Oh… but these aren’t the best of it… keep going…
Climbing, in Florida? Yup. Maybe I got carried away in the title. Who knows how epic it is… either not that great or Floridians are keeping a big secret to themselves… however, it’s epic enough to me that there are actually places to climb in Florida. You can’t find that in a book. (Believe me, Steve and I tried.)
You also can’t find much online. The only thing I was able to locate before reaching Florida in October was that the climbing that had been done was deep water soloing on some crumbly coquina (yeah, you climbers probably have never even heard of this stuff) and the location was vague indeed. Only one picture was provided and it was about one inch square.
Granted, you gotta rap into a cave and climb over gators. But who cares? It’s climbing in Florida! I mean, in Red River Gorge, you gotta deal with sweat bees and mosquitoes. What’s something a little bigger… just think of it as one of the inherent risks of climbing.
However, as I mentioned, these are not the highlights of the climbing in Florida. Talking on Twitter today provided a huge leap forward for me in my opinion of my homestate. I was chatting with Life Outside Magazine and just happened to find out they are based in Florida. We had been talking about climbing, so this came as a big surprise. “Where the heck do you climb?” I asked, figuring it was only in a gym. Two seconds later, in jumps Katie Boué of themorningfresh.com. Katie and I had talked a little during The Most Epic Trip but hadn’t covered much ground since. So I was surprised to see her pop up in the conversation. “Hey, hey, hey!” she interjected. “We have climbing in FL!” She then proceeded to link me to her blog with an amazing photo of some solid looking beachside bouldering in south Florida. Prepare yourself. I almost got knocked over.
Ok. It’s Florida. But even taking away that, this is some pretty sweet stuff. For one, it’s overhanging. For two, you’re flippin’ right on the beach. That was enough to spark a frenzied discussion. Eyes wide, I grabbed another climbing Floridian on Twitter, Whitney, to ask if she knew about this. She was as shocked and amazed as I hoped she would be. We fired questions at Katie with unbelief. She proceeded to let one more thing slip: there was sick deep water soloing in Florida, but you have to dive to it.
Gasp. This was all we were looking for on the trip. Steve had been dying for a climb over the water and we never succeeded in achieving that (minus the bouldering on Maine’s oceanside cliffs… not something you jump off into unless you have a death wish). Since this just happened minutes ago (we are still in discussion @ginabegin), I am still getting details on everything.
Katie is sharing the coordinates of the deep water soloing, but giving my Gator word, I can’t divulge where it is, even though she’s a Seminole. However, above is a photo of the entrance. And that’s just the beginning. Now if we could just get some skiing in Florida, we might be on to something…