Between Rocks

On a recent evening a friend and I made a spontaneous decision to go rock climbing and camping, marking the first time in four years that we had seen each other.  My partner in crime was Gavin Wasmer, whom I have know for about five years and used to surf with frequently.  While I’ve only been rock climbing for four years, Wasmer has been climbing for seven years thanks to his father who introduced him to the sport at a young age. “My dad is a bad ass when it comes to climbing,” Wasmer said. “He can climb almost everything.”

Despite a hectic class schedule at Brooks Institute I decided our midweek adventure would be a great stress reliever for me.  We chose to explore a new climbing spot in Santa Barbara, California whose location we like to keep secret because of vandals who frequently deface the beautiful setting with graffiti and litter. “People should tag on what humans made, not what Mother Nature has given us,” Wasmer said. “It’s so sad and disturbing.”

In order to make the most of our time we set out on our journey well after dark, hitting trail head with our headlamps around 9:30 in the evening. After about 30 minutes of rigorous hiking we arrived at an overlook where the Santa Barbara skyline filled the horizon and tall rock formations were silhouetted against bright stars. Even though we brought a tent we decided to set up camp inside a nearby cave.  We gathered some wood, made a nice fire and cracked open a couple of beers.

I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to set up our tent in a cave, but I started to regret the decision as soon as I crawled inside and began to feel very claustrophobic.  I had to get out of the tent a few times to get some fresh air but eventually I fell asleep. We awakened to a dramatic, colorful sunrise and soon began to pack up for our descent.  Once we returned to our car we dropped off our backpacks, headed back into the wilderness and finished the day bouldering and tread climbing.  All in all we had a great adventure and I returned home feeling more grounded and refreshed, ready to take on the rest of my week.