Friday, October 26, 2012

The Enchanted Waste Land

I first heard about the Riverside Rock Quarry from Phil, a few years back, while I was still living in Colorado. I can't remember exactly what he said, but the mental picture I created was of a climbing crag surrounded by a barren wasteland filled with rusty abandon cars, soiled mattresses, broken T.V.s and buzzards flying around. I was also really hung up on the word 'quarry.'

After living at Sunrise Ranch, which was in close proximity to an active quarry, I pictured something like that. Something with excavators, dirt, rock... but also crossed with this image of the quarry that Fred Flintstone worked at. Those walls look climbable!

Not too far off, huh?

Anyway, we moved back to So Cal in July and shortly after that I got to experience the quarry first hand. I think we happened to listen to the Radiolab episode about under-dogs on the way there. I remember thinking that the Quarry was some kind of under-dog that just needed to be given a chance. And I was convinced that it couldn't be as bad as everyone was making it sound.

A new couch and mattress arrival at the Quarry

Welcome to the Quarry!

One of many exciting finds. Frostbitten Barbie.

Ok, so there is a fair amount of garbage. But after just one day of Quarry climbing, this sport crag moved high on my list of favorite climbing spots. It's relatively close, 10 minute approach, high volume of routes in a concentrated area, great friction and some of the best routes I have climbed. The movement isn't tweeky. The routes flow well.

Some of the negatives include, a fair amount of choss. Lots of glue, lots of bird-doo and birds, painfully hot during the summer... The warm-up routes are scarce... some manufactured holds and entire routes. But the whole PLACE is manufactured.

The Quarry was originally mined for it's limestone, sought after by a cement company is the 20's. They dynamited by drilling large flutes in the rock and dropping the TNT down, creating these column like scars in the rock. From my understanding, they basically mined all the limestone out and were left with a beautiful and enchanting granite rock face. It was even documented that the quarry workers dabbled in a little climbing themselves!

So who cares if there's a little glue here or a little chipping there? The ethic is different here from anywhere else I have been. And I am completely ok with it.

Here are a few pic's from today's outting

Clipping away, wanting to get straight to the business

Randy on World Below 12a

After climbing here in July, August and September, I couldn't imagine it ever being cold! Thankfully that day finally come

The World Below repeat. This is actually the first 5.12 I have ever tried on lead, and an onsite! A great line, definitely worth doing.

Streaker 12a - the longest route at the Quarry, I actually bailed off it at the 9th bolt, where there was already a bail biner, conveniently. I thought I was going to get to take it home with me since the route was going really well up to that point, then it turned relatively blank, slightly buldged out. The move was two thin crimps, as if you were trying to open an elevator door, a high foot and a dynamic move to a potentially good ledge. I felt it was more of a mental crux, I didn't even take a fall, just decided better luck next time.

Phil onsiting The World Below 12a

Enjoying the show from the sunshine, even though we only got in 2.5 climbs today, it was a high quality day. I'm looking forward to our trip out there on Tuesday morning.

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