There are many reasons that it would have gotten this particular accolade. One is that it is going to be the host of the upcoming USA Climbing regionals. These ain’t regionals for, you know, grown-ups. These are regionals for, like, teenagers. Young ones. Not the 18s and 19s. I expressed some amount of excitement that the routes that the setters are putting up will remain up for a while and the guy behind the counter told me “Jaybird, I don’t want to burst your bubble but these kids are the ones who are going to be in the Olympics in a few years. You know those kids in the kung-fu movies who do stuff like carry buckets of water on a yoke up a thousand stone steps to the temple? The kids climbing this weekend are like that. Just for climbing.”
Anyway, since the route setters were putting up routes, we couldn’t do the climbing that we wanted to do. Luckily, the folks running City Rock anticipated our disappointment and offered free trips through The Cave to help mitigate the whole “yeah, you’re members but part of the gym is closed” thing.
The Cave is really pretty dang special.
The first thing they do is give you a little movie to watch about the rules of the cave. It’s a pretty decent simulation of For Real Caving. Like, you’re going to get on your hands and knees. You’re going to have to get on your stomach at some points and slither like a snake. They have fake little rock formations that, if you bump them, will trigger an announcement explaining that you’ve just broken a piece of Soda Straw formation that took tens of thousands of years to form and you just bumped it with your butt. Like a clod.
It teaches that there are stalagmites that hold on to the ceiling with all of their *MIGHT* (that’s a mnemonic) and that there are stalactites that also hold on to the ceiling really *TIGHT* (also a mnemonic). And when you bump one of the artificial one of those, they tell you that you just hit one of those with your butt. Like a clod.
The easy way to go has you crawling around for 200ish feet, on your hands and knees or slithering like a snake and bumping things with your butt with only your helmet light to show your way and, when I finished, I had sweat dripping off of me and I had very little energy left. Certainly not enough to climb one of the walls on the floor that were denied me. It’s not something that I would have done if I could have climbed the big wall… but I’m so very glad that I did it once. Once. I pretty much need never go in there again.
All that to say: if anybody is ever in Colorado Springs, you *SERIOUSLY* need to come on down to City Rock and check out the cave.
As such, this weekend will be spent in somewhat open spaces.
So… what’s on your docket?
(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)