Climbing at Point Dume 2/28
The morning started out a little rough, not the worst, but definitely not how I like to wake up. My symptoms included a thought hindering headache, dehydration and soreness so bad it felt like I must have gotten hit by a bus the previous night, otherwise known as a hangover. The previous night was the end-of-year SCIAC swim party and we let loose, leaving nothing to be desired. Looking at my alarm in the morning I seriously considered opting out of my planned trip to go climbing at Point Dume in Malibu (otherwise known as the Bu, or Malibooty) with the Pizter Outdoor Adventures (POA). As I struggled to get enough water in my system, I nearly rolled over to forgo the whole trip. But the urge to climb was too much, and I dragged myself out of the comfort of my bed, down the stairs and out to the car to meet Colin, Keiko and Alex. When I arrived I realized that I was not the only one who was attempting to recover from the previous night; it was a struggle for all of us getting out of bed. Little did we know, one of the most exhilarating and all around fun days of the semester so far was ahead of us.
First things on the itinerary-hangover helpers; we decided the best medicine was jamba juice and bagels. Once the beautifully blended beverages and bagels began to fill our stomachs mixed with some classic rock and the air of the open road we all began to feel a little better and once we reached Highway 1 and saw the majestic Pacific Ocean our laments from imbibing too much the previous evening were immediately forgotten. The ocean is a truly magical thing, and no matter how often you see it, it never ceases to amaze. Driving through Malibu we must have past every celebrities’ and Fortune 500 owners’ beach house. After taking a wrong turn we asked two young surfers who were headed to the beach in a golf cart (only in Malibu) for directions. After navigating our way through the maze of starter castles we showed up to some glistening waves with pelicans and seagulls flying about Point Dume.
It was a gorgeous location and there was a 20-meter cliff perpendicular to the beach with climbers on it. After some conversing, we found that it was the USC climbing club out on one of their weekend trips. Their club sounded fun, but unlike the great club that sponsored this trip (POA), the people going out on this climb had to pay a fee to participate.
This was my first outdoor climbing experience in a long time and man did it feel great to get back onto the rock. Moving from the gym to the outdoors is a pretty amazing experience. In the gym, someone designed the route, determined the easy parts and determined the crux (the hardest point), someone decided what hold you could and couldn’t use. But on the rock, everything is a possibility; you decide the route, you decide which crack is big enough for you to hold onto. It is much more free form than the gym and although you have a rope keeping you from becoming a pancake, it is incredibly natural. Once you get onto the rock, you lose focus of everything else except finding that next hold. All thoughts go away, except figuring out how to get to the top.
We climbed for most of the day, waves crashed below us as pelicans swooped around, taking our time as we went up appreciating the view. It was a day of many firsts. Colin started it off by surfing for the first time on the newly duck-taped repaired POA surfboard. After some coaching and coaxing I learned how to repel down the cliff. Alex got his first experience of outdoor climbing. As Colin described it ”The arête is a perfect route for first time rock climbers. Arête climbing on the beach 15 feet away from the crashing waves of the Pacific with whales breaching in the distance. Say what?!”
As the sun began to set we packed up and turned our backs to the Pacific to head back to Claremont for a long night of studying, but stoked on the adventures we had that day.