RRG November 23, 2007

Friday November 23, 2007 

Mike does a good job of outlining what has happened since we got back to the Red earlier this month. You can find that update out on
his website. Some highlights include

— Mike onsighting Swingline (8b/5.13d), his hardest onsight, yet

— hanging with Columbus-ite Kenny Barker watching Grandma’s Boy nearly every night and quoting lines from the movie non-stop during the days

kenny's whipper

— Kenny taking a huge whip on Kaleidoscope by falling at the jug at the chains while having skipped the clip at the last bolt (yowser!)

— Kenny avoiding the whip and sending Kaleidoscope!

— Audrey sending The Force

— Mike and Kenny bolting lines at Drive-by

— Mike giving me the opportunity for a first ascent of an extension to Head and Shoulders (11d), called Knees and Toes, which probably goes at 12b (I did it Thanksgiving day)

which brings me to today!

I was determined to have a real
Thanksgiving despite not being with close friends or family this
year. Kenny was instrumental in getting the arrangements locked
in. Linda of Lago Lindas was supportive and offered the café for
the night. Kenny, Mike and I shopped earlier in the week buying
nearly $180 worth of food. In the end, we used all of that food
and then some from our personal stock to complete the meal for
about 18 hungry adults. Kenny and Mike peeled and diced the
night before, helping to prep as much as we could to avoid doing
everything the day of. Thanksgiving day,thanksgiving we went out climbing
early, then Mike and Kenny went back to bolting while I began
the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. A group of campers at
Linda’s took the day off from climbing and were hanging around
the café so I had extra hands in the kitchen from time to time
to help bring everything together.
With the main meal only
30 minutes behind schedule, everything was ready by 7:30pm. We
set the buffet area and everyone enjoyed a sit down meal
together with the usual Turkey fare: turkey, stuffing, potatoes,
yams, vegetables, salad, rolls, and 3 pies (apple, pumpkin, and
sweet potato). After desert, we watched Grandma’s Boy, again.
Thanks to everyone at Linda’s who contributed or attended the
dinner. Linda was skeptical there wouldn’t be anyone around to
make the effort worthwhile and I was worried she might be right.
Without the attendance, I wouldn’t have had my thanksgiving

Today is cold but some people went out
climbing. I was pretty beat from all the work on Thanksgiving
and I needed to do laundry and start prepping for our departure
from the Red so I went into town today instead of climbing. We
don’t know exactly when we’ll be leaving the Red, but hopefully
it will be soon!

Tuesday November 6, 2007

After dropping Sean at the airport in Louisville, the four of us
(Mike, JJ, Marshal, and myself) toured the city a bit before
hitting the local climbing gym. First, we breakfasted at a
Waffle House near the hotel. We sat at the bar for the full
diner effect listening to tunes from the jukebox. After, we
visited Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. We
walked in at gate 17 and took a mini tour of one of the
sections, including the outdoor seating area up to the track.
From there, we went to the Mohammed Ali center where we browsed
the gift shop and some display books. Lastly, we toured the
Louisville Slugger museum. I bought bats with the Cleveland
Indians mascot on them for my nephews DJ and Jordan who are avid
players. The time neared 3pm when we left so we headed to the
climbing gym some 15 minutes away.

We climbed for the rest of the evening, playing a bouldering
game called ‘Chunky’ (a play on ‘PIG’). I was losing by one
letter and nearing the end of the game, my fingers were raw so I
called it quits before Mike and co. actually finished. After the
bouldering session, we got this idea to do some hang board
exercises followed by a campus session and pushups. We finished
with core and honestly, I was so relieved to have done some
training that I could hardly complain how sore I was despite the
pain some several days following. 🙂

After climbing, we hit up a local Chinese place and stuffed
ourselves on a 3 person meal that included soup, appetizer and
an entree (for 3). They brought out one of our dishes with
onions and the waiter took it back apologizing before we could
even say anything. To make up for his mistake, he brought us
cookies in addition to the fortune cookies you get at the end of
the meal. For 4 starving people, I couldn’t believe how much
food we had; and, we ate it all! Rolling ourselves back to the
Marshal passed out on the drive while JJ and I tried to watch
‘Gone in 60 seconds.’ Mike drove and I was impressed we didn’t
all fall into a coma for how full everyone was.

