Big air for the Flying Squirrel at Enchanted Rock, Texas
It was mid November at the 18th Annual Granite Gripper Climbing Competition at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (aka ERock) and, as is common in Texas, it was hot and sunny. I had just spent the day sucking, my scorecard remaining devoid of the pointage I'd been hoping for. Noticing that it was just a few minutes to the scorecard turn-in time I told Trevor that we should swing by the Split Rocks where I could nab at least one problem I knew I had dialed.
Hard Point is an ERock classic and involves really just one hard deadpoint to a reasonable crimp. I quickly did the hard bit of climbing and though typically I would perform the customary practice of topping out the remaining 20 feet of “V0- - -“ to the top of the boulder, time was burning away and the judges were hardballin' the turn-in time. The only downclimb is to reverse Hard Point, so to save time I figured it'd be faster to just jump from the finishing ledge instead of trying the reversal, which is awkward. Besides, I'd had the sense to wear lycra swimming trunks and aviators, phew... I knew they’d come in handy at some point that day. (Lycra, other than being eye-popping candy for everyone, is also incredibly comfortable but turns out to also like grabbing to the pointy crystals present at ERock. I pretty much stick to bustin out the Lycra on limestone or when out swimming these days.)
As we were travelling light and fast for the competition, we only had my one pad. Trevor positioned it on the only flat and grassy surface around, which looked like a pretty reasonable jump-to spot. The landing zone was maybe 10 feet down and 10 feet out. It's pretty rare that one has the opportunity to actually land and roll on a pad outside like we're able to in a gym. It seemed like a great photo op so Trevor asked me to hold on a sec while he prepped the shot. "Alright dude, but we've gotta bust ass outta here... let's do this." On the count of three I jumped and nailed the pad I named Nube ("cloud" in Spanish... I tend to name everything I own) with an audible popping sound emanating from my bum ankle. A roll and a tumble finished off the otherwise soft landing. Ankle was fine. How could it not be? I landed on a freakin’ cloud of foam.
I surely didn't feel like I was pulling a WWF move on the uphill boulder as it appears in this photo, but now that I know what it's like... just might have to pounce an unsuspecting boy scout with this move. Trevor's timing was impeccable and the lighting was prime. Without that Mondo, who knows... I may have been just a few seconds late and would have been disqualified from turning in my 2nd-place scorecard. Pretty damn good day after all. Woot woot!