My local crag (area where I go to climb) is two and a half hours away from my house in Denton, Texas. To me, this is close. It definitely beats the four-hour drive to Austin to climb. I often make day trips out here to get in a full day of climbing. We will usually leave my house around 7 a.m. (since the gates to the climbing areas don’t even open until 9 a.m.) and arrive around 9:30 a.m. We will climb until it gets dark or we just tire out from pulling hard.
Yesterday my friend John and I headed out to the Wichita Mountains in South West Oklahoma to get some training in for our trip to Colorado. We only got about four climbs in, but it was well worth it. We climbed the classic Dihedral (5.7) then top-roped Crazy Alice (5.8) and Aerosmith, a spicy two pitch 5.8 climb that rewards you with a stellar view from the top of Leaning Tower along Cache Creek. From up here one would never think you were in Oklahoma. After that we hiked back to the base and heeded to an area called Upper Mount Scott. Here we climbed another classic route called Atomic Knee Drop (5.6). The view from the top of this climb overlooks the gorgeous Lake Lawton and behind that are rolling green hills with lines of electricity generating windmills, John said it reminded him of Scotland.
After that climb we were done for the day and headed back to Denton, arriving home around 8:30 p.m. Providing me enough time to do some laundry, take a shower, and Ice down my injured fingers while reading Rock and Ice magazine before heading to bed. Even though I was reluctant to go since I will be out of town again next weekend climbing in Austin I was glad I made the trip. It turned out to be a great day of climbing.
Any climber that hasn’t been to the Wichita Mountains should definitely make a trip. The place is quite magical. Rock and Ice has recently run a feature on the area, mainly highlighting the history of how the area was developed. Another neat thing about the Wichita Mountains is that it is the only National Wildlife Refuge that allows climbing. Pretty cool! But I can’t take it for granted because access could always be revoked. If that ever happens it will be a sad day.
A day trip like this may sound crazy to some people, but to an obsessed climber it’s just life. I remember reading about another Texas climber that would take weekend trips up to Colorado just to climb for a day! I’ve been tempted to do that many times myself.
I will be posting some of my photography work from the Wichita Mountains here in the near future, so be sure to check back.