Returning to the Red was exciting. The weather boasted climbable
temperatures and was a welcoming change to the torrential
downpours we experienced the week before. Having not climbed in
over a week, I was sure I was going to have a hard time getting
back into it. Take into account the extreme training session we
did and I didn’t see a good climbing day until Tuesday, despite
climbing all 5 days before having to return to Louisville to
drop JJ and Marshal at the airport.

Friday we rested (everyone was sore from the workout the night
before). We did laundry in town and bought some food for the
coming week. I spent some time working on my website at our
favorite coffee shop (My time coffee). On our way out we stopped
for some tasty beverages to celebrate my birthday the following
night. Kenny and Julie made it down from Columbus along with
other climbing ‘locals’ from Tennessee.

Saturday was my birthday and Mike made blueberry crepes with
blueberry compote and whipped topping for breakfast. I got to
pick where to go to climb, but given the good weather and that
it was a weekend, it was no surprise how busy all of the cliffs
were. We went to Solar Collector but found ourselves in queues
for nearly every climb. The highlight of that cliff was that
Mark and Sierra (friends from Oregon) ended up there so we got
to spend some time with them. Since their arrival and with the
weather, we really hadn’t spent much quality time with them.
After Solar Collector, JJ and Marshal went off to try
‘Golden Boy’ while Mike and I went off to the Dark Side
for me to try ‘The Force.’

Like I stated earlier, climbing was pretty pathetic for me for
the first 3 days so ‘The Force’ didn’t go as well as I had
hoped. I barely made the move I was working on at the stone and
with all of the frustration in me, I

audrey bday cake
it a day after my initial go. we hiked out and back to camp. By
this point, I was eager for dinner and the campfire. Mike made
pork chops and asparagus and we had a delightful Rioja to share.
The campfire was warm and many of my friends came by and joined
us. Marshal and JJ decorated my
cake, writing ‘Dominating Audrey’ on it. 🙂 You could hardly
read thesierra ‘Dominating’ but it was thoughtful and fun to decipher.
I opened the Moscato and enjoyed some sweet wine to finish the
evening for myself. As for Birthday gifts, well, Linda of Lago
Linda came by with a card and some shampoo, Mike bought me a
really nice camera and some booties (which I love!) and Sierra
bought me a really nice Prana tank top. I had a wonderful
birthday, thanks everyone!

Sunday I was a bit hung over but I went out climbing, anyway. I
did a few pitches at Drive by before calling it a day.
Julie was there attempting to flash ‘check your grip.’ She was
sooo very close to getting through the crux before the run out
spooked her enough to downclimb the crux and with her shins at
the bolt, quiver and squeek ‘I’m going to fall!’ it was cute, 🙂
Kenny left a little slack out but she didn’t whip. She came
down, shook it off and after a bit of rest, went back up and
this time, without hesitating, walked to the chains! way to go

Monday I was the only one climbing. Marshal claimed interest but
after an initial warm up climb opted out of climbing for the
rest of the day. I went back to Solar Collector, which
once again proved to be a good choice. We ran into another
friend of ours, Alaskan Bruce, who is also visiting here at the
Red. Draws were on a few climbs so I offered to clean them all
to speed up the warm up process. It worked out perfectly and I
felt really good. I was surprised, however, to find ‘The Force’
feeling so difficult given the warmup.  I made my way to my
crux and worked that move, nailing it 50% of the time. I finally
and for the first time went to the chains. I gave it one
redpoint burn were I fell at my crux (it felt so desperate!) and
then we packed up and headed back. This was definitely not my
strongest showing on the climb so I wasn’t completely put off. I
hope I get another chance to get on it before it’s too cold to
climb there!

