Wednesday, March 17, 2010

4 Tips to Make You a Better Rock Scrambler

Photo of BranchIf you have ever rock scrambled, you know how much fun it is. Red Rock Canyon is the Mecca for rock scrambling. Below are four tips that will help you become a better rock scrambler. If you want to hike to the peaks in Red Rock, you will need to be comfortable on class 3 rock. Gaining proficiency at rock scrambling is the best way.

1. Confidence

This is the biggest key. You have to believe you can climb the obstacle facing you. Let me tell you a story that will help you understand.  Several years ago Davis and I were looking for a new route to Bridge Point. The old route traveled deep into Fern Canyon. We thought we could find a route that left the wash much sooner.

We found a route that departed the wash just after the seasonal waterfall. Our plan was to make a direct ascent for the gully that sits below the peak. Once out of the wash we headed NE toward an imposing wall. We soon found several ledges that traversed the wall. Many of the ledges were dead ends, but finally we found a ledge that went across. It was airy; a fall would be fatal. There was an awkward move to get off the ledge and onto safe ground that involved stepping onto a scrub oak tree. Shortly after the traverse, we met up with the original route and the rest was history. This new route saves almost 30 minutes compared to the original route!

I was excited and wanted to show friends the new route. A few days later, Hiking Dave and Doyle met me at Red Rock. They had both hiked Bridge Point several times. As we approached the ledges, they looked at me like I was crazy.
Hiking Dave

They decided to try and find another way and I took off to traverse the ledges. As I started the traverse, it seemed much more difficult than the other day with Davis. It was getting thin and I knew a fall would be deadly. I continued to traverse knowing that I could do it; I had just done it a few days earlier. As I was hugging the wall one of my handholds broke. Yikes! I wasn’t putting any weight on it, so I was okay. I kept creeping toward the end of the ledge where I knew the scrub oak tree would be my exit to safety. When I got to the end of the traverse, there was no scrub oak tree! I was on the wrong ledge!
Looking back I should have fallen. That traverse was crazy, but I was so confident, because I had just done it the other day, even though I really hadn’t! Funny how my confidence was based on the wrong information, but that did not matter. This is what I mean when I write you have to believe you can do it.
Click here to read the rest of the article including a tip that will instantly make you a better rock scrambler.