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27 March 2004 La Honda Bike Ride, and 28 March 2004 Summit Rock Climbing

Well I think that I've recovered from last weekend's adventures. I was actually feeling pretty good on Sunday night when I went to sleep but man was I sore when Monday morning came around!

On Saturday Dave, I, Lisa, Bruce and Flynn got on our bikes and started towards the coast around 10:45am. Once at the top of Old La Honda we all pretty much felt that going all the way out to the coast and back might be just a little more than we wanted so we agreed to do the shortened loop out to the town of La Honda and back. With that decided we dropped down the back side of Old La Honda and started the long glide down to the bottom. The views out to the ocean and the weather were spectacular! The day was somewhat overcast and a bit cool and everything was Very Green over the entire ride. Just past the town of La Honda we turned left onto Pescadero Road and then left again onto Alpine Road to start the trip back up over Skyline. At this point we were all pretty glad that we'd elected to go for the shorter loop; 45 miles and ~3,000 feet of elevation gain seemed like a very sensible amount of biking, think you very much ... :-) But we made it up to the top and back down Page Mill in good shape. Back in Palo Alto we rewarded ourselves with a stop at Andele's for Mexican food and beer. It's the stopping that feels so good, don't you know ... :-)

But this was just the start of the weekend's events. We still had a rock climbing adventure to go on Sunday! Luckily Dave and I decided that he should try on the climbing harness I bought for him at REI. It turned out to be about six inches to small which wouldn't have done at all. But, they don't call it Return Everything, Inc. for nothing so a quick trip and an exchange later we had him properly outfitted and I bought an extra one as a "guest harness" for the people arriving without. (I also figured that I needed an extra harness to support my continuing efforts to introduce everyone I know to rock climbing.)

On Sunday morning Jun, Ralph, Rebecca and Dave met up at my house and we started the car caravan up to Summit Rock at 8:20am -- only five minutes late which is I think a new record for us ... :-) We got up to the Sanborn-Skyline County Park parking lot for Summit Rock almost exactly at 9am and were greeted with a very chilly 30mph wind coming over the ridge. Aaron joined us there and we headed down to our crag of the day.

At Summit Rock we climbed up the gully behind the rock to get on top and set the first top-rope anchors of the day. It's hard to over state how beautiful the view of the Valley was. The wind had cleared out all the haze and it felt like you could spread your arms and fly for miles. It was an absolutely perfect day. (I'm sure that Dave or Rebecca will post references to some of the pictures they took.)

I set about making my very first top-rope anchor. Jun vetted it with a few comments and I was quite pleased with myself (setting anchors is a Big Thing in rock climbing). I of course had to prove that it was safe by rappelling off to the base of the rock. :-)

By this point John [Grigsby] and Ryk had joined us, followed quickly by Ilya, Fred, Alan and Chris. Brian and Sean showed up a bit later and eventually we had 11 climbers going. A Very Large group. The good news is that we had three top ropes set up so there wasn't much waiting. And of course, what little waiting was necessary was completely offset by being out on such a fabulous day in the woods.

By the end of the day we'd set top-rope anchors for two more climbs for a total of five different climbs (though Jun was the only one who did the last crack climb, Tree Surgeon). Here's a list of all the climbs we got on along with image references from the slide show available at

    rating  name                              image #
    5.7     Wide Crack                              6
    5.9     Ribbed For Comfort                      5
    5.9     Double Cracks                       7 & 8
    5.8     U. Santa Clara Practice Climb #1    7 & 8
    5.9+    Tree Surgeon                           13

Note that the web site swaps the names on the USC Practice Climbs #1 and #2 from the naming given in the Skyline Boulevard Rock Climber's Guide. The web site labels the climb we did as "Santa Clara Univ PC#2.

We finally called it a day sometime around 5pm I think. Exhausted but happy we packed up and headed off for burgers and beer.

And now you know why I woke up yesterday morning more than a little sore ... :-)

I'm out of town the next two weekends so you'll have to arrange your own Play Dates for the first part of April. We'll resume our adventure on April 17th with something interesting. Jun is talking about wanting to do a camping/climbing trip out to Consumes River Gorge near Placerville. The 17th might be a bit early for that but we don't want it to get too late in the season or the heat will destroy us. I'll keep you posted! In the mean time, keep on playing!!

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