You know – I’m usually all talk when it comes to rock climbing. Literally. I’m the host and MC for competitions, advise folks on gear purchases and proper use/care, and blah blah blah my way through endless lessons and clinics all about safety, efficient rope skills, proper technique…when will it end and I quite posing, shut my mouth, get off my ass and CLIMB SOME DAMN ROCKS.
Enter Greg Smith. One of those annoyingly optimistic positive on life’s adventures types. You know, the ones that remove any possible excuse you can come up with for staying home in your comfort zone like a hermit and watching Netflix for 4 days straight. Don’t judge me.
“Hey Man…” (that’s how all his sentences start when shit’s about to set off) “…we keep talking about meeting up in Arizona, climbing around Mount Lemmon.
We score some cheap flights to Tucson, secure five-star accommodations at my folk’s place in Marana, reserve a sweet car rental, and we’re in business. Starting with what should have been our warm-up day at Chimney Rock (boy, that should have been a clue) turns in to a mild epic – first we spend few hours hunting for The Standard Route (5.7) – then follow another team through some really cool, airy pitches mixed in with a lousy flaring chimney pitch and a CRAWL across a sloping ledge that was super no fun.
I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as all that, but I sure did bitch up a storm following Greg’s lead and thought about the choices I’ve made with my life.
Day two, we scrap plans for bigger walls and head for the Ridgeline area. I’ve been there before and can almost guarantee a good day – and sure enough, we get it. A few casual sport pitches are just what the doctor ordered.
In fact, was such a fun day that after a brief search for good routes on day 3, that we elect to return to the Ridgeline and take a few victory laps. Turns out to be a good call – enjoying moderate cruisy routes, sunshine, and brisk desert mountain air.