42 orbits

So I hatched a plan for a birthday challenge that incorporated mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, roped climbing, beer drinking, and cake eating.  I planned an early morning start where I would do a leg of biking, then hike up to Moore’s Wall for a leg of bouldering then rope up for a leg of climbing the tall stuff.


Moore’s Wall – aka hero cliff


The plan was to bag about 11 miles of mtb, 1 mile of hiking, 20+ boulder problems, 5 pitches of the finest quartzite on the planet, and however many beers and/or pushups needed to total 42… as in 42 orbits…. er, 42 years!


a cold, but enthusiastic start


‘antsy’ and I rolled out of Winston-Salem just a bit after 6:30 am on Saturday and headed up to the Moore’s Wall climbing access parking area.  We saddled up our bikes and dropped down Hooker Farm Road and began our meandering  way to Moore’s Springs Trails.  ‘antsy’ has a sweet, old-skool Gary Fisher rig that was put to the test riding the rocky trails of Stokes County.



We descended to Camp Sertoma using paved roads, a nice section of singletrack call the Thoob Pool, and some farm double track. ‘antsy’ nancy then took a break at the MST farmhouse, while I rode a full lap of the built trails at MST.  Land of the Lost, Ground Control, and Major Tom all rolled splendidly and dab free.  Well, almost dab free!  The big rock at the high stream crossing on Land of the Lost require me to unclip as did 2 of the burly switchbacks…. but I cleared the rocky switchback on Ground Control easily!

Next up we headed back up to Moore’s Wall for the climbing legs of the Birthday Challenge.



We put in a solid 2 hours of bouldering and knocked out 25+ classic, quartzite tugs.  Our local crew has been gathering on Tuesday evenings for some indoor plastic pulling; without the conditioning provided by these sessions, today’s climbing legs would not be feasible.

I had the good fortune of receiving a new rope for christmas and was waiting for a special occasion or a hard repoint to pull it out of its packaging and send it sliding up some stone.

maiden voyage on a new cord

‘antsy’ and I roped up for a very windy ascent of the Sentinel Buttress.  When we got to the top I wanted to just walk around and back down the gulley instead of rapping the route because of the gusts of wind.  No such option as we had left a water bottle on the crow’s nest ledge… thus we had to do the 2 raps.

some of the finest stone on the planet



Upon getting back to the base of the wall, we opted for a more casual finish to the day in the boulder field, read: out of the wind.  I had easily racked up the requisite 42 with 11 miles of mountain biking, 1 mile of hiking, 27 boulder problems, and 2 pitches of climbing… whew!  For good measure, I consumed 3 guinness and 1 slice of birthday cake that was waiting for me at home… thanks Kimberly!  Gneiss day!  I hope to have the good fortune to do another 42 orbits.


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