Weekends always go way too fast. I love the feeling of… free mornings, days, and longer, later nights. Something like that. It’s mid-Monday morning here now. Slightly breezy, cool, and the sky turning bright gray. Very Octobery. Some rain showers promised for today and even tomorrow.. I like it. It’s nice and cold. It makes me happy. It brings me back to our magical weekend.

Sunrise on Sunday.

As most of you know, I have this deeply rooted connection to Idaho. I think there’s more to it than.. ‘that state I grew up in’, or ‘where I went to college’. Idaho is a magical place. Period. Growing up and attending college here was a perk. I didn’t realize it then. It took moving away and moving back for me to see and feel the magic, as I think this happens to most people with their own states or childhood homes. Like Idaho, our newest and closest climbing crag – The Fins, is magical, too. This place offers an unexplainable kind of magic. Magic that you can feel.

Morning sun pouring into the bus as we wake to another great day!

Must be a good kind of magic. So hearty and wonderful we had to go back. The lingering, moody clouds and a 55% chance of rain just couldn’t keep us away. This land of fragrant sage, beautiful dolomite walls (as we were informed by Poppa S), and hard, technical climbing has captured our weekend thoughts and climbing souls…

Ben made the trip up from Salt Lake again this weekend, along with new friend, Matt (and his burly dog, Biggs). Sitting around a crackling, cozy fire, sharing late night tales, cheers, and beers made for an unforgettable start to the weekend. The small rain showers and dark-menacing clouds couldn’t nab our enthusiasm and psych for Saturday climbing. The magic filled the air and we were unstoppable.

Fire ban lifted.. ahhhh. Campfires again!

SOAKIN it in.

I think Matt digs Idaho. Lost River Range in the background.

A morning hike quickly warmed our bodies and minds. We settled at the base of the crag by 10:30am. The first few pitches, a super route called Huck You 11a and The Blue Tape Route 10+ were top warmups for the morning. A quick snack and some water later, we were headed up the trail to Ethan’s unfinished project, Ghost in a Shell 12b. As I belayed E, I couldn’t help but share his focus. Just like the movements he made through the beginning sequence of his route, I too, fell in to a magical belaying motion. He moved flawlessly to the rest (about 3/4 of the way up the route). His breathing was calm and his focus was infectious. Only minutes after resting, he maneuvered through the crux sequence, a mono pocket with smeary feet to a three finger side pocket, and up to a two finger side pocket, swiftly and easily. I watched and belayed with awe. Ethan sent first go. He climbed beautifully. It was inspiring and magical. I sensed a trend.

Farther down the wall, the magic was also felt. Ben claimed his second-ever send of a 12a on the featured and sweet route, Martini! Ben sent this route with gusto! He moved through the route with confidence and strength. He made the crux look easy, moving casually from pocket to pocket. It was so exciting to watch Ben work the route and send with such confidence! He’s climbing strong and his psych is through the roof. It’s just so awesome to see. His epic send treated him to one of the finest brews made: a tasty Hop Czar IPA from Bridgeport Brewing. Lucky, dude.

A little high steppin to get things going. Martini (5.12a)

Ben on his way to redpointing Martini (5.12a) for his second 5.12 ascent ever!

The grande finale Martini (5.12a)

Ben’s celebratory send beer!!

The magic didn’t end there. We capped the afternoon off with a few more sends and plenty of high-fives to fill a classroom. Those moody clouds disappeared, too. All of the psych was sickening. It was awesome!

Good food and beers satiated our growling bellies. A raging fire and more stories capped off the evening. Bright stars filled the night sky.

Late nights around the fire under the stars.

Sunday arrived, bringing a cloudless sky, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. Just brilliant. Climbing proved to be brilliant, too. E made quick work on Wings for Mary, an extremely long 12b with a thin, technical crux. He sent second go. While Ben worked the moves on Ghost in a Shell 12b, Matt and I made good progress on a few other climbs in the area. Matt found this rad 11b and almost sent first go. His psych was numbing. I think Biggs could feel it, too. He sent second go.

Matt on Stiff Warm-Up (5.11b), a much better route than the guide leads you to believe!

Robyn soaking in the sun at the Upper Head Wall.

Ben high-pointing Ghost in a Shell (5.12b), gotta come back for it next year!

The day began to wind down. We packed our bags. The sky was clear. The view was excellent. Our bodies ached of soreness and fatigue. We hobbled down the slippery Idaho slopes [with BIG, fat smiles on our faces].

The air thick with magic. Another unforgettable weekend under our belts.

Headed back to Hailey after another great visit to The Fins. It was exceptionally clear after a bit of rain the day before.

One thought on “Pure Magic

  1. Oh Mr. Ben, you couldnt have chosen a better “Send” beer, or for any occassion for that matter. Long live the Hop Czar! BTW- congrats man.
    Love you. Pops

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