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Jamestown Crag
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Jul 3, 2010, 6:04 AM
Post #1 of 3 (2891 views)

Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Posts: 5206

Jamestown Crag
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Some trip reports are describing epics either in the climbing or getting to the climbing and some trip reports are advertisements for a great, if lesser known, climbing area. Just so you don’t keep waiting for me to have a near death experience, I’m letting you know this is the latter and not the epic former.

My climbing resume is what it is. You don’t start climbing when you are over forty in one of the least climbing worthy cities in the US and expect to have a great resume. I am a n00b. Pure and simple. I’m letting you know this so that you don’t expect to hear me throw around route numbers like a new divorcee throws out her phone number.

Now that we have lowered expectations as appropriate for this trip report, let me start, where all of my climbing starts, with my wife. In our last trip to Blue Mounds State Park, she suffered the indignity of feeding me a sandwich while I was belaying our son. Yes, she was labeled the belay bitches’ bitch. But for this trip she was to be the belayer for my first outdoor lead. This role was in jeopardy when at our final dry run in the gym, we suffered a combined team melt down. I for my part forgot to clip into the first few bolts (whoops) and she forgot to keep her hand on the rope (whoops). Although there were no physical consequences, the combined mental meltdowns were enough to make us re-assess whether or not we would be going.

We agreed that we would go, but keep to setting a top rope, at least for the start. And go we did. The whole trip wasn’t about climbing; it was about visiting my in-laws. They live in Batesville Arkansas where many moons ago my wife graduated from high school. On our last trip to visit them, in the spring, my wife was thinking we should go to a place called “Bailey’s Pour Off” as a neat woodsy place. Upon kicking around, I found out that the area next to the pour off had some lines and been bolted, it was named “Jamestown” after the state wildlife management area (the land had been donated a few years back). So this area was to become our destination. And, my wife and I would leave the kids with their grandparents and let us go scout it out at our own pace.

We had borrowed the Arkansas Climbing book from the friends back in the gym and it had the directions to the crag that included “you may go around the orange gate…” When we got to the gate, I hopped out of the vehicle to relieve myself and my wife, in her “I did this as a teenager” way took the 4 wheel SUV, well, 4 wheeling around the gate. While standing a few feet away, I did heard a “crunch”, but all she had done was put a small scrape in front. Well, the SUV has officially gone from a family truckster to a worthy climbing vehicle. The road got worse and worse and we stopped the SUV and finished the small hike to the crag.

We took the “dog hike” down to the bottom to get a look around. We were instantly impressed. It is summer in Arkansas, and the temperatures have been around 100. I had wanted to get us off to climbing early so that when we got to the Jamestown, it would still be cool. But, being vacation, we didn’t leave as early as we wanted, so the day was heating up. Except the crag was cool. It was physically cooler than the rest of the area. Later in our morning, the sun did begin to hit the top of the wall and it was warmer up there, but for where we were and the time of year we were climbing in, you couldn’t ask for nicer conditions.

We did top rope the first two easy routes, and we were instantly impressed with the rock. While there was some dirt (and one mud dauber nest) in the pockets, the rock was mostly clean and solid with interesting formations. We got the feeling that we could climb some of the areas around the easy routes for a month or two and never do the same move sequence. We climbed the simplest two routes easily. So with our confidence now restored, the chance to lead was on. With a little walk and a little getting lost in a poison ivy patch, we found the route to climb.

And climb it I did. My wife did a spot on job on belay (as the slack was in and out as needed), and doing my best Elvis leg I was able to get to the top. Safely. My wife followed on top rope and I climbed the route once more on top rope (it was much easier the second time.) We hadn’t packed in enough water, but we had promised to call or be back by noon and our kid free time was coming to an end. I hauled the gear up and my wife freed the “route” to get out. Our outing at an end.

But we will be back, and the purpose of this TR is to recommend the Jamestown crag to other climbers. The pro’s: Lots of good climbs, we scratched the surface of the easy routes, but there were lines galore. It is quiet, we saw one other climbing group there that arrived later that day (it was a Sunday morning). While there is PI galore, the areas where the belayer is shaded and doesn’t tend to be covered in PI. Con’s: Middle of nowhere, a more famous crag in the state, dry county.

Would I say that you should take a trip to Arkansas just for this? Probably not. Well, if you live in a place like Omaha, yes, but for most others, no. But if you are within 2 hours or so of it, I would say it is worthy.

Oh, and the name of the route I lead: “The Amateur”


Jul 12, 2010, 10:34 PM
Post #2 of 3 (2808 views)

Registered: Oct 6, 2009
Posts: 740

Re: [Toast_in_the_Machine] Jamestown Crag [In reply to]
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Good trip report. The bit about the combined team melt-down made me laugh. Glad you got it together and had a good adventure.


Jul 12, 2010, 11:55 PM
Post #3 of 3 (2797 views)

Registered: Apr 3, 2010
Posts: 9

Re: [Toast_in_the_Machine] Jamestown Crag [In reply to]
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brave man... i would be scared to rock climb with some who "forgot to hold the rope" ...thats a quick trip to death if she forgets when you're 70 feet up, other than that, i would have loved to tryed out the crag when i was living in Lincoln... so flat there!

(This post was edited by threebenoits on Jul 12, 2010, 11:58 PM)

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