My brother Pat and I took one last climbing trip before he departs to Chile. We headed towards Las Conchas I called it Los Conchas I soon discovered it was Las and not Los. A maiden voyage of pulling the Casita Trailer with my 1992 Toyota Truck. The trip was slow going what should have taken a little under 6 hours took us 8. No worries it was a good solid tow with rough and tumble ride but might need new shocks. Pat is leaving the Casita in my care while he is away on his year world travel. I plan to use it camping once I get my truck up to speed, replace the muffler,pitter, idle arms and repack bearings recommended by certified mechanics.
We’ve been traveling various places for rock climbing routes the past few weeks from El Torito, The Outlook, Las Conchas in New Mexico to Shelf Road in Colorado and back again to New Mexico concentrating on the climbing areas in Las Conchas. I consider myself a newbie to rock climbing although it’s been a couple of years I’ve grown to truly love the sport! It definitely provides a physical challenge as well as a mental concentration honing climbing technique. If I’m only able to climb a 5.8 I’m okay with it but as I watch my brother and others rock climb harder routes I wonder if it’s possible to take it to the next level? I’ve noticed the skin on my hands getting callused and grip strength getting better. Understanding technique and putting it all together using my feet instead of reaching with my hands for the next hold. Helps avoid getting pumped out by balancing with my foot placement. I now understand my arms will give out long before my legs will. I need to keep my wits together in order to make the next move. I’m intermittent fasting and seems to help me focus while determining where to place my foot and hand. I keep thinking to myself “How I will reach the next level with my brother leaving?” “Will I find a good rock climbing partner?” I’ve lead belayed indoors 5.6 and one 5.8 but nothing outdoors. This will open up a new challenge of meeting new people in the pursuit of rock climbing. In the meantime I’ll enjoy the few days I have left and maybe one more climb before he leaves.
My biggest obstacle is overhangs something about making the next move and keeping my arms straight while using my feet, hips and hand in unison. Las Conchas the first route was called the Love Shack over a stream beginning with a overhung crux. I watched Pat easily lead climb with little effort set the rope. I tiptoed over the two medium size rocks to make it over to the face where I begin my ascent. Trying to keep my head together I attempted and reached to make the grip, place my feet as I struggled to pull myself onto the next handhold only to pump out. Again I tried, this time placing a heel hook solidly but not using my leg strength to pull my body properly to make the grip. Yes I failed but not a failure a learning experience to continue to push myself and work on overhangs. Someday I may be able to push through a overhang without a struggle.
We hike along the corridor and found another route which was about 13 clips a long solid route as Pat lead climbing placed the top rope. I’m very lucky to climb with my brother who can set the route. I wonder if I will be so lucky when I look for my next climbing partner? I will again need to get out of my comfort zone and take it to the next level with lead climbing outdoors can I do it…baby steps! The first day of climbing and hiking we did two routes I was able to complete one. The rest of the day we headed to Alamosa for eats at a local mexican restaurant I had a Relleno Burrito, biggie size horchata. After that we headed to Sante Fe for dessert of Tres leches Cake and the best ever Coconut Cream Pie with a macaroon crust. As the day began to fade we passed on Ojo Caliente another hour of driving only to make a decision to stay put and relax at camp.
Happy Friday headed back to Las Conchas to climb the routes that were taken up the previous day. I was able to rock climb all of them except the 5.10D that my brother completed no problem I wanted to save my energy to lead belay. Only trouble was there was a big group that had taken up the route which had a 5.6 we decided to finish the day with Pat leading a 5.8 interesting climb with side pulls, small overhangs and some unique foot placement. Overall was a great rock climb experience!
We decided to reward ourselves with a OMAD (One Meal a Day) don’t hold back. Left for White Rock to a local pizza joint not my favorites but I was hangry and it’s one of the few restaurants in White Rock, NM. I thought about a burger and then said to my brother “We should split a GF pizza and order two salads if I don’t order a burger!” with that he replied “Lets split a pizza, a burger and order two salads. I thought what the heck we climbed hard! We arrived at Pizza Time with no one at the counter. With some whistling a lady appeared from the back. “Oh I’m sorry” she replied “What can I get you guys?” With that we placed our order with sausage, pepperoni and green olives on the pizza. She asked with a big smile from the big order “What can I get on your burger?” My brother and I looked at each other with a happy grin and exclaimed “Everything” we hadn’t eaten all day! I ate everything but Pat was full after three large bites of his salad, tummy is getting smaller from Intermittent Fasting.
After our large meal we headed to Joyful Journey Hot Springs to spend the night and soak our weary muscles in the hot 110 degree pool. It’s the halfway point to our travel home! Well worth the trip rock climbing one last time outdoors with my brother before his exciting travels!