|Photo by Taylor Frohmiller|
If I had to sum up the spring season in a word, it would have to be "momentum". All of my partners and I have been ticking things off at what seems like a breakneck pace. It's been incredibly refreshing to have aligned (built?) with a motivated crew who is eager to get out and try hard. We've tasted success, and that only leaves us more hungry.
This spring we've had a regular crew that consists of Taylor, Sarah, Dave and I. After about a month of crushing, it seems everyone in town has wanted to jump on the train, so we've also had a motley crew of hitchhikers that seem to find their groove whenever they make it out with us. I think we've all surpassed our spring expectations... or maybe our expectations just weren't high enough. It's a good thing that we can always re-up our goals.
|Country Boy on Fuzzy Undercling.|
|Sarah on Buff The Wood. Photo Taylor Frohmiller|
|Taylor sending Windy Corner.|
Taylor, who you've read about before, had his best season yet. He got off to a quick start with an early
season send of one of the Reds hardest 13b's, "Cutthroat", and proceeded to quickly take down three 13a's, also completing his 50th 5.12 in the process. Having already equaled his best season, and with it barely into April, he checked out a few of the 13c's the Red has to offer, but didn't commit to any, moving back to a couple of quick 13a takedowns. He finished off the season with a suprise send of his first Madness Cave route, "Flour Power" on the same day that he sent his first 5.11 trad route, a steep, burly handcrack called "Windy Corner". This was the season that Taylor really came into his own and began to understand outdoor rock climbing. Wrapping up with seven 13's (and at least one more coming this weekend), a fistful of 12d's, and his first fall on trad gear, it's just the first of several good seasons he has lined up. I'm looking forward to the day, in just a couple of seasons, when I'm getting beta on my projects from him, rather than the other way around.
|Take That, Katie Brown. Photo Taylor Frohmiller|
"Totally dry", he told me, "And if mine is dry, then yours definitely is."
That was all I needed. Taylor had already sent his project for the day, so I dragged him back to the Motherlode with me, and after a few misfires on the low crux, took down "Katie Brown". I asked around and consulted 8a.nu, but the shortest wingspan I can find who has sent is at 5'11" (Daniel Woods and Zac Sands). I'm at 5'8", and can honestly say that it felt closer to 13d than the given 13b, and one of the most satisfying lines I've completed.
After "Katie Brown", I moved on to a pair of easy 13c's, "Buttercup" and "Silky Smooth". Both powerful, but very different... one more about slopers and pinches, and one nearly all crimps. Both came suprisingly fast, as well as a classic Red River 13b, "Table of Colors Direct", which put up barely a fight after the success on the others.
|Supercharger. Photo by Anne Skidmore.|
Looking forward to the autumn, when the air cools off and dries out, the leaves begin to change, and I can stare down the final cruxes of a grade that once seemed mythologically impossible.
|Little Taylor's first gear fall.|