A few weeks ago, Kimber, a friend and one of our Landscape Designers at the Inn, casually mentioned that she once went rock climbing in North Georgia when she was in her teens and enjoyed it immensely. She indicated that she enjoyed heights and would like to try her hand at rock climbing again. Well, as anyone who has followed our Inn blog before knows from viewing the posts titled “Innkeeper Adventures“, that comment was all it took for me to pop the question, Hey, let’s go climbing on Mt. Yonah soon…shall we?
I armed Kimber with a copy of “Freedom of the Hills” by The Mountaineer’s and marked the appropriate chapters she should become acquainted with prior to our excursion with special emphasis on the chapter dealing with belaying techniques. She did her homework dutifully and stopped by our Atlanta bed and breakfast one day for some low angle belaying and rapelling practice. A trip later to REI produced some rock climbing shoes which she indicated were snug but comfortable. Good sign!
So, recently we left Atlanta at sunrise heading towards Cleveland, in north ga for the 90 mile trip to the trailhead. A pleasant but muggy one hour walk on the trail to the cliff face was a precusor to the hot, humid June summer weather Georgia is renowned for. We found a semi-shaded slab toward the middle of the face where she could practice low angle climbing and footwork as well as my last opportunity to observe her belaying skills. After awhile, she got the knack of the technique of belaying down-pat and I felt more reassured. Later, during my leads, I would look down to see her belay hand held in a death grip on the rope. She obviously took her book reading and instructions seriously!!
Anyway, when it came time for Kimber to climb, I was amazed at her dexterity and natural affinity on the rock. The initial move on one of the first routes normally requires a stemming move with the left foot which I suggested but she just planted the left, smeared, and went on up towards the second bolt. Wow..I was impressed. I have now nicknamed Kimber “The Rock Monkey” as I see many future trips to rock climbing destinations in her future. In fact, just yesterday, she inquired “When are we heading back to Yonah?” My response, as usual, is today if only my boss would let me off work to go rock climbing!!!