Trigger happiness and girls

WE MADE IT! The last three days were not at all what we were expecting. We didn’t expect a super long, muddy, icy road, and so that… wasn’t so great. Luckily the ride off the mountain (in a hurry today, to avoid the continuously melting snow that only lent more fury to the muddy mire) was shorter. The lurching and sliding as I gripped my seat reminded me of being on a tiny boat braving the stormy seas.

If I was teeny-tiny, I would live inside one of these and throw a party.

We also didn’t expect to meet an awesome, friendly group of climbers, and that was pretty great! I LOVE CLIMBING WITH GIRLS! And talking about non-climber related things (no offense brahs).

Sourpatch
Kelsey and Jordan are Sourpatch kids (bitter and then sweet).

The ice and snow were only minor nuisances for our climbing, but it created such magnificent sculptures! I went a bit trigger happy, as you can see… [warning: photo overload]

Reindeer-esque icicles.
The tinier things are, the cuter I seem to find them.
“I’m mellltttingg” cried the little eel.
Frozen in time.
Nature’s stained glass.
This little pebble is wearing a crinkly ice jacket to stay warm.

Okay, so besides adorable ice-related photos, there really is some valuable news to report. Drexel was ecstatic to finally visit the famous Fred’s Cave. It’s become a world-renowned destination for hard climbing. The rock quality is amazing, and it’s a beautiful cave. It’s been featured in Dosage 5 and since then has been a destination for many famous climbers. So for Drexel to stand, and even climb in this place, was a dream come true. There’s really nothing “easy” under here. I was able to send Unassisted Helicopter (v7). Drexel flashed it, as well as Blogger (v8), sent Campus Card II (v7), and got super epic before sending Buddy (v10). Finishing Buddy was a huge deal for Drexel, since it was his tenth v10 and it was the first v10 he had ever done in one session (AND of course because it was in Fred’s Cave). I’m super proud of my noodlehead!

Drexel soaking in the Fred’s Cave experience.
Campus Card II, a stout v7.

Yesterday we hiked to another section of Cowell known as the Invasion Area. Drexel and Patrick got on Ab Lounge (v10), and Drexel sent his eleventh v10. We watched them grunting from the nearby Electronica (v7/8). Everyone got super close, but the cruxy top-out and sketchy landing lowered the psyche. This morning, after a quiet campsite breakfast, the two of us hiked back down and I sent. It felt like quite an accomplishment, especially surviving the butt-scooting walk-off through moss and thorns. I fell on a tree a little bit, but survived with just a couple scratches, and a splinter in my thumb.

Good morning from our campsite.

From there, we moved on to Fountain Red (pronounced fontaine, with a sexy French accent). This area is a neat maze of boulders full of mysterious chalky spots. It was so nice and toasty in the sun, with just the right amount of cool once you slipped into a corridor or crouched under a roof. For the first time in ages, we got to work on our tans. Oh, have I mentioned that I LOVE CLIMBING WITH GIRLS!?

Olivia gliding through Better Eat Your Oatmeal (v5)
Jordan handling the awkward heely beginnings of Planet Earth (v6).

Looking back at our last three days, I know that I would love to return to Cowell to finish some unfinished climbs, but the sketchy road conditions will keep us at bay for the time being. This is such a beautiful place, both during the daytime and at night. Last night, the near-full moon guided us safely on the squishy mud road to meet up with our new friends and their campfire. It was sad to say goodbye so soon, but hopefully (ahem) we’ll get to climb together at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch once the snow fully melts. [Dear Snow – Please, for the love of god, please please melt. And take your yucky mud with you.]

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