There we were, scrubbing horse crap off my dog, chronicling another installment of the misadventures of Snotty Booger and The Grace Face. Scott held Rosie’s ass in the air as I scrubbed the horse shit off the back of her neck. After a long day of climbing at Pilot Mountain State Park from nearly dawn till dusk, there we were in the park bathroom bathing my dog and she was not happy about it. She tried to wrestle her way out of it, sliding her soap covered paws around the bottom of the small sink with her ass unflatteringly held in the air by Scott. Speckles of horse poo trickled down into the sink and the odor of feces became replaced by the aroma of the cheap hand soap that I scrubbed into her fur. I wasn’t about to put this poopy face mutt back into my backseat for the drive home and was feeling sympathetic toward Scott for having to ride back there with her. In lieu of a knob, the sink had one of those horrible satanic plungers that you have to depress every three seconds to keep the water running. And I honestly struggled to understand how water so cold could remain in liquid form. But hey, guess what you little turd neck, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I freed her when the soap and poop particles were all gone and she bolted around the bathroom like a maniac, dodging the vicious beastly hand dryer on the wall and shaking as she stormed around.
It was an awesome day climbing at Pilot Mountain with an awesome couple of friends. We did most of the climbs without beta or route info which somewhat added to the adventure and kept things interesting. On the first route of the day, a 100 foot 5.8 that I was leading, I took up 9 quickdraws, dropped one about 15 feet off the ground, then about another 40 feet up I realized I needed 12 draws to do the route. Sooo yeah, perfect. Fortunately the climbers next to us were top roping and willing to bring me up practically another rack. I shimmied across a ledge, snagged the draws from him and proceeded on my climb.
Sarah led the next route and I was happy to top rope it. But at another nearly 100 foot route, 70 feet up I was exhausted. I went for a hold, gripped it, weighted it, felt solid, then flew right off. I shouted down to Scott and Sarah, “This is why we use ropes,” as a tribute to my more adventurous days free soloing this past summer. Still I was embarrassed to take a fall for no other reason than simply being careless.
Once I topped out I pulled the rope then worked over to a double pitch 5.10 to 5.8. I rapped down and belayed Sarah up the route. It starts out with a precarious crux from the gun. It’s an overhang that you climb up onto by standing on a slabby boulder with a point on top. You get a high foot and torque yourself up onto the wall and hope a smeared foot keeps you on. Last time I did this route last winter, I fell on the first move and felt the seat of my pants and my shirtail skim over the point on the boulder as I pendulumed over it. So I was pretty friggin committed to getting it first try this time. I stuck it, then just kept rocking from there and felt solid the whole way. I’m not a great climber so to unhesitatingly flow through the moves on a 5.10 got me super stoked. I topped out on the 5.8, cleaned the anchors, then rappelled down and we moved on to the next spot to climb.
Climbing at Pilot Mountain can get crowded even in the winter, so we walked almost all the way down the end before we saw a couple problems that looked doable for us. But we were all getting exhausted so I walked up and dropped a top rope. But I unknowingly dropped the rope overtop a 5.10 arete. Yus.
It sucked. I was super pumped, exhausted, and I thought I was just sucking rather than the route actually being somewhat difficult for me. But I topped out, then so did Scott, then Sarah. So to finish off the day we all killed it up a 5.10 and then instead of calling it a day, decided to move the rope over to another set of bolts and make ourselves hate climbing on one last route.
Turns out this route was a 5.10b, so great that’s wonderful. With sidepulls and gnarly sharp pinches and already pumped forearms, we all really enjoyed climbing that last route. And by enjoy I mean I turned into a giant diva and whined about every move. Oh and Rosie had just come back covered in horse poo from a little jaunt off in the woods. And as I’m writing this, I acknowledge that I don’t really know what kind of poo it was. I’m just hoping it was horse poo, despite the extremely high human:horse ratio in the area.
But we all topped out again and packed up and drove to Mt. Airy to enjoy the fine cuisine of Chili Rojo. I ate a torso sized chimichanga to celebrate a solid day of climbing and now I’m gonna go sleep for 18 hours because I’m on break and why the hell not. Solid day of climbing at Pilot Mountain, time for a solid 18 hour nap.