living at the base of one of the better mountain biking trail systems in the country definitely has it’s rewards. it doesn’t hurt that the same system connects to the rim trail which provides much more in the way fun in the sun. one day in july i took off from the house to go on a 15 minute ride to get the pups some exercise. i passed the river at powerline trail and decided to head up corral loop to hit the tabletop section. well things were going so well i headed higher to the top of corral. still feeling good i went up oneidas to the top of the armstrong connector. having recently been up to armstrong pass i knew there were two more clean water sources before star lake so what the heck. along the rim trail between armstrong pass and freel pass i came upon this gem, the buddha. it was then i hatched a plan.
over the next several weeks i rode up there several times. once stashing a 60m rope and some nuts, the next time a tent and pad, and once more with some larger cams. hutchski isn’t so much into epics but all that was needed was a little deceit. “it’s gonna be easy” i said, and she fell for it. fast forward to august 19 and we were on our way, leaving #vanlife behind for 35 pound packs.
this is not easy
there’s the buddha just over her head (but still miles away).
finally, armstrong pass. it’s all downhill from here. except for the uphill parts.
we made it by mid afternoon, walked around the entire rock looking for a suitable spot to camp. finding none, we opted for a spot under the rim trail with great views.
then it was time to climb. we knew we could walk off this one behind the tree. what i didn’t know was that it would use all but 10′ of our 60m rope. thus the name, honey it’s longer than it looks, a 5.7 that would probably clean up to a 5.6. the rock quality was good.
hutchski up about 2/3 of the way. the tree up top sets up well for a shady belay.
by this point the sun was getting low. 15 minutes from the rock and our camp is a spring fed stream. we filled up our water supply as well as the pups’ and enjoyed bellinis amongst the wildflowers. with the clouds and smoky haze over the crystal range we knew we were in for an awesome sunset.
heading back to camp i was impressed with some the recent work the rim trail volunteers had done.
the sunset did not disappoint
bike glamping? the mountain house spaghetti with meat sauce was awesome. can’t say the same about their scrambled eggs with bacon for breakfast.
nacho and hutchski in deep conversation
after a night under the stars the next morning we rode to star lake. just before freel pass is this impressive rock. maybe another trip.
macaskilling at freel pass
star lake is awesome
the primal quest adventure race was going on and several teams got to freel pass when we did (when we were on the way to star lake). their demeanor after coming from star lake had us dreading the climb back to the pass but it really wasn’t too bad, and had awesome views along the way.
back at the buddha, we decided to climb in the shade on the upper back side. the rock quality here was very poor compared to the front and i don’t recommend it. hutchski lower down on two fingers (5.7). the rock here would basically fall apart when you touch it.
nearing the top you can see why it’s two fingers. the gold rock is much better.
as you can see by the opening picture there is a ton to climb here. we would have liked to do more but didn’t want to leave gear behind for anchors and couldn’t do any multi-pitch leaving the pups behind (especially along the rim trail). definitely would like to get back when i could.