This is a really amazing area for climbing. The approach is nil, the climbing is tough, and the scenery is just gorgeous.
We left Phoenix for NM via Show Low on Friday night. Stopped in Show Low to do some "camping," -- i.e. staying the night at a childrens summer camp all bunked in the same big room. Not a bad way to spend a night! Took off the next morning after having breakfast at Mama Bear's (yum!) and got to the Tower I think before noon. In no time, we were headed for the rock walls and climbing. I started off on something tough up there.. don't remember the route, but it was overhung and seemed to be made purely of crimps. Nerves and lack of stamina got the best of me despite being on top rope, and I had to come down after taking a big swing away from the wall after unclipping a draw. That made it interesting for Janelle to top rope the same route since the lowest draw was now above the major overhang. She did very well on it nonetheless. I watched everyone else climb around on the Tower itself for a while, and later on got on Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel Wall), a nice little 5.8. That was all I was good for for the day. Camp that night was fun. We had a good fire going next to the sweet sound of live bluegrass guitar music. Camping in style!
Day two we headed into the shade. I mostly watched the others on their routes. The previous day I'd found a sweet spot up above the routes so I could catch some good pictures of people climbing while positioned somewhat above them. Headed up there for some pictures and then, with the insistence of Patrick and Janelle, traversed over on top of the Tower. I felt crazy for being up there so high, but it actually wasn't so bad! The views were nice too. Curtis eventually ran up there too, almost giving me a heart attack in the process. I came back over above the routes again just in time to catch Charlie anchoring in at the top of Jack's Beanstalk (Rapunzel Wall), about four feet from where I was standing. He and Amos offered to teach me to clean routes. I figured why not; this was probably the best place to do it as someone could stand up there and tell me what to do while I was anchored in. It worked out well, but my already-shot nerves got a shock again when Amos told me a true story about someone's harness failing on them while they were anchored. Not really what I like hearing while I'm so high above the ground, but I guess it's good to keep in mind to always stay cautious!
After two good days of climbing, we headed back out to Show Low, skipping dinner at any local places because we needed to stop off there anyway. By the time we got into town, most places were closed so we ate at this great local place called Denny's. It's probably been about 15 years since the last time I ate there. Don't know if it was just because I was tired and starving, but the food wasn't half bad! Nothing like pancakes for dinner.
Overall a great trip! Loved the people I was with and loved the area! I'll love the climbing a little more when I get better at it. Just gotta get better at those crimps!
Took a ton of pictures.. I'll get those posted sometime in July. Just wanted to get this all written down while it was still fresh in my mind.