An update from David Chambers on Outdoor Adventures’ September rock-climbing day trip (see photos here):

SMU OA has been doing trips to Mineral Wells State Park since its conception, but for some reason, this was one of the “memorable” ones. It probably had to do with the group and the circumstances.

We had a good group mix this trip with students Connor, Yulay, Katrina, Gabe, Sara and SMU faculty Denis Bettaver and Piotr Chelstowski. We love to have faculty and staff on our trips. The group was a good mix of “did it before” to “never haves.” This is the ideal kind of mix because it means we can set many different climbs for a variety of skill levels … our preferred method of programming at Mineral Wells because we never know what will be available on nice weekends, as explained later.

SMU OA trip leaders Dexter Jacobs and David Chambers with technical rock support from Angellia Chandler met the group bright and early that morning with the intention of getting to our destination early enough to beat as many of the other groups as possible. The group showed up in good time and better attitude … ready for some climbing.

Like I said, the group was good and the circumstances turned out great. Upon our arrival, we found out that no groups were ahead of us and we would pretty much have the crag to ourselves that morning. Since MWSP is the closest crag to DFW and North Texas in general, weekends are usually a madhouse of Boy and Girl Scout groups, college and high school programs, church groups, and private climbers. But this day was different.

When asked about what we can expect that day, the rangers pointed out that the weekend prior, over 500 Boy Scouts camped the Friday before. Most groups come to MWSP for the climbing so you can imagine the crowd that would have been in this limited climbing area.

With the help of Angellia, we were able to claim our routes with no other competition in sight. This allowed us to enjoy our climbing with ease. Of course as the day went on, more and more climbers showed up, but realistically, we couldn’t ask for the abundance of available routes. In addition, the weather would make a climber “giddy” with delight. Again, this kind of weather brings out the climbing community in droves, but I guess we picked the right weekend.

Everyone started climbing on relatively easy routes but soon progressed to more challenging climbs. The most impressive thing was not that everyone “made it to the top” of every climb. Instead it was the perseverance and effort made by all to try the best they could. For his first time climbing, ever, Yulay was tackling 5.8-5.9 climbs. Denis was getting back into the harness after a long departure and continued to execute really good moves. Connor, Katrina and Sara all pushed their strength to a new level.

By the end, everyone felt like they had rock climbed that day. And we still made it back to Dallas before the Cowboys games.

Yeah, it was a good day.

Note: Sign up for the Winter Break ski and snowboard trip to the Wolf Creek Ski Area in Colorado.