Inspired Stone

December 14, 2009, 4:26 am
Filed under: Climbing, Photo | Tags: , ,

California is blessed with a variety and quality of rock climbing unknown in most other states. Although Davis lacks anything climbable except artificial walls, excellent climbing lies one hour up highway 50 above the tiny town of Kyburz. Jutting out of a ridge north of the American River is a fine grained granite crag known as Sugarloaf. I don’t know if this is an official geographic name, but it is very possible that it’s a name invented by climbers. Climbers are creative namers. A look at modern climbing guidebooks might convince some that climbers are perverted and on drugs, but usually a climb’s name is decided on only because it sounds interesting. Sugarloaf is home to the climbs Scheister, Blue Velvet, Fat Merchant’s Crack, and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Some names even indicate something about the climb. The photo below is of one of my favorite routes at Sugarloaf-its name is The Fracture.

Here is a climber nearing the top of Scheister:

And the same climber about halfway up an excellent route named Hyperspace:

On my last visit to Sugarloaf one week ago, I was finally able to climb a route named Bolee Gold, which I had been yearning to do for some time. And it was just in time, by 4 PM the snow was flying. That is when I stopped, looked around and really enjoyed the austere beauty of the place. The surrounding area has still not fully recovered from a wildfire many years ago, so the gray walls and gray trees blended with the blowing snow into an amazing scene.