It’s noon on Friday. You’re standing outside RJ2 and the doors are locked. You notice the sign on the door that says Friday 3:00PM-11:00PM, yet when you peer inside you notice the lights are on. Further examination confirms your suspicion: there are people inside. But they aren’t climbing. No, they’re all thirty feet off the deck, balanced precariously atop massive aluminum extension ladders, grappling with brightly colored plastic holds and power tools. What is this? What’s going on?
It’s Cave Day! Utilizing the extra time before the gym opens on Fridays, the routesetters do battle with the imposing lead cave, setting everything from The Jug Haul to The Sick Project for your climbing enjoyment.
Speaking from five years of experience, I can tell you that Cave Days are brutal; setting off the big ladders is terrifying, and hanging from a harness with twenty pounds of jugs strapped to it for three hours is excruciating. Forerunning the routes is exhausting, and there always happens to be a cross-threaded hold or two to contend with. But the end result is a well planned, expertly executed route that beckons to be climbed, and watching customers warm up on The Jug Haul or whip off The Project is reward enough to bring me back next Friday for another round of setting/self-abuse. That, and the solid paycheck.
So the next time you come in on a Friday afternoon, by sure to thank those who spent their morning toiling over a 5.10 out the belly of the overhang. They deserve it.