Balanced Rock Area, 12.2.2012
The Sunday forecast was looking good all week, so we mobilized for an early Lake trip to accommodate other plans in the afternoon. A good rain fell Saturday night, and as we coasted the switchbacks into the South Shore it became clear everything was still soaked. But all you need is a little bit of a breeze at the Lake, and those cliffbands tend to dry up quickly, even if the trail itself is puddly-wet.
Balanced Rock area offered the combo of easy access and warm, southern-exposed rock we were looking for, so we strolled up the trail from the South Shore lot to see how dry the rock might be. Despite our 8:15 winter arrival (which I thought supremely early for December) we were greeted by climbers who already had ropes up when we got there. Impressive. Turns out these guys left Chicago at 3:45 AM to ensure they could get their lines for the day. A little crazy, but good on 'em. They were friendly and invited us to hang out, so we joined the party and soon had most of the wall strung up.
While morning fog kept hikers at bay, by noon the sun was out and people started showing up in droves. And of course everyone is psyched because they're hiking in t-shirts in December. Near the end of our climbing time, a couple local guys, John & Jeff, showed up at the crag saying they have climbed at the Lake every month since March 2011 in 50+ degree weather. Every month. Which is why I'm worried about our snow season, even if I'm enjoying the extended climbing time. I have been hearing Wisconsin is on track for it's warmest year ever... that isn't much fun in January OR July, so I'd just love it if we could dial things back a bit. But that probably involves a global effort, not just wishing thinking on my climbing blog, eh?