Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rhode Island Rocks

I've been enjoying my vacation home to RI this week, and have been able to take some time and check out a few areas I've been thinking about since the last time I was here. First was Weetamoo Woods, where I started climbing (self-belayed on a nylon rope with a prusik cord) and have done a tiny bit of bouldering. And by tiny bit I mean a tiny bit: four problems, only one over 10 feet. Though I've been there over 50 times to run, mountain bike, or just walk around, there was a corner of the small park that I had still not seen. Walking around this weekend, I spied a hint of stone a ways off the trail, and naturally followed up. While I didn't see anything worth writing about (so to speak; here I am...), I did see a couple things that I'll remember to come back to next time. It was also just fun to be goin' boulder-huntin' in the flatlands - Weetamoo's highest point is 140 feet above sea level, and with it being less than five miles from the ocean I never thought there would be more granite to find. I'm glad I was wrong!

3 Mediocre Rocks
Walking around the rocks was fun, but the real highlight of my weekend was climbing a new deep-water solo over the Atlantic Ocean on the uninhabited seagull-habitat of West Island, about half a mile offshore of Little Compton, RI. My parents have gotten into sea kyaking recently, and I spied this climb last summer during my first 'voyage' with them. This year, I brought my climbing shoes and chalk in a ziplock bag, and was motivated to at least give it the ole college try. However, when I paddled around to get a look at the cliff from the water, the climb looked too intimidating. It's thirty-something feet tall and slightly overhung, the start was covered in seaweed, and I couldn't see below the surface the rock extended. When we landed I left my climbing stuff in the boat. After walking over, scoping the climb from above, and seeing that I could traverse in to the base, I got super-psyched. I went and grabbed my shoes and excitedly assigned my mom the role of photographer.
West Island is The Southernmost Part of Eastern Rhode Island
Traversing In
Deciding Whether to Commit
The Crux (not that hard)
The View Towards Shore
The Approach

Doing this climb was the most fun that I have had in a while. I was pretty nervous at the start, and I wore my kyaking PFD in case I bailed into the ocean. The traverse was a bit nerve-wracking, but once I started up I definitely felt like I was "in the zone." The only time I've deep-water soloed before was five years ago at Heaven in Squamish. I think I have a better head for it now, and can enjoy the feel-like-you're-soloing-but-know-you-won't-actually-die feeling more fully. As soon as I have a bunch of cash and a bunch of time (sort of an oxymoron in the legal world), I think I'll head to Mallorca. For now, let's just say that I love Washington and Rhode Island.

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