Going to college and “growing up” during that time in Lincoln, Nebraska is not an ideal location to learn how to rock climb. It’s flat, covered in corn, and you get really good at holding your breath while driving past the numerous cattle pens along I-80. While the people are the nicest and most caring people you will ever run across, the state does not provide for the mountain adventures soul. During college (early 2000’s) a devout group of flatland gym climbers sought out real rock anywhere they could find it but needed the right avenue to do so. Jon Cannon and Brian Wandzilak had been climbing at the unknown area of Shelf Road and suggested that it would be the perfect place to teach new climbers, camp, and share a common passion.
Jon and Brian were the experienced climbers of the group and all of us newbies had stars in our eyes when they would talk about their adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Shelf Road, and Garden of the Gods. I felt like I had finally found like minded people to share my deep rooted desire to be outside. These godfathers of the Nebraska climbing scene organized the first annual Shelf Road Climbing Trip, scheduled for April 2002. Myself, Jon, Brian, and a handful of other still close friends made our way to Shelf and 14 years later the tradition continues. Every April, no matter the weather, we converge on The Bank group site and make stories. Stories of the trek from Nebraska, broken bones, love connections, blizzards, and feats of strength.
This year is no different. With a modest turnout of 35 people here are the best stories from this year.