My sister, brother-in-law, and a friend of ours all came up to visit from Raleigh this weekend. They had all come up this Spring for the Banff Film Festival and it was fun to have them all together again. Besides any time Carter's hero (Uncle Kevin) visits its's a big occasion. Despite the somewhat depressing reality of having to go back to work on Friday after a very enjoyable Summer break, we quickly rallied with a great evening out at Valle Crucis Park with a large group of our friends for some grillin' and good music. We got home just in time to beat our guests arriving from the scorching piedmont.
Saturday morning Kevin (brother-in-law), Bill, and I headed up to Ship Rock by way of Bojangles of course. The morning was cool and surprisingly windy as we walked the parkway to the climbers trail. We were the first ones up on the cliff apparently and had our pick of routes. We settled in on the upper tier for a windy jaunt on Edge of a Dream (5.7). As I got out to the edge of the arete the gusts were buffeting me just a bit. It definitely woke me up and got the blood pumping as I placed a couple of extra pieces of bomber gear before turning the corner. I remember thinking if it stays this windy I'm not sure I'm up for Boardwalk. Shortly after getting there another group started setting up on Lost at Sea (5.8) right next to us. We took a few runs on Edge then packed up and headed down to Buffalo Nickel (5.7). This was Kevin's first and Bill's second multi pitch experience. By then the wind had died down but I still wasn't feeling up to Boardwalk. So we enjoyed ourselves on B.N. It's a great climb for a first multi-pitch outing. The belay is bolted and has a decent ledgy stance. It's a real do-able climb with some fun exposed moves alternating into a dihedral that makes you not feel so far off the ground. The summit is gained through a small cave that's blocky and fun. It's always nice to share an adventure with good friends. Bill and Kevin took everything in stride. We did fairly well with rope management and I was doing my best to display good multi-pitch practices. As we were topping out though the weather started looking pretty iffy. There was grumbling thunder behind Grandfather and a passing cloud started to spit a little rain on us. We weren't really able to savor the summit in favor a a hasty but still safe descent to get out of the elements. The double rope rap to the ground was uneventful save that it was only Kevin's second rappel. We had made him rappel off Edge of a Dream earlier so he would be ready for the big one. He did great and seemed to enjoy the whole show. The grumbing thunder was a bit of a false alarm as the clouds blew past and we were soon under bluebird skies. But, time was flying by so after a quick tour of the upper routes we hoofed it out and back home stopping only to pick up some Mellow Mushroom Pizzas to share at home. (Thanks again Bill).
This morning after a big breakfast Bill, Kevin, and I headed up to the crag below our neighbors house. I've been wanting to get on this for over two years and today was finally the day. We set up the ropes and I rappeled in while Kevin and Bill hiked down. Our first tr set-up was a little to the side of the main route but we worked the route below our rope line. It was pumpy but had decent holds and Kevin and I were able to top it out. Then I shifted the anchor and we all got spanked on the very steep and extremely pumpy main route. We made the short hike back to the house a little humbled to find that my saint of a wife and my sister had lunch all spread out for us. Shortly after lunch the guests hit the road back to steamy Raleigh. Amy and the kids and I went for a short hike up on the loop and on our way back collected enough blackberries for a small cobbler. All in all a stellar weekend to savor the blessings of living in Boone.
Bill climbing up to the first belay on Buffalo Nickel.
Bill at the first belay.
Bill and Kevin at the first belay.
Kevin rapping from the top.