Redwood Coast: LOST ROCKS
Adventurous. Educational. Amazing. Motivating. Awe-inspiring. EPIC. Those are a few words to describe our 4 days of exploring the wonders of two Redwood Coast climbing crags. Lost Rocks and Trinity Aretes were brand new to both of us so we planned on spending the weekend exploring, getting to know the new rock, and finding projects. While all three were accomplished, some goals were met with a little, um, over exuberance....
We left late Wednesday night after driving slightly out of our way in order to fulfill my craving for chipotle.... mmm, burritos... Destination #1: Lost Rocks. The stretch down I-5 was hellish and boring (as usual) but as soon as we hit 101, things got PRETTY! Driving through the redwoods in the pitch dark was magical and between the "wee hours of the morn" delirium and the level of "stoked-ness" I was feeling about going to a climbing spot, I was on cloud 9 by the time we made it to Klamath. Then came the fun part- winding around on gravel roads, using very nonspecific directions from the Mountain Project site, and reading signs while debating which road was actually the right road and deciding if we should acknowledge the "DO NOT ENTER" signs, we made our way to a parking lot at the top of a gravel slope... this is where we threw on our headlamps and walked into a VERY damp field of ... prickly things. Oh, wait, those are STINGING NETTLE. Bare, flipflop-clad feet officially exposed to the vicious barbs and oils of this devil plant, we pitched our tent, grabbed some gear, and crawled into our sleeping bags around 4am, uncertain if our chosen spot to sleep was actually legal or not. But, we'd made it (as far as we could tell) to our destination, and happy and excited, sleep came swiftly and soundly.
The next morning, in a SEA of fog (at least we could hear the ocean...) we drove further up the road toward High Bluffs, the location that "The Google" told us would, after some class 4 scrambling, lead to the boulder-filled beaches. Enjoying an amazing breakfast that featured pour over coffee, we waited for the clouds to burn off (or was it an actual cloud that we were living in?). Eventually the sun won out, chased the cloud(s) away, and we made our way to what appeared to be a bit of a scramble that lead to the beach. A series of trial and error moves later, our toes hit sand. HALLELUJAH! It was BEAUTIFUL! The new issue? The tide appeared to be coming in. And fast. So, we opted to camp out on the crash pad for a bit and enjoy the scenery before moving on to the next cove to find climbable boulders.
Some time later, tide still somewhat aggressively rolling in, we made our way to the other side of the cove, our path being tracked in the most adorable manner by a SEAL!!! We once again scrambled up a slope or two to find ourselves overcome with breathtaking views of the Pacific that included the most incredible biodiversity I've ever encountered... whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, pelicans ... you name it. It was absolutely breathtaking. Andy took some AMAZING shots on his camera while I sat back and enjoyed the sheer EPICNESS of the entire experience.
After the ocean finished putting on a show for us, our stomachs growling in a fairly assertive manner, we decided it was actually time to go. Half the day spent admiring nature, we needed food before setting off on our climbing adventure. A trail behind us headed in the direction of the road so we opted to head up it, grab food at the car, and then head back this way later in order to get some solid, calorie-fueled, bouldering in. So we hiked. And we hiked. Through field of blackberry brambles, tall grasses, an assortment of terrifying weeds, and, once again, STINGING NETTLES. The best part? Not only did the trail NOT lead us to the road (Andy began legitimate bushwacking with the crash pad toward the end), but it also became so full of irritating plant life that our exposed skin (shorts, flip flops, etc) was full of oozing, itching, bloody awesomeness by the time we turned around and went back the way we came. #fantastic
Long story short, we eventually made the choice to hike down the beach towards Klamath (away from the car), boulder hopping, and tide racing most of the way. By the time we reached the final cove, starving and a bit cranky, the sun was getting low over the ocean. But, a field of beautiful, mixed rock boulders lay before us. We'd finally found Lost Rocks. Reenergized with this delayed but HUGE success, we power walked uphill the 2.5 miles back to the car, crammed food into our bodies, pounded a beer each, and drove, giddy and high on calories, back to our bouldering destination. Headlamps, crash pad, and bottle of wine in tow, we touched rock on our first boulder of the trip- and she was pretty. Very, very pretty. As was the setting sun in the background. It may have taken us an entire day to get some climbing in here, but the climbing did NOT disappoint and when we finally settled down on the crash pad to watch the tail end of the sunset, wine in hand, we were both eager to return to this unique place.