Rock Climbing at Castle Rock State Park

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Believe me, this was harder than it looks. And that’s not even me, it’s one of my badass friends.

I’ve been rock climbing for a little less than a year now, ever since my partner Andrey bought me rock climbing shoes for Christmas. And by rock climbing, I mean indoor rock climbing — safe and easy top-roping at our local Planet Granite. A couple friends of ours were rock climbing badasses and invited Andrey and I to Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains to try climbing outdoors. Unfortunately since these pics were taken before this blog was created, documentation is rather thin.

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We top-roped two walls after a minor hike off the main trail. First, I was wearing flip flops — I brought my climbing gear but of course you don’t want to run around in the climbing shoes when you’re not climbing. Bad idea — getting to the walls off the trail was extremely dirty and slippery without flip flops. Never again.

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You can barely see it, but we were right next to the tinest of tiny waterfalls. The first wall we climbed was just beyond this photo behind my friend, and the second wall is to the left.

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Again, looking at the photo, there looks to be so many awesome handholds and footholds that climbing the wall would be easy. Don’t be deceived!

The biggest difference between climbing inside vs. outside is that inside, it’s obvious what a good handhold is (since hey, it’s brightly colored and screwed to the wall.) Outside, there are a thousand difference choices and it’s hard to see (or feel) what’s best. The other difference is that inside, it’s easy to quit if the wall feels too hard. Here, it took so much time setting up that once you were on the wall, you had no turning back. So I felt compelled to try and try and try again and again and slowly but surely, inched my way up the wall to the top.

Rock Climbing - Castle Rock State Park

Here I am! And yes, of course, I am resting instead of climbing. But I totally made it up to the top! Eventually, very slowly, a snail would have probably beat me, etc.

(Also, see that platform? It’s kind fun/scary when hikers are up there looking down — judging you and your climbing.)`

Oh, I also rappelled for the first time! Fastest way to get down to the staging area after setting up the ropes. Easier than it looks, but I was nowhere as smooth as some of the action hero badasses.

Would I go outdoor rock climbing again? Hell yes. Ignoring the whole out-in-nature thing (which’ll win me over any time), outdoor rock climbing was so much more challenging and interesting than indoor climbing. The only issue is the major set up time involved, but as long as you’re with a group of awesome friends, you’re set.