Two winters in a row now I've braved the crowds and hit the plastic during the wet pacific northwest winters. There is good value in maintaining your fitness and building strength during the off season, or even mid-season. Thanks to the gym I've been able to advance my lead climbing grades without having to drive 30 plus minutes to the crag 2 or 3 times a week. These days I might turn to the gym if I feel like my time frame isn't long enough. At one point my answer would inevitably have been, "Let's Rally!. Now, I might even tell myself "you'll get a better pump at the gym anyway."
|Guide Doug Foust follows "On Eagles Wings," at Mt. Erie.|
Of course this skill can't be learned any other way then getting on the stone and having a go at it. I also think there are a number of other benefits that outdoor cragging has to offer us. Decision making is one, you have to pick your cragging area appropriately so the group can all finish the day satisfied. You also have to make decisions about where to build anchors, how to build anchors, where to stand while belaying and even what to wear or eat for the day.
|Guide Doug Foust using a top-managed belay.|
|A climber enjoys some full body climbing.|
|My wife appreciating some cragging.|
--Tim Page, Southwest and Foreign Programs Coordinator