For Jack’s birthday in December, we decided to spring for a guided outdoor climb. Pricey, but we figured worth it since all we had ever done was gym climbing. Unfortunately, the day of the climb turned out to be about 40 degrees and pouring rain. We FINALLY got the climb rescheduled for a day that looked like good weather….and oh, boy, did we luck out.
We hooked up with Alembic Outdoors to be our guides. One of the owners, Josh Whitson, manages at our home gym, Stone Summit. He’s an incredibly nice guy working hard to get his new venture off the ground. I can’t say enough good about Josh and Michael, our second guide. They were fun, encouraging, patient, enthusiastic and the kind of people I wish I could spend all my spare time with – true examples of why I love climbing so much. I couldn’t hand pick better role models for my kids.
We invited a bunch of Jack’s friends from the gym, but only one, Zander, was able to make it since spring break is going on for much of Atlanta this week. (Jack asked some of his school friends and while they were initially all intrigued with the idea, when he warned them it would be about 8 hours of climbing, they all politely declined! LOL). Fortunately, my Auxilliary Back-Up Son, Drew, who lives across the street we able to join us and we set out for Sandrock Alabama, (population 509) about two hours away.
The weather was perfect, just about 68 degrees and partly sunny. We brought the dog, the 4 kids, one of our gym moms, who is swiftly becoming a good friend, and lots of gatorade, food and a birthday cake. The kids were generally top roping, which means climbing routes with a rope looped through anchors bolted into the rock at the top and having a belayer below. Each climb took about 15-20 minutes and they ranged from about 45 feet to about 75 feet. Meredith and I each did a climb as well (Lars opted out due to relatively recent rotator cuff injury). Drew climbed several times and I can’t even guess how many routes Jack and Zander did.
The day could not have been better. Jack climbed until his feet were swollen (climbing shoes are very, very tight) and the skin was literally peeling off his fingers. He loved it and can’t wait to go again.
And to top off the night? He and Zander went to the gym for a lock in, where they climbed until about 2:30 am. Unbelievable.
Here are some choice photos from what can only be described as an epic day.