Adventure Archives - Sender One Climbing
Climbing After Rain | A Guide to Wet Rock

Climbing After Rain | A Guide to Wet Rock

It has been a pretty wet winter here in Southern California!  While we are headng into Spring, we are sure there are still some rainy days ahead!  With all this wet weather, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the common question: when is it okay to climb in/after the rain? 

The answer to this question really comes down to what type of rock you are hoping to climb, and is super important when it comes to taking care of our local crags, and leaving a minimal impact when we adventure outdoors.  Check it out! 

 

Sedimentary Rocks

Photo of sandstone at Calico Hills in Red Rock, Nevada (from https://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/calico-hills/)

Sandstone

Sandstone is the beautiful, usually reddish in tone, rock found in places like Red Rock, Nevada and Indian Creek, Utah.  Sandstone is a sedimentary rock that absorbs moisture, therefore when it rains (or snows!), a lot of water ends up soaking into the rock.  As the rock’s surface gets wet, the cementing agents within the rock are weakened, therefore the rock itself loses a significant amount of strength.  This results in the rock breaking apart while wet, especially when put under the pressure of a hand or foot!  Unfortunately several routes at Red Rock have lost holds due to people climbing them before the rock was dry.  

A good way to tell if the rock is ready climb is to see if the ground is dry on the way to, and at the base of, the climb.  If the ground is still moist (not sandy and dry), then it is good to assume the rock is still wet, even if it seems dry on the surface!  Give it at least a good 24-36 hours (sometimes longer!) after rain before attempting to climb sandstone that has been wet!  If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to ask local climbers or local climbing coalitions for their suggestions about climbing regarding recent weather.

Photo of conglomerate rock at Maple Canyon in Utah (from Mountain Project)

Conglomerate Rock

Conglomerate rock is a form of sedimentary rock that contains pebble- and cobble-sized clasts embedded within sediment.  This kind of rock is found in Maple Canyon, UT, and locally in Texas Canyon near Santa Clarita, CA.  As it is a sedimentary rock, it absorbs moisture much like sandstone, and should be avoided when wet.  Again, note your surroundings and take stock of the rock and ground conditions.  If the ground is wet, take a rest day! The rock will be there and ready for you to climb once it is dry! 

 

Igneous and Metamorphic Rock

Photo of granite at Joshua Tree National Park in CA(from Mountain Project)

These types of rock include granite, quartz, and volcanic rock.  These rocks are not very absorbent to moisture and are considered okay to climb when wet (though that rubber on your shoe may not stick as well!).  This means climbing wet rock in Joshua Tree National Park, or Holcomb Valley, will not impact the rock any differently than when climbing it while dry.  You may feel more slippery than usual, however, therefore caution should be used to minimize risk of injury. 

 

What do I do if it rains?

Sender One SNA (Santa Ana, CA)

Sender One LAX (Los Angeles, CA)

If your climbing plans have been soured by the rain, then take the opportunity to go for a drive, take a hike, explore someplace new, or come climb at Sender One Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness!  With locations in Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, our door is always open to provide your climbing fix, rain or shine! 

Sender One Member Spotlight: Cliff Torrijos

Sender One Member Spotlight: Cliff Torrijos

Interview By: Brianne Schaer (@brianneschaer)

Images from Cliff Torrijos (@eatsleepclimbthings)

If you climb at Sender One LAX, you may have seen Cliff Torrijos crushing his training while with his five-year-old son, Bishop isn’t too far away.  Cliff climbs at the gym as often as possible, and has hit crags near and far to chip away at his tick list.  Anyone lucky enough to meet Cliff will immediately notice the love of climbing that he possesses, as well as his drive to improve his skill and ability to mentor younger climbers.

Cliff has been climbing at Sender One LAX since the gym opened in 2017. He maintains an active presence on the community Facebook page and has forged lasting relationships with his fellow members both in the gym and outside, all while balancing ongoing commitments like a full-time job and raising his son.  Cliff took some time to share some insights into what has worked to improve his climbing and his sources of inspiration.

Read the interview below:

Hanging out and having fun!

When did you start Rock Climbing? How did you get your start?

I first started climbing about 11 years ago, but I took a three-year break and just got back into it at the beginning of last year. I was always interested in the sport and decided to finally take an intro class at a gym while living in the DC area. A few months later I moved to Beijing, China and took vacations all around Asia where climbing was just as important as sightseeing.

Cliff climbing in Tonsai.

How long have you been climbing at Sender One? What do you like most about the gym?

I moved back to California early last year – only a few weeks before Sender One LAX opened to the public. So it’s been almost a year and a half now! The length of the climbs is the biggest draw for me. I almost exclusively sport climb so it’s the best in the area for my training.

What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to climb and would like to improve?

My best advice is to simply climb as much as possible. In the early stages of becoming a climber, learning and refining technique is the best way to improve. Try to get in a lot of “mileage” by climbing at least three times per week. Get outside and experience different types of rock. Work on your flexibility. Don’t worry about getting “stronger” in the early stages – strength will increase over time as your muscles and tendons adapt to the unique stresses of climbing. Just focus on having fun and learning the balance and movement!

Cliff climbing the torch at Sender One LAX.

What are some of your favorite climbing destinations? What makes them special?

Despite picking up climbing somewhat late in life, I’ve been extremely lucky to have been able to travel and climb to many exotic locations, including Thailand, Spain, China and Mexico. I really got into climbing while living in China, so I traveled all throughout Southeast Asia to climb. In my first three years as a climber, I was able to experience climbing in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia.

One of my favorite climbing destinations is Tonsai in Thailand. I’ve spent more than five months there in my life, including 60 days just in 2017! The people, the food, the beaches, and the climbing are all incredible. I just love the steep and 3-dimensional limestone there. It’s something that simply doesn’t exist here in the U.S. The vibe there is extremely laid back so it’s easy to meet people. There are climbs right on the beach where people end up congregating in the evening so there’s always plenty of opportunities to meet climbing partners.

Another favorite climbing destination is Kalymnos. I visited the Greek island in April for the first time and it was amazing. The climbing is similar to Tonsai: steep and 3-dimensional but without the heat and humidity. I’m definitely trying to go back there ASAP.

Cliff climbing in Kalymnos.

Please share some of your climbing goals for 2018. What are your strategies for accomplishing them?

My high-level climbing goals for 2018 are to redpoint one 13b and two 5.13a’s. A few months ago, I ticked one 13a at Echo Cliffs and was feeling good about reaching the goal. But then I sustained a few injuries that have kept me from working my other projects. I’m trying to do some light climbing while I recover and then my plan will be to focus on hangboarding. Finger strength is one of my weaknesses so I need to address that aspect of my climbing in order to progress.

Describe your training plan. Do you have any favorite workouts (both climbing and non-climbing)? Any food/snacks that you always ha