Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bouldering at Pyramid Mountain Park

Pyramid Mt. Park is in Morris County, New Jersey, as is Tourne Park. In Paul Nick's guidebook, he gave Pyramid Mt. little press. I guess because the boulders at Tourne are much easier to get to and they are much closer to each other. The boulders are more spread out at Pyramid and a little more hidden. I usually run between the boulders for a great work out.

Here are the main rocks. Some of the boulders are listed in Paul's book. You can also pick up a free map at the visitor's center, call Morris County Parks Dept. or buy Paul's guidebook. There are lots of rocks in this park; just keep your eyes open (especially in the winter). Please be low key about your climbing (i.e., no ropes, pick up trash and be nice to the hikers).

As one hikes up towards the power lines, there is an obvious boulder on your right. The trail then splits; take the White Trail on your left (it dips down) towards Bear Rock (largest boulder in NJ, I think). You will see a small slab on your left (they sometimes ice up in the winter). Bear Rock will be obvious. Next to Bear Rock is a great, smaller boulder I call Baby Bear.

Baby Bear:

1. Climb the left corner if one is facing the overhanging face.
2. Climb the finger crack and exit right on the overhanging face.
3. Climb the overhanging face left of the finger crack.

Cat Rocks:

Walk across the wooden bridge and left into the woods. This area is known as Cat Rocks. Lots of small rocks here; however, look for a tall boulder with a crack in the middle. I have not done this yet (may need a rope). Also, the right face looks great.

Pyramid Slabs:

Go back over the bridge (towards Bear Rock), hang a right onto the Blue Trail. After about 5 min or so, look for a small (10-12 ft) slab on your right. Good practice for the feet.

Whaletail Boulder (or Whalehead, I can't remember):

Hang a right onto the Red Trail, go through the swamp and up the other side (steep). As one crests the trail, you will see a egg shaped boulder. There is a good finger traverse (which I have not done yet).

Eagle Rock:

Continue towards the Eagle Cliffs. The trail heads down and you will see a good size boulder.

1. Climb the left outside corner (near the tree).
2. Climb the middle of the dark face.
3. Climb the right outside corner, great.
4. Also there is a great looking crack/mantel on this boulder and the bulging face looks great.

The Best Boulder Problem in NJ:

Continue on the trail towards Pyramid Rock. If no crowds are present, stop and boulder. Otherwise, it's best to avoid this rock. When the trail forks later on, take the Yellow Trail (go left). As the trail becomes level, you will see a soccer field on your left. Start looking up the hill on your right for a small roof area (there a big, dirty boulder close by, it's your marker to start hiking up the hill). With some luck, you will come across a roof with a right slanting crack leading to an exit crack.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Training with Scout

When I turned 40, something special came into my life. That something special was a dog named Scout. Scout is a lean black lab/greyhound mix that we adopted when he was 9 months at the time. He loves to roam. I also bought a 10 year old pick-up truck at the same time, but that’s another story.

What have I learned from Scout so far?

1. Have a single-track mind – Scout just cares about one thing when he’s out on the trails and that would be deer. He’s 100% focused on tracking and at least in his dreams, chasing deer. For me, it’s taught me to stay totally focused on the task at hand. Competing at long distances is all about mental toughness and focus, nothing more. Don’t get side tracked.

2. Trot – Dogs can trot all day long. So the next time you are out on the trails or roads, think about adopting a nice, relaxing pace that you can maintain for long periods of time. Be sure to let your tongue hang out.

3. Eat and Sleep – Between workouts and races, learn to eat and sleep well. As we are know: rest = recovery = improvement.

4. Play – Most of all, have fun in life. Chase a stick or lick your balls.

Adopt a dog and you’ll be faster.