Friday, November 14, 2008

Alabama Hills Shootout

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Trip Report - Alabama Hills ShootoutLone Pine, California
October 24-26, 2008

Eric climbing a 5.6

Kenneth met us early in the morning so we could get going. The drive was beautiful and we made some nice stops along the way. We stopped in Bishop to eat some amazing Carl's Jr., and to pick up a gift for Nareg's birthday at Schat's Bakery. After a long but picturesque drive we ended up in Lone Pine, the home of the Alabama Hills.

Our first route of the morning

The Alabama hills are a historical site where many films and TV shows have been filmed. It looks like a scene from space with red volcanic rocks sprouting from every direction and Mt. Whitney towering in the background. The Lone Ranger and Star Trek VII were both filmed there, and many people have enjoyed some really fun climbing. We rolled in and found Sara and Micah who had already found us some great sites. While waiting for everyone else to show up, we cracked some beers and sat around the fire ring. Friday was Traves' birthday so we had a cake and some balloons ready for him.

A beautiful view of the Alabama Hills

On Saturday morning we enjoyed some spray on pancakes and headed out to go climb. We found some great routes just off of Movie Flat road. The group started with a 5.6 climb called "Jackie's Rack", and Kenneth led it. This was a really fun crack climb with lots of great holds and places to jam. Sara, Candida, and Eric mock led this climb before moving on to some harder routes. Even Keeley got in on the action and climbed half way up the 5.6 on her first time ever rock climbing!

Kenneth leading a 5.6 crack

The next climb we tried to conquer was a 5.7 called the "Birthday Butt Crack". The crux was at the beginning of this climb and that made it super tricky. I fell off of it, but Candida was able to lead it and everyone else had a great time figuring out the hand cracks all the way to the top. Later in the afternoon, some of the gang headed over to another climb around the corner, and I led my first climb! It was a treacherous 5.3 sport climb that had a lot of smearing involved. It was fun, but still nerve racking to be leading anything for the first time.

Keely climbing "Jackie's Rack" and Kenneth climbing "Birthday Butt Crack"

That evening we headed back to camp and met up with Sean and Elisa. Eric, Kenneth, and I made yummy burgers, and then we all sat around the camp fire for the usual desert of s'mores and scotch. So good.

The night sky over our campsite

The next day after enjoying the rest of our spray-on pancakes, we gathered up the crew and headed to a climbing area just around the bend from where we climbed the previous day. We found a 5.7 and a 5.8 climb right next to each other, so Kenneth and Candida led them and set up a top rope. Eric and I found a 5.6 climb across from the others, so Eric decided to lead it. He got a little spooked towards the top, because the holds got slim and the rock was flaky. Sean finished leading it for him and we all climbed away. I had a great time on the 5.6, it was a lot of smearing with small painful holds, but I think it prepared me for some harder climbing.

Sean belaying Eric

The day came to an end for Eric, Kenneth, and myself because we had to travel almost 7 hours to get home. The rest of the people we were camping with ended meeting up with the others we left behind, and got in on some of the climbing action. There were some more first time climbers who joined in on the fun, and Sara lead a 5.7! I'm so sorry we missed that.

Candida on the left (5.7) and Kenneth on the right (5.8)

This trip was so fun, and I loved being in such a picturesque area. It was like being in an old western, or on another planet. The colors of the desert always blow my mind, and the rock there also gave us a little taste for what to expect in Joshua Tree. See everyone at Thanksgiving!

Having fun with shadows
Related Story:
  • Alabama Hills Mini-Movie (coming soon)

Photo Gallery:

Alabama Hills

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