Monday, October 24, 2005

Linville Gorge

Having not climbed a multi pitch route before I was nervous. Not nervous in the shaking and quaking sense, but nervous in the learning something new category, something really new category. After climbing up a fairly easy 5.4 section about 220 feet high we reached a large ledge (where the pics are from). I say we reached the ledge but really Brent reached it about 45 minutes earlier. See, multipitch climbing has a weird combination on togetherness and lonelyness. I was technically on the same climb as he but after the first 15 minutes of climbing he disappeared from sight until I reached him over an hour later. My only connection with him was the rope, extending upward into the rock. And so I sat, alone, looking out at the beautiful Linville gorge.
After climbing up to where Brent was on the ledge I took a break on safety belay while Brent climbed up through a narrow corner and again disappeared from sight. Another 40 minutes and I began climbing. The first 35 feet were well protected in the tight corner but as I reached the apex where the rock formation came together I had no choice but to venture out onto the edge. As I moved my hands and feet carefully beyond the protected corner the wind pulled hard at my clothing. I went from 35 feet up to over 350 feet above the canyon floor in just a minute. This was the epitomy of the climbing experience, to step beyond your comfort zone.
The view was tremendous! I continued over the rock to the next belay ledge and an hour later hiked out. What a great day.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Workday at Beech Mtn

Working at Beech Mountain is always a surprising experience. Take the weather for example; even in Banner Elk, the last town we pass through as Brent, Brooke, and I make the drive from Appalachian State U., the weather is completely different than it will be fifteen minutes later when we arrive at the Small wind initiative research and demonstration site.
Cold wind blows as we follow Brooke's dogs out of Brent's Westfalia. The day is sunny and bright with a breeze strong enough to turn all the functioning turbines. We work on the two turbines currently giving us trouble and then head back to Boone where again the weather is different. I love the North Carolina high country.