The Key to 5.10b??

nature, Outdoors, outside

So yesterday our gang woke up in SLC after staying the night in a friend’s house. Before we went south to Maple Canyon though, I insisted we stop by the huge Whole Foods down the the street, and Eli pushed for REI.

Per usual, I shopped by going down every aisle, and Zach acted as my basket, trailing in the electronic scooter-esque machine (trying to save his ankle). For context, Zach and I have maintained a relatively healthy diet on this trip by always buying the product with the least amount of sugar, eating vegan, eating tons of vegetables, and, I at least, have refused to eat any sort of candy or high sugar item. However, Whole Foods has a special place in my heart because I have an obsession with a lot of their vegan products you can’t get anywhere else.Thus as we walked through the cereal aisle, I began to crack. First I saw my favorite 365 brand cereal which amounts to organic and better tasting peanut butter cocoa puffs. Then I had to get chocolate almond milk, and the Unreal brand peanut butter cups that surpass Reese’s– even if you’re not vegan. But it really all fell apart when we came to the ice cream aisle. They had flavors of Nadamoo that I had never seen at home, and I needed to try them so I could report back to all my obsessed friends at home. Then Zach wanted the vegan Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, and Eli and Madi picked out Half Baked. But because I started to bicker with Eli about buying anything that wasn’t vegan, we there talking ice cream for a few minutes  when a Whole Foods employee came along and gave us four coupons for free Arctic Zero ice cream. So it ended up that four people walked out with seven pints of ice cream and no fridge…

I finished my pint of Nadamoo with relative ease, and Eli and Madi struggled to finish their shared pint of Half Baked because they are allergic to lactose (… Why didn’t they get vegan ice cream??) And Zach, well, he was going in on three pints total. He started with the Arctic Zero ice cream which ended up tasting like ice and dirt that was 115 calories per pint. After finishing my pint, I was forced to start eating the unexpectedly worst Arctic Ice flavor of Peanut Butter Cup, and I was not feeling good. Then a homeless person walked by, and I gave him a pint, but we still had six. With Zach somehow cruising through three, three were up to Eli, Madi, and I. But of course, because they were feeling sick (get vegan ice cream?) they couldn’t each finish a pint, so there Eli, Madi, and I were passing around the most disgusting ice cream ever. Madi ended up having to lie down after I force fed her bite, and Eli went in at the end taking the whole chunk of ice from the bottom of the pint and biting into it.

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During those final bites.

Anyway, we broke our diet.

Then after our stop to REI, I felt light headed and thought that going to Del Taco in this time of hardship would help. After a 8 layer Veggie my condition stabilized somewhat, but then we broke out the Cocoa Puffs and chocolate almond milk in the car. Anyway, once we found free camping outside of Maple Canyon, UT, we all called for a siesta. But after I got my sleeping set up ready (a sleeping pad and bag on the ground), I decided the only way to redeem this day in my mind was to push my climbing grade from 10a to 10b. So I found a wall called School Room that only had a three minute approach, and dragged Zach along to be my belayer. I climbed two 5.7s and a 5.8 and then decided it was go time. Maple Canyon, for those of you unfamiliar, is conglomerate rock which as the the guidebook says, “is a chaos of water-worn cobbles, some as small as cherries others as big as a Volkswagen bug, cemented in a matrix of petrified sand and mud”… It’s scary-looking to climb.

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Photo of Maple Canyon from Don Clark

Nonetheless, the 5.10b called Big Kahuna was short and overhanging. Before I climbed, Zach made me look at the rock and plan every move I could see, eventually creating a memorized sequence of movements up the wall. Then it began, I breathed deeply and sped through the part of the wall I had been able to plan for. But where I had expected to rest and figure out the crux-bulge on this protruding torso-size rock, I couldn’t. The rock turned out to be out slick and awkward to hold.

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Big Kahuna, you can see the big “rest” hold in the center towards the top.

So I pushed on, and Zach yelled at me to move my feet up as I swung to okay holds. After some grunts of determination, and encouragement from Zach I was at the anchors breathing heavily. The day was redeemed.

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At the top!