Exploring New Places

Swirley boulder

Saturday we were feeling a bit wiped out from climbing a lot, but the weather was gorgeous and the woods were calling. We decided to walk around a new area of CT that was rumored to have some bouldering potential to see if anything caught our interest. We found many things that caught our interest, and we are very compelled to return soon.

It is an interesting feeling crunching through snow, while also feeling almost unbearably hot at the same time. Though most of Connecticut is still blanketed in snow and ice, the weather has felt soothingly warm. We started out on a slippery snow covered trail, but veered off at any boulder sighting.

The first cluster of boulders we came across, left us slightly hopeful. One of the boulders had a beautiful line that just begs to be climbed. It was tall, flat, and clean. The climb would involve maneuvering up crystals and little pebble like features. The rock quality felt solid and indestructible. The rest of the boulders in this area were not climbs. Many were too small, completely covered in moss, or just too blocky even for a V0. One of the boulders, though not a substantial climb, did have a beautiful bright orange crystal that would make for a solid crimp or pinch.

Though there was only one climb in this area, it was fantastic enough to be worth coming back for. We continued on hoping to find more like it. The next cluster of boulders increased our excitement. The lines were not quite as remarkable as the first we saw, but they were much larger. We started to have more faith we would find boulders we were psyched to climb.

Then we saw what looked like cliff and began hiking downward. On this path, we came across progressively more striking boulders. We found a long, stunning crack that did have some chalk in what we imagine to be the start hold. It looked like others have attempted it, and possibly found it to be harder than it appeared. We saw several boulders together that each had interesting climb potential with spicy looking top outs. The holds were minimal, but the pebbly texture of the rock provides opportunity to power up with clever technique and well thought out positioning.

rock 2

Then we found a truly spectacular boulder just a little further. Josh believes this will be the best climb in the northeast, because it had features like he has not seen before in this area. In fact, it reminded us of climbs in the Buttermilks of Bishop, CA. You would start on a large jug with poor feet, do a dynamic move upward to a small crimp, and work your way up to a tricky top out. We are very excited to bring some crash pads down to this one.

We continued to find boulders that may or may not actually end up being climbs. If they do, they will likely be hard climbs. The rock is photogenic; made of swirls of dark gray and light gray with hues of pink. We saw a long pure looking arete, some perfect compression routes, and almost blank faces. The more we hiked in, the more and more boulders we saw. We soon realized the area was covered and there was a potential for hundreds of routes.

The sun was starting to lower, the temperature was slowly dropping, our socks and boots were thoroughly soaked through with water and snow. We had no idea where we were anymore from veering far off the trail. We weren’t worried, but rather aware it was getting time to find the trail again. What we were not aware of was how worn out we were. What we thought was just a little bit of time, just a little off course, turned into hours. We had been hiking, scrambling, and wandering around for most of the day. We were dehydrated, sleepy, and struggling to climb uphill to the car. Despite all the fatigue, we were still filled with wonder and planning our next visit to actually climb!

arete

When exploring new areas or going off the trail, it almost feels like being in another world. There are all these spectacular sights to see, and one’s creativity can run wild with all the undiscovered, or seemingly undiscovered land. It seems like there are endless opportunities, and it is refreshing to look at things completely from your perspective of what is or is not interesting or worth doing. A lot of times when people go to an area that is developed with the intent of climbing, they have guide books, they have climbs mapped out, they look at ratings and the amount of stars, whether something is classic or a bomb, etc. This all makes sense to do, but there is something so inspiring about occasionally not knowing.

One time at the Red River Gorge, we went off the trail and had a similar experience. We were beyond excited about the stunning features, fun climbs, and intriguing areas we saw. In the end, we discovered a great deal of it was discovered and in the guide book, we just found a different way to get to it. It didn’t matter. While the mystery of it had vanished, we still had a greater perspective of what we actually wanted to climb and were able to go back to it with a better sense of where it was.

Climbing outside is unbeatable because it fuels our natural born desires to explore, to see new things, and to feel like we are a part of something much different from the normal day to day of society. It allows us to connect with nature and relax. Exploring outside seems to amplify the outdoor experience. We understand somewhere in ourselves that other people have walked those same paths and saw the same things before, but there is this personal connection with it regardless.

There may have been other people who have seen these boulders and wished to climb them. In fact, these boulders may have even been climbed by people before. As mentioned earlier, we did see some chalk periodically. Still we are refreshed with the energy of finding something special and highly interesting to us personally. We long to venture back soon.

waterfall

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