I’m in Arkansas! Hell yeah! It’s amazing here and the crew has been having a blast. 4 days ago I rolled down to The Natural State with my girlfriend, Mary Mecklenburg, and good friends Nic Sherman, Cameron Maier, and Dallas Erwin. I visited the Ozarks of Arkansas a few years ago and was amazed by the quality of the rock, potential for new climbs, and the beauty of it all. Warm temps and rain cut my last trip short, but ever since I’ve been determined to make my way back.
Video from a few years ago:
The trip started out slowly this year with some wet weather and a little bit of rain. We still managed to find plenty of dry rock over the last few wet days and tear our tips to shreds. However, it’s been hard to search for new rock when the weather looks like this:
But we made do, climbing and checking out some of the classics of the area like the fantastic problems in Fred’s Cave and a short stop at Wood Grain Grippin’ V14. Wood Grain has been on my list to check out for a long time now, and it was cool to finally give it some effort. Looks like V11, climbs like V13/14. I pieced together some of the moves and got close to the crux, but unfortunately, near the end of the session, I broke a small bit off the crux edge:
The problem definitely still goes and is still just as good, but the big move to the edge (which is the crux for me) is definitely a bit harder now. The hold is not quite as deep at the bottom. After Wood Grain, we headed up the road to look at the now iconic, Witness The Fitness V15:
And it is by FAR, one of the coolest natural roof climbs I could ever imagine! Sculpted pinches and bulbs on a horizontal roof for 30+ feet. What more could you ask for? Rumors have talked of a number of breaks making the already difficult climb impossible. After checking it out, I am sure that the climb has broken quite a bit, but is still very possible. I’m really excited to try it, and I hope that the weather stays dry for long enough to give it some effort. Wet sandstone leads to holds breaking, and Witness can’t handle any more breaks!
Today was the first day of sunshine and we spent the whole day climbing at Horeshoe Canyon Ranch, where we are staying for the extent of the trip. It’s nice to be able to casually wake up in the morning and walk to the boulders from the front door of the cabin. Life is good. The morning temps were great and spent probably 2 hours warming up before repeating some classics. It was a mellow day and we all had a blast. Except for Cameron who had his pad stolen from the rocket box on top of his car. Not Cool! I think we are all still in disbelief that something like that happens amongst the climbing community, particularly on such a family oriented ranch. Here’s a few more pictures from the last few days:
Grand Dragon V7…one of the coolest natural features out there.