Two weekends ago we took the kids from our climbing team on an 11+ hour drive to try out the bouldering at the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas. Based on both awesome segments in both Dosage III and V and much verbal hyping, we were expecting no less than a world class bouldering area. As with most things in life, reality often fails to meet one’s expectations.
Now, this is not to say that we didn’t have a great time or wouldn’t go back to the Ranch. The bouldering at HCR is still worlds better than anything within a 5 hour radius of Milwaukee. However, I think that most of us were expecting a similar experience to the bouldering at HP40 in Alabama, and HCR doesn’t quite have the same concentration of high quality problems in the grades we were looking for (V3-V7). We were using the free topo provided by Dr. Topo so perhaps we just didn’t know about everything there was to do.
Overall, HCR is an incredible place to visit. The landscape/scenery is amazing; our visit coincided nicely with the height of fall colors. The cabins are very comfortable and the staff is extremely helpful and accommodating (fresh towels every day). One of the barns even has activities available such as dodge ball, table tennis and basketball, which during the initial rain we experienced proved to be useful. And if you’re looking for a bit more in terms of outdoor adventure, there is always horse dodging and goat fight vieiwing to partake in. All of this, coupled with the climbing, made for a unique experience when compared with other climbing areas we’ve visited.
Mrs. Narc would like to mention that HCR is not ideal in terms of boot of doom accessibility – lots of sloping, rocky paths. It, too, is a bit difficult to dodge horse doo with crutches…. The boulders can be reached, however, with perseverance and a good piggy-back ride or two.
Below are a few pictures from the trip. You can see more on the recently updated Pictures Page, or if you are in the right circles you can see many pictures on The Facebook.
Danny working his way up Momento (V5)…
…and sticking the crux lunge
Tony topping out a cool V3
We came prepared to fall…
Mrs. Narc was not about to let the boot of doom hold her down