I ADOPTED A CRAG!
This was a little while ago, but I just got the pics off my phone and figured they were worth posting. REI and the Access Fund along with MidAtlanticClimbers sponsored the 2009 Adopt -a- Crag event at Carder Rock back in September. I went all by my lonesome, figuring I'd be busy working and would prolly end up making friends by the end of the day. I was right! I spent almost three hours rolling a wheel-barrow (Which I affectionately named Wilhamina) up and down the wooded path to the cliff.
The goal was to cover the ground to prevent further soil erosion and damage to tree roots. The crag is a popular place and the traffic takes it's toll. After hauling the mulch to the top volunteers would dump it over the edge, making a "mulch-fall" of sorts. Then people at the bottom would haul it again and spread it out. Amazingly, my hands hurt more than my shoulders did (yay climber shoulders!). They fed us dinner and I ate dinner with my new friends. I almost didn't go. The morning came too early and it was cold and threatening rain. So glad I did though. Climbers are such a good group to throw yourself into, especially when you don't know anyone. Its easy to meet people and talk about your adventures. I just hope that next year's event is warmer! :-P
Ah, trad climbing. The ultimate, "real" climbing goal for some is to be able to lead it. To those of you (like my fam) who might not be too knowledgeable on what exactly "Trad" is, let me explain: Traditional (trad) climbing is where you bring your rope up with you, and set and clip into protection as you go along. There are different kinds of protection - cams, nuts, hexes, tricams, slings, your teeth, etc... You get the picture. The skill comes in choosing the right gear placement and the right gear to go in that placement. If you do a good job, it stays where you put it and holds you when you fall. If you didn't, you keep falling. The strength comes in holding on for a much longer time while you place your gear.
I don't lead trad.