Friday, October 17, 2008

Thumb & Needle, Prospect Mountain

I recently guided a group of young climbers up at the Thumb and Needle crags on Prospect Mountain in Estes Park. This area is especially suited for beginner and emerging climbers. The routes range between 5.3 on up to 5.11.

The short but steep trail approach is enough to quiet even the most loquacious youngsters – but that won’t last for long. Once they drop their packs and gear up, their chatter will swell into the air and focus on who’s going to climb all the way to the top.

Something young people tend to do more readily than adults, is work in teams. The kids broke out into small groups for ground school where we taught them how to properly put on their harnesses and helmets. We also taught them how to tie into the rope and safely belay and lower another climber.

Each student had the opportunity to climb a number of routes. All made it to the top of at least one climb. Most reached the top of several routes. Even kids who were obviously reluctant to be off the ground, gave their best effort to face the challenge square on.

One young climber marveled at how “cool” his climbing shoes were. He declared, “These have good “gription”! When I asked him what exactly “gription” meant, he said it meant that the shoes had great grip and friction. Grip + Friction = Gription. It was obvious more than one kid would include the word “gription” in their daily journal entry.

As the small teams of climbers cheered each other on, the day flew by quickly. Before we knew it, the time came to pack up and hike out. Another fun-filled day in the outdoors.

Have a great weekend all.