We decided not to go back to Bear Island. I think I was afraid I’d have to lead if we went back there and I wasn’t feeling ready to lead. I told Dan we should find a new place and maybe there would be a problem I’d like better and I’d want to lead it.
We decided to check out Indian Cove. The guide book showed a lot of easy trad climbs there. Indian Cove is accessed from a different road than the road we’d been using, the West Entrance to the Park. Most of the climbing in the Park is accessed from the West Entrance. I hoped that since we were heading off the beaten path, there would be fewer people there.
We waited until it warmed up a bit. The mornings have been chilly here, around 7 or 8 degrees. By about 10 or 11 am, it is up to 10 or 11 degrees which is more pleasant for climbing.
We drove out to Indian Cove, which is actually a nice campground. A lot of the climbs are accessed through campsites and picnic areas. We drove around, noticing an alarming number of climbers already there. We parked and hiked to the Morbid Mound.
There we found a wall of moderate climbs full of top ropes and climbers. A class was getting instruction at the bottom of a climb and top ropes dangled down all around them. The climbs looked good. They were all occupied. We moved on.
We got back in the truck and drove around to another promising wall, the Short Wall. By this time, my desire to climb had waned significantly. We got out at the Short Wall, which was again fully occupied, and chatted with some of the climbers there. They said there was a good walk up onto the top of the wall but you needed a 100 foot long static rope to set up anchors because the boulders used to build the anchors were far back from the edge of the cliff. Ours was only 45 feet.
We drove to one final area. By now Dan was coming to realize that we probably wouldn’t be getting on any routes but use it as a recon day. I was relieved as I was still dreading the pressure to lead. Pressure I put on myself. If we couldn’t climb, I wouldn’t have to deal with that.
The final area we looked at was HodgePodge Rock at the Group Camping section. A really nice looking wall with a great crack running across the bottom half diagonally, then turning to go straight up the top half. A couple of climbers were already on top, looking to set up anchors and hang top ropes. One of them called down to ask if we were going to climb. She said there was a group of kids coming to climb there in about an hour. We decided to leave it to them.
We went back to town and stopped in at Nomad’s gear shop to buy a 100 foot static rope. Then we spent the rest of the day in the hot tub drinking beer. Nice to relax a bit.