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Jesse Gross on a November Day in a November Daze a...
Close your eyes.
Sniff the air.
Imagine you are at Sams Throne, Arkansas. It's mid November and you know what you smell. The pungent waft of pine needles mixed with moist soil and lichen crusted rock. The sun and wind collide to create a warm breeze that makes old men nostalgic and young men flex their muscles. It's Autumn in the Boston Mountains, and you are shouldering your pack, filled with shiny toys crafted with the intent of empowering your adventures.
If you have a shred of honesty in your bones, you know this is the best thing you have ever experienced, and tomorrow will be even better. Leaves crunch under your feet like bubble wrap, and float through the air at the encouragement of the ever present breezes. A gust sends them shooting skyward and the sky fills with the colors of decaying perfection.
Your grin and far off stare declare your November Daze.
I emerge from my daze and start heading upwards from the cave on the east side of the Throne Proper. My belayer in a daze himself, nodding and grinning to some inner nymph orchestrated music; the dogs prostrate, playing dead in a heap of twigs and maple leaves.
Campus moves initiate the adventure, escaping terra firma with feet dangling like a child from monkey bars. Not far from the truth. "What the heck do I rate that?" I ask Jesse. 5.7 or 5.11? It's creepy, but fun. Do-able, but fairly frightening. Jesse later breaks off the starting holds while following. Good thing I didn't or I would have rolled into the forest head over heels.
After getting established on the face, pro can be had and a breath of composure. The next moves are fun, and moderate, leading up towards the steep face above. Gear is specific and not many options present themselves. Take your time and find it, because every placement counts. Don't worry, it's bomber.
A few moves to the right avoids the absolute blankness, then back left into the line again, finding a hidden horizontal slot for a 1/2 inch cam. From this rail, a long moves leads to a pocket and a lone bolt. Clip this and encounter the crux moves above, then top out in a November Daze, surrounded by a swirling hillside of oranges, reds and yellows, with blue tipped hills fading in the background, beckoning you to come and find what they have to offer.
Clip the anchors, look out across the valley...
Sniff the air.
You have walked under this line if you have ever climbed at the Throne. On the East face of the Throne Proper, right of "Cinnamon" on the scooped, steep green and red face.
A small rack of small cams in horizontal pods and cracks. A bolt can be stick-clipped for the start or you can traverse in on a ledge from the right to pre-protect. The FA was done without it.