Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pena Blanca, Outing with OMTRS

I heard that the Organ mtn Search and Rescue Team (OMTRS) was going to be training at Pena Blanca today and decided to meet up with them. I've known about the team ever since moving to las Cruces. My first climbing partner was an OMTRS member named Steve Kellum and I distinctly remember him not being able to climb on several occasions because he had to train with the OMTRS. I decided then that I was not interested in joining this group, because it would take away from my precious climbing days. Now two years later, i am considering becoming a member. It's not that I have any urge to do mountain rescue, but as far as I can tell, there the closest thing to a local climbing community. I'm eager to meet more local climbers and learn explore more of the Organs, and this group seems to be all for it.

They were easy enough to find, 3 SUVs, one with the OMTRS logo on its side, passed me by near the Volcano, and I quickly caught up with them on the approach to the Garden area. The president, john, welcomed me to join them and up we went. their training mainly consisted of teaching basic rock-climbing skills to new memeber; how to belay, tie knots, basic climbing technique etc... I was happy enough to set up two ropes for them on the Garden Slabs, both new routes for me. The new climbers didn't seem to mind dso much that the routes I set up were on crumbling, and rotten rock, making the climbing sketchy and dirty. I guess their used to La Cueva, and also other "training" scenarios during which rotten rock is all part of the game.

One other climber I had met before at Hueco, Grady, and we set up a few harder routes, one on an un-named formation just up hill from El Diabolo. The corner on the north-east side was challenging and sharp, with a crux move to skin-tearing finger slot. The cooler temps definitely helped keep the skin on.

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