Climbing at Railroad Amphitheater, 6.4.2012

Seth Berger happily past the  intimidating crux of Pine Tree Step-Across (5.6)
Seth Berger happily past the intimidating crux of Pine Tree Step-Across (5.6)

Met up with Gokul, Seth, and Justin from the Hoofer Outing Club for a short day of climbing at Railroad Amphitheater. Railroad's bluff-bottom location midway up the eastern shore provides wonderful morning shade, which I personally appreciated very much, until we lost it around noon. Even then, it was a perfect-weather day, and my only regret was not bringing my swimming trunks to join the crazy kids jumping in nearby. The talus slope along the tracks goes all the way to the lake, making for great swimming alternatives to the crowded north and south shore beaches on the weekends.

We set up one line on Pine Tree Step-Across (5.6), which doubled up with Pine Tree Dihederal (5.5), and another rope on the Cantenary Crack (5.9)/The Pillar (5.6) combo. Step-Across is a decent climb with a heady namesake crux move about 2/3 of the way up, where climbers have to step out WAY further left than is comfortable on a high-angle slab with zero handholds. It sort of feels like stepping into certain doom - can my legs really reach that far? - but afterwards, you realize your head was just messing with you. It was Cantenary Crack that gave us the real trouble, with a long, low crux that keeps you guessing - and draining your energy - way longer than is reasonable. But of course, it was a ton of fun, and made me want to get into much better shape.