Same rack, different decade

Bernice is not feeling so great today, her eyes are getting her down and she’s developed sniffels, so decides to opt out of the “day out” planned and have a nice quiet rest day by herself.

So, with everybody else on board and the car packed, the crew sets off for the Pinnacles National Monument, the nearest spot for a bit of rock climbing, and where Ben wants his birthday party trip held.

The journey south takes about an hour and fifteen, so it’s not too long until we are at the car park and unpacking the boot. We head off to a wall that Dan & Angie know about where we can set up a top rope for Ben & Molly to try out their climbing skills. Apart from Dan getting us lost and a minor tiff amongst the kids over the equality of the way the gear has been distributed, we arrive without incident and have a spot of lunch before trying our hand at some routes.

The area is lovely, lots of volcanic rock walls dotted about with tons of bolted routes – although not so many bolts as to make it boring. It reminds Huw of some of the places we used to go with the Lancaster Uni Mountaineering Club. Dan sets up the first route with a top rope and it is great for Ben & Molly to have a go on and as it has a difficult top section, Dan ‘insists’ that Huw also has a quick go just as Ben decides he’d rather not.

Having conquered the first climb we move the rope over for something a bit more demanding for Dan and Huw to have a crack at. Proving that neither of them have lost their ability to faff about on the rock, it’s time to move to an area called The Sisters. This is a series of pinnacles above a little reservoir where there is another route that Molly can have a go at the bottom of, but that also offers Huw & Dan a nice 5.5 (HSish (hard severe) in UK climbing terms which means it’s not too hard!!) 3 star route (meaning it is a jolly nice climb).

Dan sets up a belay at the first stance and Molly shows once again that she has the potential to be a great climber. Once she is safely back down, Huw climbs up to the belay stance where Dan is sat, then Dan suggests that Huw takes all the gear and leads the second half of the climb.

The route, whilst not too hard, takes a bit of work to find the bolts as we didn’t really study the guide very well before setting off! And Huw is reminded of how small Dan’s rack (collection of climbing gear) is when he has to down climb to get a quick draw from a bolt below as he has doesn’t have enough left to finish the climb!!

Safely at the top the boys take a couple of photos before abseiling back down to the bottom and rejoining Angie, Ben and Molly who have gone to play by the reservoir. Following, a bit of boat building and a snack we head off to the car through a lovely rocky valley.

Back at the Waddington HQ, Bernice has a lovely pot of chilli waiting for everyone. She’s had a good day blogging, reading and skyping. After dinner there is time for bit of TV before bedtime.

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