This weekend was yet another weekend of climbing. This time, instead of heading south, we went north to the Mississippi Palisades. Talk about a huge difference between climbing down at Jackson. The rock up at the Palisades is limestone, and since it’s been heavily used is very slippery. Also, there is no sport routes. It is completely trad (if you forgot what that means, read my previous entry). That meant that I wasn’t leading anything, which isn’t really the norm. Instead I was top-roping everything. However, I did mock-lead one route (top roped it, but put gear in as I went). That definitely helped me get more comfortable with how to place gear, and what can go where, etc.
The other totally different thing about the Palisades was that it’s crack climbing. I’m used to face climbing (climbing up the face of the rock). Now, with face climbing, you are looking for protruding features that you can hang on to, but with crack climbing, you are wedging your hands and feet into the crack. There aren’t really any protrusions that you can grip onto, instead you have to slide your fist into the crack, and twist it. You essentially want to lock your hand into the crack, and move up the crack. You then twist your feet into the crack in a similar way, but you don’t slide it in deep like you do with your hand (if need be). There are multiple different techniques of jams, but I won’t go into that here.
Needless to say, it’s friggin hard, and quite painful. The backs of my hands are very tender, and have multiple bruises. However, it was quite fun, and I definitely want to get much better at it.
On another note, I went there with James and Cody. We took Cody’s car, which happened to be a…VW Jetta TDI! This was all totally unbeknownst to me until he pulled up at my apartment, and I heard the familiar diesel engine sound. On the way up, we started talking about biodiesel, and he wants to get into it too! I’m about 10 times more excited now. I also got to drive it around a bit. The roads at the Palisades were pretty steep, and it handled quite well. Granted, it was an automatic, though, so it didn’t handle as nicely as the stick I test drove. It was also the older, 90hp, engine, not the new, 100hp, one. I’m definitely excited about a potential car purchase.