Arriving in late afternoon the group tackled a couple of routes and then headed for Skull Hollow Campground for ghost stories, burnt marshmallows, and pizza--after their Coleman stove refused to boil water for pasta. Swapping anecdotes around the campfire, students enjoyed the comraderie of a small group while alternately dodging the smoke monster and doing battle with the cold by squeezing HotHands warmers.
The following morning brought a light skiff of snow...or chunky rain, depending on your perspective. Spohn led a hike over Misery Ridge for a view of the distant Marsupial Group, a basalt canyon, irrigation canal, and the much photographed Monkey Face, a free-standing 350 foot pillar with some of the most challenging climbing routes in the world. The afternoon provided another opportunity to tackle Rope de Dope and 'Shamu,' a 5.9 1 pitch sport route.
Students had prepared for the trip by attending free climbing lessons (subsidized by Outdoor Club funds) conducted in the Eagle's Gym on campus (home to a modest climbing wall), and trips to the Stoneworks Climbing Gym. Safety precautions learned at the gym were implemented in the field, enhanced by the use of helmets. Students also practiced their knowledge of belaying, knot-tying, and wilderness ethics.
The four student participants look forward to future outdoor club outings and encourage others to join them. Be sure to check out the VCS Outdoor Club's Flickr photostream, which includes photos from the trip.