We set a new program record this year by bringing exactly 30 kids up to Priest Draw outside Flagstaff this past weekend. Not only that, a large number of psyched parents were able to join in on the fun. Despite the large crew, we had an incredibly smooth and fun trip.
Team Chef Luke went up early on Friday to snag the king sized campsite that would accommodate all of us, and then it was a steady trickle of families showing up through the evening. We woke up the next morning to gorgeous weather and by 9am we were on our way to the boulders! Coaches Cory, Garland and myself all took a group of 10 kids and split off to different areas. We all spent time at the likes of Triangle Boulder, the Island, Bat Roof, Monster Roof and Anorexic Roof. There was amazing try hard by all and some sweet sends as well.
I would say that roughly 60% of our entire group had never bouldered outside before, and those that know Priest Draw know its reputation for being a challenging place to cut your teeth. Many who are used to sending a certain grade in a gym all of a sudden find themselves getting beat down by something that is supposed to be easier. With this in mind it was an awesome learning experience for many. Being introduced to the style of climbing that Priest Draw offers only makes you a better and more well rounded climber. It was amazing to see everyone adapt to something outside of their comfort zone.
By 5pm we wrapped up the day, totally exhausted and ready for some relaxing by the campfire. Like last year's trip we organized an iron chef style cookie baking contest with dutch ovens. What started as what seemed like utter chaos, about 20 minutes later three teams all presented their cookie dough to Luke who then baked them in coals. The judging panel consisted of myself, Luke, Cory and one team parent, and we announced the clear winner. The brown sugar topping won us over :)
Sunday morning we headed out for a quick half day session, with many more last minute sends. Most kids, it seemed, went back to Tucson elated and thirsty for more outdoor experiences. Enjoy the photos below, all taken by Sarah Parent.