This past weekend nine friends and myself headed out to the Jamestown Wildlife Management Area just outside of Batesville, Arkansas, to do a little rock climbing. Five of us camped on top of the bluffs Saturday night, enjoyed some gin, a little wine, amazing steaks and some campfire humor...
Me throwing the devil horns in the Jeep
Saturday morning we all arrived at the end of a long gravel road that took us past several camp spots where hunters were just returning from their morning hunts, and we were all a tad nervous about being out in the woods on opening weekend of modern rifle. We offloaded at 10:30 AM, hoisted our gear on to our backs (ropes, harnesses, etc) and jogged along a short trail to the bluffs where we would then hike down to the base to begin the real fun.
Part of our group hiking down to the base
We only had one lead climber among us at the time, Scott, so he set the first route for top-roping, then taught me how to lead climb on the route right next to it. Not so bad, I thought, and didn't take any falls. After that, while Scott was belaying a top rope climber, I had my friend John that rode up with me belay so I could lead climb a route. About three feet above the fourth bolt I peeled off the wall, on purpose, to see if he was paying attention.
He wasn't. I took a good 20 ft whip before he caught on and finally arrested my fall. I was lucky, and only had some minor scrapes, a bruised ass, and a seriously screwed up psyche after that. I went on to finish that route, set two more and did some top roping..with a different belayer, of course!
The route I took a fall on
Ron belaying his wife, Elaine (In their 60's)
Me at the top of my first lead climb
Scott's son Ronan hanging around