 5.8 shouldn't be this difficult. Until eventually, Shawn informed me that I was leading not a 5.8 like I thought, but rather a 5.10c. With my pride salvaged, and my arms pumped beyond recovery, I lowered down and let the more skilled climbers finish the route.

Tail between my legs, I then went to finish some other easier climbs.

Regardless, the entire experience was amazing and I enjoyed every moment out in nature, chalked up. I love climbing.

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