Swimming big water is kind of like falling. If you don't anticipate the moment it's not so bad. One second you're tipping (death grip on the paddle), the next second you're gulping, the third second you remember to cup your mouth to keep the spray out. By the fifth second you’re struggling to figure out which way is upstream and which way is downstream. Then you’re out of the waves, bouncing downriver and you automatically start kicking to shore. ( Read more... )
To a climber that's all one has to say. The word implies good times, good fun - a vacation. To a non-climber how can I explain it? Cragging is when you go to a climbing area where all the climbs are an easy 5-10 minute walk from the car and the climbs are maximum 1 or 2 rope-lengths. Where you can easily find yourself in a terrifying situation 20 feet off the ground... but in 30 minutes you're back on the terra firma laughing at your antics that took place a few minutes ago. Cragging means you go to an area and set up your tent and cook a fine meal. At night you sit around a campfire, drink beer, chat with old friends and make new friends. The alarm goes off at 7am, you tank up on coffee and go climb hard for 8-10 hours. Then you wander back to camp, make another fine meal, stoke the fire and crack open a beer. Best results are obtained when you repeat for 5 days or more.
When I lived in Virginia I used to crag all the time. Most of my college years were spent at classic east coast crags: the New River Gorge, Seneca, Looking Glass, Red River Gorge. Any place from the far southwest corner of North Carolina to the far northwest corner of Kentucky might see our car roll in at 2am Friday night. We climbed hard all weekend and stumbled back to class on Monday morning tired, bloody, sore and full of stories. ( Read more... )