Tuesday I went out with Bruce, Mark, Sierra and Becka to Midnight Surf, a newly developed area that I’d never seen
before. I was really intimidated by the pictures in the book.
The climbs looked really steep and the moves looked BIG. I’m
still learning how to climb steep stuff and I suck at dynamic,
big moves. We warmed up at the end of Boneyard then
climbed one of the three 11’s that stand alone between Boneyard and
Midnight Surf. We opted on the
leftmost one, which I found to be really, really good. The climb
just builds on itself with some interesting movements and a
sustained finish. Sierra’s knee had been bothering her so she
hadn’t been climbing too much, but this day she climbed all 3
climbs we warmed up on, then 2 more out at Indy wall.
At the Midnight Surf, there is a 5-star classic 12b
called ‘Iniquity.’ I looked it over and saw a nice boulder
problem start (it’s supposed to be one of the cruxes) and some
big moves near the top that concerned me. Unlike ‘Cell block
six,’ there were no draws on ‘Iniquity’ so I had to commit to
placing the gear. I managed the boulder problem smoothly and
hoped I wouldn’t have to test myself on it again as I headed up
into my first set of big moves. When I got to the ramp, I wasn’t
really tired or pumped but I sat there hoping to get whatever
energy I had spent, back. As I made my way past the next set of
difficult moves, I found myself at the upper crux. I set up for
the first big move and fell short. Argh! I was kind of pumped
but not completely spent and perhaps it was hesitation, I’m not
sure, but I was bummed to miss the onsight. I set up for the
move from the dog, went to the chains and lowered. At least the
draws would be up for me for my second attempt. 🙂 I sent the
climb 2nd go.

Wednesday we were headed to Louisville but planned to climb that
day, too. We picked Muir valley, again, and fortunately we could
drive the van there. After packing, I opted out of the cliff the
guys wanted to climb and crashed another party of climbers from
Lago Linda’s. They were warming up at a crag called The
, which I had never climbed at before. The two lines
I climbed looked, read, and climbed so similarly to Upper
in The Blue Mountains. It was a bit nostalgic for
me and I had to smile as I remembered how fond I was of those
climbs. 🙂 From there, everyone went to Midnight Surf.
This was a pleasant turn of events for me because it gave me the
opportunity to get on ‘Cell Block Six,’ a 12c to the left of

At the ‘Surf, I put the draws on that left most 11 near
the trailhead as a warm up. Becka, who had TR’d the climb twice
the day before, was psyched to lead the climb this day. Our Lago
Linda neighbor, Rick, belayed me and I belayed him in turn then
still resting from the climb, I chose to stay and cheer on Becka.
If she sent it right then, it would be the easiest way to get my
gear back. 🙂 Becka walked the initial tricky sections and took
a good rest before the crux. She deadpointed for several moves
and each time you could see her stick them but her body would
sway away from the wall and for a brief moment we each held our
breath thinking she was off just as she would reel her body in
and re-set. Breathing a sigh of relief with her, we watched her
push to the top, even correcting the last sequence to the
chains. I went over to ‘Cell Block Six’ inspired by her efforts.
Good job, Becka!

To my surprise, despite the crowd that had moved into the area,
‘Cell Block Six’ was free for me to climb. I was a bit nervous
and I looked over the climb one more time before heading up,
hoping I would see a way through some sections that looked long
and dynamic. The climb went more smoothly than I thought it
would and I was pleased to have gotten the onsight. It was a
good way to finish the climbing week (and my 5th day on!) and
send me off for another long break of no climbing.

We drove the boys to Louisville as planned and had planned to
visit Kenny and Julie in Columbus, but had to be up in Ohio
earlier thTyler and Seanan
expected. We crashed in a hotel near the airport and early the
next morning, drove to Ohio. Cincinnati traffic nearly kept us
from attending the burial of my friend, Damian. The highway was
patrolled pretty heavily the whole way up, but somehow I made it
to the cemetery just in time! Here is a picture of his
legacy,Tyler, with his uncle Sean..

