After a good’s night sleep from the previous day’s caving trip, my cousin Chris and his wife Holly, my brother Jonathan, and myself enjoyed a leisurely morning before starting the 3 hour trip to Sandrock.
We arrived at the crag at about 2 in the afternoon. After setting up camp, we geared up for a couple hours of climbing before dark. Other than a couple of people bouldering by the parking lot, we were the only climbers there that evening.
We climbed at a pretty leisurely pace, typically cycling through all four of us one route at a time. With this being the first time either Jonathan or I had done sport climbing outdoors, we got on a relatively straight-forward 5.9 to warm-up and get the feel for climbing on sandstone (which, I might add, is GREAT for climbing). We didn’t have any gear to set, as Chris climbed the route first and set the quickdraws, which we just left in the anchors until Holly climbed and cleaned the route last.
We got on two other routes that evening, the first being a higher (55 ft.) 5.9 right next to the route where the climbing scene from “Failure To Launch” was filmed. The other route was called Knob Wall, an exposed 5.6 with an incredible view of the valley and towns below.
We made our way back to the truck (in the dark), and back to camp for some dinner. Holly had made paella that morning, so all we had to do was heat it up. The evening was going well until Chris (not having heard Holly tell him where his bowl of paella was) sat down in his chair… and his paella. We all had a good laugh. After dinner we hiked back up to the crag and sat under the stars, watching the headlights from cars meander along the small country roads below.
We made our way back to the campsite with the thought of yummy smores in our heads, only to find out some animal had made off with all our chocolate. The trail of wrappers led straight into the woods. We followed the trail, and half expected to find a stiff raccoon with a chocolate covered snout. Having no sugar-filled treats for dessert, and feeling awfully tired from the many bowls of paella, we decided against bouldering by lantern and headed for bed.
We woke up the next morning and enjoyed some oatmeal and hot tea before heading to the crag for a full day of climbing. We didn’t break down camp, so we were back on the rock around 10:30.
One of the first routes we got on was a 5.8 or 5.9 (I forget) that Chris wanted to trad climb. The route itself had some great exposure at the beginning of the route as you worked around to the south-side of the face, and topped-out back around the north-side. We all took the opportunity to top-out and enjoy the view again.
Two of the best routes we got on at Sandrock were a couple of 5.10s that were both technical and a little pumpy. The first had a great move towards to the top that, while a gorilla may have been able to do it statically, we had the pleasure of doing dynamically (I have video of this, just need to get it into a web format). The second route was a 60 ft. 5.10 that I somehow managed to get through without any assist. This was probably my favorite route we climbed (of course, there are no photos of me climbing it, as I was the only person really taking photos!). This is Chris at the start of the first 5.10 we climbed:
While we were there, Holly’s parents met us at the crag with Brayden, Chris and Holly’s son whom her parents were baby sitting while we were out galavanting around the south east US. Brayden is 4 years old and already taking after his parents. He has been climbing for a year or so now, and had climbed at Sandrock once before. This time, completed a 35 ft. climb (with a little help from his Mother and a lot of encouragement from the rest of us), which I believe was the highest he had climbed to date. Even after slipping and hitting his face against the rock on his first attempt, he got back on and finished it up.
We finished up the day working a couple of bouldering problems up by the entrance. We did a couple of V0s (which felt a lot more difficult to me), before working a V3 that Chris was pretty excited about. It probably took me 10 tries before I figured out the trick to topping out that V3, and I could swear that would have been closer to a V5 at the gym. Funny how that works.
Sandrock in a great place to spend a few hours, or a few days, climbing. And since it offers bouldering, top-roping, lead climbing and trad, with difficulties from 5.4 to 5.13, there is something for everyone. I definitely want to go back sometime, and make a point to get on more routes. We only climbed a handful, and I believe there are over 100 routes mapped and bolted, ready for climbers to enjoy.
(Side note: I apologize for not remembering any names of the routes we climbed while at Sandrock. I should not have waited two weeks before writing my trip report. As a result, I can’t remember much, and I have gone on two other climbing trips since then which have only helped to muddy up the details!)