Since Ms. Corona (she’s not married in my head, because she’s a strong independent woman that don’t need no man) blessed our lives with her presence there has been a small decline in outdoor shenanigans. Objectives* have been forced on the back burner, so there have been a lot of reading Freedom of the Hills* and Zoom ground school sessions*. But there was one that I couldn’t let go of.
The great Croc traverse! Outside of Vans, Crocs are a go-to when it comes to outdoor footwear for most. For those of you who are unaware, the outdoor industry has been keeping Crocs alive and well for the last 12 years. Why? Well as a president of the Gear Head Association, I will explain.
Crocs Classic Clog Tech Specs:
–Lightweight, weighing in at a mere 4.8oz (per shoe)
-Breathable with scientifically designed hole placements medially, laterally, and superior of the instep and toes.
-Made of the copolymer ethylene-vinyl acetate making them durable and comfortable
-Easy to clean and shed away dirt
-Buoyancy. Yes, they float!
-Roomy enough for your wool sock of choice
-Outsole with enough traction to take on any objective
-Adventure strap for when you need to quickly switch from camp mode to sports mode
Now that you’ve understood the importance of the all-mighty Croc, I want to turn your attention back to this climb. I have sent many warm-ups in my Vans, and now I wanted to take my freshly new Crocs to the crag. It was time to put them to the test. At first the objective was to just wear them for the approach, but hubris arose within me as I tied in. Double checked; hardpoints, double-backed, proper knot, belay check, stoke check…I was ready. Just one more thing…adventure strap.
My heart raced as I started up the 5.7 traverse, I was obviously doing the 5.12 version. “It’s on you Shelby!” Aaron yelled up as I clipped the first draw; he was right, it was all me now. My fingers gripped hard on the credit card thin crimps as the grooves under my feet tried their absolute hardest to grip the granite that under my rock climbing shoes would have stuck like glue.
“I’m slipping!!” I yelled at the 5th and final bolt
“Of course you are, you don’t have any rubber!”
“THE ENTIRE SHOE IS RUBBER!”
I pushed the doubts out of my head and pulled hard to the next move. The next side pull was in my reach, just barely touching the tips of my fingers when it felt like the ground had been pulled out from underneath me. My right Croc flew off like an explosion, I fell in a pendulum motion, trying to get my feet under me to run it out. Finally, at a still place I stood one foot fitted with a beautiful Croc and one barefoot under the wet granite (oh yeah, it’s been raining and thundering this entire time). Gravity got heavy when I realized Aaron started lowering me.
“What are you doing?!”
“I thought the climb was over, you can’t climb in one Croc!”
“Watch me, get me tight!”
After multiple attempts, try-hard noises, and a tiny tantrum, I called it. The crack of thunder right overhead made it an easy decision, but now we have 5 draws clipped in. We quickly pull the rope and tie Aaron in who while wearing his climbing shoes made the climb look like a walk in the park. We scrambled back to the car (20 ft) and head back down the canyon to go grab post climbing ice cream.
Needless to say I didn’t send the Croc Traverse, but this attempt lit a fire in my belly and my stoke. From this day forward I will only train in my Crocs; hang board sessions, laps, down climbs, 4×4’s, everything!
I will be back next season and the Croc Traverse will be mine.
*Objectives: Specific goals, summits, ascents, or climbs. Anything in the works that you have a strategy to obtain the goal with.
*Freedom Of the Hills: The holy bible of the outdoors. That’s it, plain and simple.
*Ground School: Practicing knots, building anchors, placing gear, and drinking beer in the living room or at the base of a crag so you are more than ready when you’re tied in on a climb.