For the first few years of my rock climbing experience I used to despise the pink Quartzite of Devil’s Lake. The rock is slick, devious, tricky and in all honesty, a pain in the ass. The holds are small and sharp as hell. Footholds are never where you want them. The ratings are as old school as you get and I still fall off of “5.9+” with ease.
After moving away briefly to climb at “bigger and better” venues I made the voyage back to the land of no friction and top ropes. I had voluntarily moved from the land of big boulders and big walls. From the place that I used to dream of in my sleep. More than one person had asked me “why???”. I couldn’t give them a straight answer most of the time because I didn’t really know myself.
The Buttermilks are still my favorite place in the world. I still drool when I look at some of my old pictures from Tuolumne and Yosemite. Thinking of Mammoth makes me smile without fail. I miss the Happy Boulders, El Cap and everything in between.
What I found when I came back though, was that there are certain people who make your life happy. There are people who change you as a person and make pretty much anything fun. A few of those people have been in my life since I’ve been back and I’m lucky for that. I had just as much fun this weekend climbing at the lake than I ever had at Mammoth. We arrived at 2:00PM after sleeping in. We raced to set up a top rope at dusk so one of our party could do all the moves of her first 5.11b. She did most of it in the dark anyways. My roommate cleaned mud and dust off every hold of a crimpy 5.11c just so i could have a flash attempt. We trampled up a loose gully with an easy 5th class exit that had horrible fall potential(ie. hospital bound). My pack may have cushioned the fall though.
The lake has grown on me. The rock is still a pain in the ass and sometimes I have to tape each finger just so I don’t bleed. I still hate the approach trail, for no real reason mind you I just don’t like stairs. The friction sucks and I’m always confused. When it’s all said and done though, I’d rather climb crap rock with good friends than the best rock alone.
I’ll try to put some pictures up once i figure out how. Beware though, there may be a toprope or two in them.