Friday, December 11, 2015

Oklahoma Climbers Gathering

Matt has been talking for years about how amazing the climbing in Oklahoma is.  I decided that it was time to find out if this claim had any backing.  I mean it's freaking Oklahoma!

The first stop was The Narrows in The Wichita Wildlife Reserve.  It was a humid day but Matt put me on the classics.  The highlight for me being a route called Arial Anticipation.  Arial Anticipation is out of character for the area, with steep, well protected climbing.  It was a nice mental break from the heady climbing we'd done during the day.  
Ben, Matt and Chase on top of Snakes Head. 
The next day the weather report forecasted rain, so we hung out in Starbucks in Lawton until it cleared then went for a jog up Mt. Scott.  On the third day we planned on cragging at Crab Eyes and Lost Dome.  After a few trad pitches in Testarossas at Crab Eyes and watching Tony Mayas rope solo everything at Lost Dome I was ready to call it a day.  Lost Dome looked to have some good climbing but unfortunately my stoke was low.

Next up we headed to a place called Quartz Mountain for the Bi-annual climbers gathering.  We arrived just before dusk and ran up Snakes Head, an easy 5th class free solo.  It was nice to move over some terrain quickly.  Snakes Head is hard enough to feel like climbing and easy enough to not worry about falling.
Ben on Wild Child
People trickled in all evening and by the time we woke the parking lot was packed.  Matt showed me a bunch of great runout slab routes which were mentally challenging but fun.  The highlight being a route called Last of the Good Guys.
Honestly, more than the climbing I was super impressed with the climbing community in Oklahoma.  Twice a year they have a climbing gathering where everyone gets together to party, hang out and climb.  Even though the climbing community is small and people are coming from everywhere from Kansas to Texas it appears as if everyone that climbs in OK knows each other.  Compare that to Durango where there is a more concentrated population of climbers but many of them don't know each other.  I've been climbing in Durango for 13 years and don't feel like I know all of the long time locals.  All in all I'm really  impressed with the stoke that Oklahoma climbers have for their local crags.  Big thanks to Matt for showing me around is old stomping grounds!
Matt and I cooking dinner.  Photo by Carl Zoch

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