When somebody from Iceland asks if you want to go bouldering in the shade on a day with highs in the mid 40s, the correct answer is yes. Though more than a few excuses came to mind when Arnór (nickname Addi) floated the idea of a session at misty Castle Rock, the pull of actual stone outweighed any apprehension I had about my poor frozen toes. Escaping couch gravity for a day outside is almost always a good idea.
Castle Rock offers exactly the kind of climbing that makes me look like a soft, flabby noob with lunch lady arms. Giant slopers, friction heel hooks, compression – short, stout problems. I need practice.
The redeeming thing about cold weather is excellent friction. We spent the first part of the day at a fun and committing V5, one of the few tall lines at Castle. We then visited Static Reach (V8), a maddening slap problem over a bulge that feels impossible. Every time you fall, it’s directly on your side or back. After a while I was tired of getting beat up and was happy to let Addi try to work through the beta.
I’d been to Castle Rock twice before, but this was the first time primarily bouldering instead of roped climbing. The locals look at you a little funny if you head there to climb. Though there are some decent sport routes, and even a few trad lines, the high quality lines are almost all boulder problems.
The green and brown forest landscape dotted with spots of sun solving the canopy maze also makes Castle Rock a great place for hiking and getting out of the Bay Area pavement jungle. It’s nice to have something fun nearby for a day trip.
Thanks to Addi for an awesome day. It looks like I only have frostbite on my pinkie toes. They’re worthless anyway. A respite from crowded chalk clouds surrounding plastic for a day was well worth it.
Finally, for some quality laughs, meet Juanitas, my next door neighbor and new bestie. These days she’s clocking in around 10 kgs (that’s 570 in cat pounds). As you’ll see, she loves a good back scratch – pure ecstasy: