My Life Proof phone case was nearly put to the test as The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” blasted threw my iPhone speakers at 6:30am on a Saturday morning. I had scheduled myself to another day of climbing which required an early morning commitment since mid-day temperatures rises up to 95 degrees. As I packed my gear, Kevin’s amazing timeliness came mosey-ing home at 6:45am. My first words to him were, “Great! You’re back. Get ready, we’re leaving for Diablo now.” In a stumbling fit, he exclaimed his refusal, which I found to be fair since the last time he had slept was exactly 24 hours ago. Five minutes after he laid his head down he came running down the stairs in DGAF mode and began to pack up for a day of climbing. Boss status, I must say.
We swooped up Bryn in Walnut Creek and headed over to Boy Scout Rocks in Mount Diablo State Park. Our day started with a 5.7 sport route called Beach Crack and then migrated to the bigger wall at the lower tier to a 5.10d route called The Diagonal Crack (Not very creative with names are we, now?). Kevin led the trad pitch (Boss status round two). I think some peer pressure had something to do with his decision, but I regret nothing. Near the top of the climb when the crack begins to flare out, Kevin heard a chirping sound and looked over to his hand to see a pair of eyes six inches away that belonged to the famous inhabitants of Mt Diablo: a tarantula. He took a moment to freak out while dangling at 55 ft in the air, and regained his “calm” shortly to finish off the climb. Boss status round three.
I started the climb on top rope with Bryn as my belayer. Kevin told me the tarantula was in the pocket above the nut he placed so that I could reroute myself and avoid it. When arriving at the nut, I moved off route to the left to bypass the pocket above the nut. After climbing past the tarantula pocket, I moved my way back into the crack system and positioned myself to continue the climb. If you ever needed to question instinct as a form of survival, you are more than welcome to use me as an example because the split second I heard the chirping sound coming from where my hand was placed, my body decided it would rather risk falling than be within 6 inches of a tarantula. At the same moment of my limb failure spitting me out of the crack system, I emitted an echoing scream through the valley that rivaled the screeching of the resident hawks in decibel. At the ground level, Bryn’s heart skipped a beat and almost let go of the rope. What was bewilderment in Bryn at first converted into boisterous laughter when he finally saw Kevin’s face, who realized he had actually placed TWO nuts for this climb. The tarantula was in the pocket above the nut: the second nut.
I demanded to be lowered down so that I could continue my hysterical fit at a safer location. Let’s be clear: safe = away from the tarantula. Kevin apologized for forgetting he had placed two nuts. Bryn continued laughing. This climb is renamed 5.10antula.