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Oct 13, 2003, 5:33 AM
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Registered: Apr 3, 2002
Posts: 4003

The Old Stomping Grounds
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Thursday morning at 3 AM, I find myself stumbling/slouching my way to my front door. I just finished a 14 hour shift, on the tale end of a 55+ hour week. I fumble my key in the lock open the door, open it up and step into the mostly dark house. Being that it is 3 AM Thursday morning, I assumed that it would be pitch black, however I notice light is coming from down the hall leading to the master bedroom.

I empty my pockets, take off my shoes, and fumble my way to the door.

"Aaron is that you?"


My wife is sitting up in bed with the light on low, and I can tell she is not happy. I ask her whats up, and it turns out she has a raging headache. We talk for a bit, and then she says, "Well you want to go to SoCal this weekend?" Ummm....kind of late notice, but it turns out Bren's grandpa isn't doing so well, and she wants to take the kids down for his bday party this weekend so he can see them before....

I agree, and am suprised when she says, "Since I can't sleep, we might as well load up the van and take off." So thats what we did. Completing that task, we turned our attention to our sleepy children and drag them out of bed, threw some clothes on them, and managed to get both in the car and all buckled up w/o either of them fully becoming conscious.

"You ok to drive?" Bren asks

"Doh!" I reply :)

8 hours later, we pull into Brenda's mom house. I barely make it in the door before finding the guest bed and passing out.

Thursday night at 9 PM I wake up....just in time to say hello before everyone else goes to sleep. Oh well! I turn on the computer and start updating the comp (Brenda's mom hsa no clue about these things). I DL the recent patches, install some new memory in her system, install a digital camera card reader, etc... Basically waste the night away sitting there looking at a "busy" screen. I read the latest Harry Potter in between clicks. I do manage to fire off an email to me friend Vince how recently moved to San Diego from Vacaville. I tell him I am down spur of the moment and wonder if he is game for climbing Saturday. The night ends somewhere around 5 AM when I finish one of the larger updates and can barely keep my eyes open.

Friday 2PM. I wake up to find no one home. LOL, I go through all that and everyone abandons me. *Sigh* the life of a graveyard worker :(

I get up, brew a pot of coffee, and check my email. Vince is game but he wants to go to NJC despite that it could be quite hot. Oh Well! I also realize that if I hurry I can make the 5.10 sale from 2-4 PM. I cruise down and notice Chris is behind the counter but he looks busy. I browse the bargain bins and find a pair of Zlippers in my size for $35 bucks in a "Demo Bucket" woot!! Rubber looks good, so I snag them. When I pay, I say Hello to Chris and inform him that I am "hopefully" getting out tomorrow (Sat) and he is welcome to come along. He says he is game and plans are set.

The rest of Friday is spent with the family and the Bday party. I find myself staring at the alarm clock at 2 AM before meeting Chris and Vince at 10 AM. I am annoyed I can't sleep despite being dog tired. I go grab 2 tylenol PM and wash them down with NyQuil. I barely make it back to bed before passing out.

9 AM rolls around and I am up. Not feeling too hot from the crazy sleep schedule, I get ready and start the long process of pretending to do something, walking to the front window to see if one of them are there (they're not) and walking back, repeat, rinse. I finally resign myself to finishing up the updates to Brenda's moms computer when Vince shows up.

We wait around till 10:30 and no Chris. Almost 11, no Chris. In my haziness from lack of sleep the day before I forgot to get Chris's number. I can't get ahold of him, I am not sure if he is coming, and Vince drove up from San Diego to go climbing and still needs to go all the way to NJC, climb, then drive back to San Diego. We decide to bail. I tell Brenda to tell Chris where and when we left and were going in case he shows (which of course he does, about 20 mins after we left) DOH!

We drive out to NJC and it is rather uneventful and the time is spent discussing the various SoCal climbing spots. Before too long we are @ NJC and I open the door expecting hot air, and am pleasantly surprsied with a nice cool breeze and damn near ambient temperature.

