Red Head vs. Hard Rock! (Climbing)
During Spring Break, James invited his school chum Aryn to go climbing, so the two kids, along with Dad and Aryn's mother Pam went off to Pilot Mountain. This was Aryn and Pam's first time on real rock.
We set up on a 5.6 climb called Goldilox just west of the descent gully. This is the climb James did the first time he visited Pilot Mountain so Dad figured it would be a good place to start.
Goldilox starts out with an easy climb to a low shelf, but then comes the crux, a confidence-testing lateral move to a small vertical crack system that provides handholds for the ascent up the face. Quite the stretch for 8-year-olds, and once they've made it, they have to tiptoe up the face trusting that their feet will stay stuck to some pretty small nubbins on the rock. Once they are 15 feet up, however, the rest of the climb is very easy.
James and Dad were impressed with Aryn's progress. She was tentative on her first attempt, but on the second one, she made it past the crux with a small assist from her belayer – it's amazing how much confidence a little upward tug from the rope will provide.
Once she'd done the route once, no more assistance was needed, and both kids spent the rest of the day blitzing the route, trying minor variations, practicing their “batman walking” down the face after each climb, and generally having fun.