Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Craggin’ at The Monastery

Recently, we climbed at the Monastery in Cedar Park. Many a climber has told a tale (or two) about the long winding approach. Yes, the legendary Monastery approach swirled in my brain. Could it really be as long and arduous as people describe? I was thinking…..probably not.

Taking a break from our back-to-back alpine days, we slept in and arrived around 9:30 am at the trailhead. And so our adventure began…..on a well worn trail. If you are a roadside crag-meister, then the approach will be epic. If you are an endurance athlete, like my climbing partner and I, then the approach is nothing more than an enjoyable jaunt up and down through a ravine and around some deadfall.

Once in at the rocks, you’ll see the magic of this area. There are large tilted fin-like stones loaded with bolts. Take a moment to look more closely and you’ll see thousands of crystals along with swoopy crystal-cluster-chunks protruding from the stone.

These sharp virginal-white surfaces will surprise you in the middle of a pitch. One minute you’re pinching micro-crystals and then the next you’re ready to put your helmet into a crystal-cave-alcove.

At this crag there’s something for everyone. The Outer Gates offer great warm-ups such as Going to the Chapel 5.8-, Monastic Groove 5.8, Simplexity 5.9+, and Southern Hospitality 5.10a.

We climbed most of the day until the late afternoon rains blew in. Would the hike out be longer? Nope. Going out was faster than coming in even with the final elevation gain out of the ravine.

If you’re looking for some different stone, try the crystal-laden rock at The Monastery. Cheers, ~jilly