The weekend had been hot and brutal (in the mid/upper-90s, heat index at 100 or more). Hot, humid....just all around nasty. Indy had coerced a few friends into going out and exploring Black Rocks with him earlier on the weekend (this entailed a 6-mile round-trip hike), but did almost nothing (behind a 4.2 mile walk in the heat) during the latter part of the weekend. Come monday morning he was wondering if he would get the opportunity during the week to get out climbing at all, but the prospects looked bleak. So he resigned himself to slaving away in the cold (freezing!) dark cubicle office of work when....
The lights flickered momentarily then dimmed to a reduced level, alarms went off, and the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) kicked in. Somewhere the 'Tute had taken a power hit. It quickly became apparent (after the UPS finally exhausted it's supply of stored electricity) that the power was not going to be restored any time soon. Unbeknownst to Indy and most of the Institute, some construction work on campus had inadvertently severed a powerfeed to many places on campus, including the Institute (this was actually an insidious plot on the part of the Weather God, knowing Indy would be 'hiding' in an air-conditioned building and avoiding the heat/humidity he had so kindly infested this part of the country with). Electrical power was out, phones were down, candles were lit (no, really!)....yep, pretty primitive! The building began heating up, being beaten on by the hazy sun, and so Powers That Be decided that the building would close until power could be restored.
This meant that Indy and Bri and others were free to go play!
Indy quickly sought out Bri and, with William of Tell (the Bill-meister), they decided to go off and get some climbing in (even if just easy stuff; anything to get vertical!). Mosca Man hung on the edges of the conversation, deciding whether or not to join in this escapade, or go hunt down a new refrigerator (his having blew up over the past weekend's heat wave). Others bowed out due to the level of heat outside already.
Having determined who was going (Mosca was leaning towards going), the real question then became...where? Great Falls would be nice, but returning through DC rush hour beltway traffic was more than daunting. Sugarloaf was an idea, but a bit far drive. Rocks State Park was closer, but with the heat/humidity, and the fact that most of the climbs are enshrouded by woods, fresh air breezes (if any existed) would not be easy to find. Indy suddenly hit upon an idea:
"How about we go to Pennsylvania?"
Quick looks were exchanged and a unanimous decision was made - yes!
With one notable exception: Mosca suddenly vanished, as soon as he heard the suggestion to North, TOWARD the dark skies gathering in the north/northwest (Mosca has more experience with Indy and Weather God encounters than the other two). He thus decided he was not going to join the obviously ill-fated expedition and opted to spend the day with the-women-that-occupies-his-every-waking-thought and shop for aforementioned refrigerators.
Next question: where? Indy had a contact with one of the East Coast Climbing Gods (known as ECCG) up in Pennsylvania, but unfortunately with access to the internet temporarily severed, this resource was unavailable. So Indy and crew converged on the abode where Indy has lived for nigh 11+ years (don't ask; Bri is doing her damndest to get him to finish making it liveable again) where they consulted an old tome that Indy had secured in one of his many adventures of long ago: the Climb Pennsylvania guide. A small blue and white book of very abbreviated descriptions, but one which listed nearly 30-some odd places in the state of Pennsylvania to go climb at.
Pouring over the book while the trio ate lunch it was quickly narrowed down that they would try one of two places: Pole Steeple (has a lake nearby to go swim in, and in this heat, that was a major plus) or Chickies Rock (a place Indy had heard of time and again and near to an area of Pa that Indy and Bri frequent on occassion; and slightly closer than Pole Steeple). The two were quickly debated and Chickies Rock won out. They gathered their gear and headed out.
In the meantime, up in northwestern Pennsylvania, the Weather God, having been totally frustrated with missing Indy with most of his last few attempts, gathered energies for an all-out assault from the northwest. Unexpectedly and happily for the Weather God, Indy was coming north-ish, so the Weather God would not have to reach all the way down to central Maryland if he did not need to - but he prepared for that eventuality anyway.
The drive up wasn't bad. In fact, in a shade more than an hour they were parking in a small, two-car 'lot' at the base of a hill on Rt 441. They got their gear together and started hiking in along a well-established trail.
In short order they found rock. Plenty of it. Reaching up through the woods into the sky. Yep, tall rock! Indy drooled. Bri, disgusted, grabbed a napkin and handed it to Indy. Bill-meister tried not to notice and walked on.
Soon the trio found a couple of local climbers who had just come off of a route. The two local climbers pointed out a couple of possible options for Indy and crew to set up, noting lead and top-roping information as necessary. Indy and crew thanked their benefactors and headed up to the top of the first pitch of Library (5.5) to drop a couple of ropes: one over the previously noted route, a second over the face to the left (where some 5.9 route was supposed to go up).
Bri had been bugging Indy to instruct her more in the fine art of top-rope anchor placements, specifically with regards to gear (using natural stuff she was already pretty versed on). Since the ledge (nearly some 80 feet off the ground) had very little in the way of 'natural placements' (eg, nice, fat trees to anchor off of), gear placement practice would be key! Indy scouted some places out and then let Bri find them on her own.
While Bri was getting gear in, Indy heard the a sound. The distant rumble that foretold the coming of The Weather God. Bill-meister appeared not to have heard anything yet, as did Bri. But Indy's trained, calibrated, and experienced ears picked up on the sound like a dog does with a dog whistle (this is not to say that Indy is a dog...although that's left to interpretation!). Looking to the northwest Indy saw the clouds were darker there than elsewhere (oh, and like anywhere was clear). Hmmm. Bad sign...
As Bri worked on putting in bomber gear in for anchors, the Weather God made his nearby presence known by increasing the sound level of the rumbling. Bill-meister looked up, somewhat worried, suddenly realizing whom he was out here to climb with. The skies darkened, the wind picked up, the rumbling became distinct sounds of thunder. In the distance Indy and company could see the greyish sheets of rain coming down...and coming their way. A discussion as to what to do next followed. Until...
Indy saw the first direct bolts of lightning just a few miles away. Quickly they tore down the anchors (the ropes were never dropped) and scrambled down. The rains started just as they hit the trail back to the car. By the time they reached the Bri-mobile, it was a downpour.
(Mosca, having remained in Baltimore, did not get wet until much later in the evening when he ran out in the downpour after remembering that both automobiles had open windows)
Thus endeth the day. They piled in Bri's car (after doffing their gear into the back) and headed back to B'moreland. This round went to the Weather God.