Thursday, March 18, 2010

Castle Rock, NZ

Tricky photography makes it look like I'm way up in the air when I'm not.

Brian took us to the Port Hills to climb at a spot called Castle Rock.

As my two weeks of nothing came to a close, I finally started doing instead of not doing. I'm not sure I could have held out much longer. I had just about as much nothing as I could handle. On of my first great trips was up to the Port Hills very own Castle Rock. Who knew that I'd take a five hour plane ride and be visiting a land mark with the same name as one we had just five miles away from where we lived in Antarctica.

Sparky climbs with the beach in the background.

I'm always happy to go climbing with friends, but I never initiate it. Every time that I go, I have to relearn all the harness checks and knots. Luckily, Brian and Sparky are climbers. Brian is a ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and Sparky used to teach. They are both brilliant and super patient. They had all the gear and the hunger to go. Annie and I were both just along for the ride, but we both went climbed. It was a brilliant day. Maybe 70F and sunny with a gentle breeze and amazing view of the beaches and city center below. We even had a cave to hide in when the sun got to be too much. Brian did the lead climb and they we each took turns roping up on his route. I think I went up two, maybe three times, and I was beat. I am always amazed how many muscles that climbing uses that I just never use. I know they say the best climbing is about core strength and using your feet, but my arms come away aching no matter how much I use my feet.

Brian took us to the Port Hills to climb at a spot called Castle Rock.

Brian's last climb of the day was brilliant. It was straight out of a climbing video! Sparky was on belay and I was spotting him because he was almost upside down climbing up and over the roof and lip of a cave. I don't have any pictures because I was spotting him and then just dumb struck as he grunted and crawled right up and over the lip. Simply amazing.

Brian gets ready for his final unbelievable climb that I was apparently too awed at to take any pictures of.

One of the most memorable parts of the day, other than Brian's ridiculous climb, was getting back down to the beach. We had borrowed Galit's sick car and it was having a flare up on the way down. Whenever it would idle too low, it would stall. It was an automatic and we were going down steep hills and curves, so I wasn't hitting the gas at all. After two or three stall outs on the way down, I was driving with two feet. One was on the break to slow us down. The other one was on the gas to make sure we didn't idle too low. It was definitely a challenge. After dropping them off in Sumner, I got to play that game all the way back to city center in rush hour traffic. Wheee!!

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