We hike around to show Vince some of the crags in the Raven Rocks areas, and there are quite a few people out there. I was suprised for that early in the season, but the temps were perfect. We end up deciding to try and stick to the shade as though the air temps are great, the sun can heat you up in a hurry.

We start on a short 5.9 called MJB which is in the shade. As I start up, I look back at Vince and see Chris walking up the trail. I feel guilty for bailing on him, but he made it and in plenty of time to get lots of climbing done! MJB is a short little number but a good reintroduction to the rock. It has been almost 4 years since I last climbed here. My how time flies!

After Vince & I do MJB, Chris joins us with his stuff and we check out one of the long 10bs (not) on the left side of Raven Rocks. The second route in from the right on the "semi-new" dirty section. Anyways, old topo I have shows 10b. I start up it. It has some steep pockets down low and I reach up to grab one and get.... a fist full of twigs. Closer inspection revealed no living thing, so it was dutifully cleaned out, and then sent up. The rock up high did not inspire confidence in its solidarity, but it is nothing I didn't know about NJC, just a strong reminder :)

After we all do the 10b (and agree its not 10b, probably 10c?) we move over to the Hidden Wall aka The Meat Locker. Vince saw it on the tour and wanted to jump on King of All Media 12a. I had previously done the route and told him it was a good choice, so he was psyched. Chris and I warmed up further on a new 10b down hill away from the main routes. Short and rather 1-move wonder'ish, it was fun none the less though a little contrived.

Vince jumped straight on King and looked strong going bolt to bolt. I spewed out the beta (at least of what I remembered) and he was quickly at the top (not a very tall wall). Chris also lead King and looked good on it. I jumped on Lets Kung Fu 12a (on my old topos). Start is fun steep jug hauling with big pulls between big holds, but things get REALLY nasty leaving the comfy jug. I try to figure out something sneaky and come up short from reaching the necessary holds. I stick clip up and figure to work the beta on the way down. From here on up the moves are fun and engaging. After clipping the anchors I come back down to the midway point and try the trickster section again. Still can't quite figure it out. As I lower an idea pops into my head...Left hand bump right, then UP :?: I resolve myself to get back on it and try out the possible new sequence.

Next up was Vince though, and looking strong he dispatches King on his 2nd go. Nice show! Chris decides to jump on Lets Kung Fu and tries the left hand bump works. Though not an RP, he also looks good on it. I give it a go after him and also do the left hand bump thus completing the moves, but I realize that going for an RP isn't going to yield anything other than frustration, I accept my 2 laps on it, and will save it for Turkey Day when I should be back down hopefully. Vince tries Kung Fu and comments on what were up till that point Chris and myself's comments that it felt pretty stiff for 12a. Vince agrees, Chris agrees, I agree 12b.

We move to the Roadside crag where the plan is to start on Propaganda 11a. I used to have this thing ruthless dialed and it was my warm up of choice. After a short bouldery start, easy fun jug hauling up a steep wall..... Not so anymore. From the glue left on the rock, and the absence of anything attached to it, it looks like this route has seen the majority of the holds in the upper section broke off :( These blank sections are easily enough avoided out left, but it really detracts from the quality of what used to be a great route. Maybe 11b now, and not nearly as good. Too bad!!! :( Both Chris and Vince get on it as well.

By the time we clean and lower off, it is suspiscously looking like its going to be dark soon! Vince has yet to see many of the formations let alone climb on them. We jump in the truck and head over to Predator Wall so he can at least see it. We also take a look at Travesty and Ride The Wild. Vince is impressed and psyched to get backout. On the way out Vince spots a HUGE black tarrantulla. Man it is the biggest one I have ever seen. We leave it alone to hunt for bugs.

By the time we get back to the truck, its totally dark. We scrap the plans to hike up to Lucerne Limestone on the drive back out, but figure there will always be another day! We stop at In and Out Burgers on the way home and load up on greasy fries and Animal Style Cheeseburgers.

I get home, waive later to Vince, and barely make it inside before crashing....again. Before I know it, we are back in the car and driving home. Once back in Vacaville, I type up this trip report....

...right before I crash again!

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