The Catslab

John had a nice 6 day off stretch and we were determined to make the most of it.  We had already camped and climbed and gone bowling but we really wanted to climb some more.  It turned out to be one of the best climbing days EVER!  We went to Catslab, a nice climbing area along highway 6 along Clear Creek.  It is a nice place for beginners as it has some easy going routes and a nice big base area to spread out in.  We've been here once before with the kids and knew it was an easy hike and had room for a pack and play.  Yes, we are gear nerds and look like we are moving in whenever we go climbing.  But what are you gonna do?  We have 5 people and a fur kid.

We packed the night before so that we could get an early start, afraid that the rock would be crowded like Devil's Head was.  We managed to get there by 9am.  That's pretty good for us!  There was no one on the wall so we set up our pack and play and spread out.  The kids had TONS of snacks so they never went hungry.  I packed toys, snacks, and her blankie for Chloe and she was happy as a lark the WHOLE time we were there.  She is such a good baby!!  We got her out a couple of times to walk around but for the most part, she hung out in that pack and play all day and even napped! We were there from 9am to about 3:30.

Aaron was so excited to climb.  And we fed off of that, encouraging him to go first.  John quickly got set up on an easy 5.4 that he knew the boys would successfully make it to the top of.  And he was right.  Aaron shot up that thing like it was nothing.  We want to get a bell or squeezy toy to put at the top of our climbs so the kids can make noise when they get to the top.  After Aaron, Bubs went.  He seemed a little more nervous that day but made it to the top as well.  I went up once on the top rope and then I gave lead climbing a go.  It was a great place to learn and practice.  John even taught me how to repel.

By this time a few other people had joined us on the wall.  It was time to move up to something a little more challenging.  So we went for Skimbleshanks - a route on the end that went up 104 ft.  That's taller than anything I've climbed yet.  The climbing gym peaks out at 60 feet.  John had to lead climb it to get set up.  It was very intimidating and he was a little nervous going up.  He did GREAT though and got it all set up.  Both boys made it about half way which was still pretty high!  Then it was my turn.  I was fine until I made it to this one spot with an overhang.  Instead of going straight over it, I went to the side and cheated a little.  Only my rope got stuck and I had to climb back down a little to get it unstuck.  That is where my mini panic attack happened!  I am fine climbing because I generally am looking up or at least right in front of me.  I feel safe and I know if I just don't look down (until I make it to the top!) that I will be just fine.  But in that moment I had to look down and figure out how to back track.  I just hung out there, hugging the rock - probably 85 feet up at least as I was very close to the top. I couldn't move for a few minutes.  John was hollering but I could barely hear him.  I knew I was 100% safe and I wouldn't fall even if I let go.  The worst I would do was swing a little and have to climb back up what I had just climbed.  It's such a mind game.  BUT, I overcame!  After collecting myself, I down climbed, loosened up the rope and made it to the top.  All 104 feet!  There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment.  Of not giving up even though it would be easy to do.  I made it down - still shaking but feeling stronger and braver than ever.

The kids did so great - and Cinder is an excellent "crag dog". She is turning out to be such a great dog for our family.  We had just an amazing day.  All of us.  It's going to be hard to top.  But I'm up for the challenge.