Ronnie and family
rest of the week flew by with errands and etc. Saturday, my
cousin, Veronica Grasse, got married. She is the 2nd of my
immediate family to wed and it’s been more than 8 years since
the 1st one. It was nice to see everyone under such happy
circumstances than the usual funerals that have occurred during
that time. I had a chance to visit with extended family and
cousins I haven’t had the chance to see often.

Sunday I recovered from the night before, being sure to visit my
grandmother’s church bake sale, which only happens on the first
sunday of the month. Ever since I can remember, a glass of juice
or a coffee has always been $.25. Bostelillos, tacos, enchilades,
etc have always been $1. My grandmother has always worked the
bake sale and if my grandfather was still alive, he’d be pouring
juice and coffee while socializing with fellow church men. Not a
lot has changed since those memories. Mike bought a juice, a
coffee and a roll for $.75 and 4 Bostelillos for $5. It’s
amazing the prices haven’t risen more!

After the bake sale, we went to retrieve Mike’s camera from my
aunt’s across town. He’d left it there during the break between
the ceremony and the reception; hence the lack of pictures post
ceremony. 😦 My dad’s birthday is the day before mine so I made
it over to his house to meet

audrey bday
fiance and wish him a happy birthday. Later, at my grandmother’s
request, we would celebrate my birthday at my sister’s with her
family, craig, my brother, my mother and my grandmother. My
brother’s oldest boys came by later and I learned how to play a
game called Guitar Hero. I wasn’t very good at it, but Mike
picked up on it quickly! After another late night hanging out
with my nephews, we finally crashed. My sister cooked a
wonderful breakfast for us the next morning and Mike and I
jetted for Kentucky.

The forecast looks frigid for the next few days and the day we
drove we drove right into the center of a major storm system.
Mike stopped the van hoping to catch a tornado, but nothing
happened. Today we climbed, despite blistering winds. Our friend
Kevin Wilkinson sent ‘Dirty Smelly Hippie,’ and we ran into a
couple (Ally and Raydon) who are from Ohio but whom we met in
Smith just before heading out on our trip east.

Thursday October 25, 2007

The week following the Petzl roc trip was really good. The
weather held up for the most part and some of the athletes moved
to Lago Lindas, which meant we chauffeured up to 8 people in our
little rental car. The energy was high and personally, I was
climbing strongest I’ve climbed in a long time. Then, I heard a
childhood friend of mine had passed away and I left for Ohio to
sort that all out. While at home, I met up with my brother and
another friend to watch the Nightmare before Christmas in 3-D.
It was awesome! The weekend went quickly, filled with
errands.damian and family
The memorial service hasn’t been decided, so I worked on getting
a collage made in time for it. I didn’t have a camera handy or I
would have taken a picture of it. Personally, I thought it came
out pretty good. The photo here is of Damian and his family,
about 3 years ago.

After returning to Kentucky, I found the weather to be crap. Not
just bad, but really, really bad. Rain was not just coming down,
it was torrential and never ending. As of today, it has been 1
week since I last climbed. Mike was braver than I and went out a
few times to check the conditions on what could be the best
places given the rain. Today, he and Sean made it out to The
Chocolate Factory to find it completely dry. Sean made some
earnest attempts on the right route, but time ran out and
currently, we are all staying dry in a hotel room in Louisville.
I needed this break. I was going crazy in the damp, cold with
all of my clothes getting soaked each time I walked to the
bathroom.  We lucked out last night and had the cafe open
for us to stay in. It wasn’t as cozy as the room we are in, now,
but it was nice to be indoors. I actually had to bring in a
change of clothes and hang my jeans to dry because they were so

Tomorrow, Sean leaves for Vancouver and JJ Mah and Marshal
German stay for a few more days. We are all here together and
tomorrow I hope to see the Kentucky Derby, maybe Mohammad Ali’s
center, and go to the local climbing gym. Maybe Friday will be a
better day for climbing at the Red.

Right now, the forecast for Saturday through next week looks
amazing! Woohoo!

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Climbing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s