Balanced Rock, 9.9.2012

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Marianne warming up on Watermarks (5.8)
Marianne warming up on Watermarks (5.8)

When gym climbers decide to make the leap to outdoor climbing, the result is always a ton of fun. Marianne convinced John to come out to the Lake from Chicago on Saturday, and we had a spot-on day of climbing, problem-solving, and even some basic anchor building in the sunshine of the Balanced Rock Wall.

John belays Marianne on Watermarks (5.8), Balanced Rock Wall
John belays Marianne on Watermarks (5.8), Balanced Rock Wall

Oftentimes, gym climbers get a rude awakening on the stiff routes at the Lake, but these two had little problem jumping on Watermarks (5.8) straight off. We continued on to Fear and Trembling (5.9), where the low crux provided lots of study and puzzling in advance of easier climbing up top. After trading a few runs there, we moved on to Watermarks Left (5.8) and Der Glotz (5.9), both nice climbs with good height and consistent interest.

Marianne high on Fear and Trembling (5.9)
Marianne high on Fear and Trembling (5.9)

As usual, I was psyched by the quality of my company. John and Marianne both have a wonderful attitude about the day, enjoying snacks, rest time, and conversation as much as the climbing. Both were exquisite conversationalists, and I learned about Greek myths, business acquisitions, Sperry Top-Siders, and the Chicago's River North neighborhood amongst other things, over the course of our day.

After a bunch of good climbing, John expressed interest in learning more about anchor work, so we wrapped up our day with a mini-session atop Watermarks, where good cracks and placement opportunities abound. It's fun when climbers are as interested in the technical side of climbing as the physical one, and I am happy to tailor any day toward mixing elements of both. All in all, I couldn't ask for a better day, and hope to continue getting out a lot this fall in the gorgeous weather.