Sunday, May 23, 2004

The idea for this weekend was a rock climbing expedition to someplace about 3 hours from here in eastern Nagano prefecture. We left at about 7 on saturday morning to some kind of hazy skies and then drove to this place called Ogawa Yama (big river mountain). The whole place reminds one of your archetypal japanese landscape painting. Strange rocks poking out of the forest canopy and mists shrouding various parts. Apparently this place is like the climbing mecca of central japan. The campsite was pretty full of people, almost all of them rock climbing. You can tell by the rugged look and the gnarly forearms. We got in and set up camp and shortly therafter we set out to go climb some rocks. We found a really easy pitch and two of the experienced women (5 women plus me and Shane) went ahead and scrambled up to the top to prepare the way down for the rest of us. This is when it started to rain. Steph and Ellium were up on the rocks and getting the smackdown from some increasingly hard rain. It was a little nervewracking but mostly just cold and wet. A wet rock is a slippery rock which makes it a dangerous rock. THis is no fun. Saturday was effectively shot since the rocks were all wet and there was nowhere that we could safely climb. So we went to the climbing festival that was going on. This was probably the single most fun part of the weekend because they had some super bargains on clothing and gear for the climbing minded. I got a new jacket and a new pair of pants for 8000 yen($77), both of the items significantly reduced from original retail, i might add. I also scored 2 climbing harnesses, one for me and one for Jennifer for the grand sum of 1000yen ($9.50). And i got a chalk bak for 300 yen. It was an extravoganza!!!

I had to think positively because the remainder of the weekend was quite the flop. The next day started positively, I honestly thought I saw the sun peeking out from the clouds. This was not to be however and as soon as we touched the rock it started to rain again, effectively ruining the day for climbing. We then headed back to Nagano and spent a couple of hours in the climbing gym to make up for lost time otherwise. Unfortunately for my carmates, I was the spitting image of Bloodnut the Flatulent and was uncomfortably ripping them all the way home. This was complicated by the fact that my window broke and wouldn't roll down. There are few things substantially more embarassing than calling out your incoming farts to your carmates.

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