2007 Annual Spring Fling Report

The Texas Mountain Raiders celebrated their 3rd Annual Spring Fling on April 14th & 15th this year. The event was a huge success, especially in part due to the organizers and volunteers, but also due to the excellent turn-out from members and guests, all things considered...

In a recent note to our club email list, here's what our president, Kevin Spinnato, had to say about the event:

I wanted to send out a note to everyone and thank you all for coming out and making the Spring Fling another great success this year. For the second year in a row the weather was a bit 'spicey' on Friday night, but the day of the event turned out great...nothing like tradition right.

The numbers are still coming in, but we had roughly 40 people at the event on Saturday and that is fantastic as far as I'm concerned for a group our size. Paul and James were thinking the numbers might have been a bit higher if the Tornado's hadn't been predicted, and as it turned out, showed up on Friday night, but everybody stayed safe and we lost no tents like the year before so all is well.

In fact, it seems that Friday night storms are becoming quite the tradition at the annual event as Kevin mentions. This year, we were greeted with some pretty cold weather for the climbing on Saturday. All in all, it still turned out to make for some pretty darn good climbing weather. However, it wasn't no picnic at the pavillion later during the evening.

This year was also significant for TMR, as our past president Bryan Thome stepped down as club president after many years of dedicated service, not only to TMR, but service to the climbing community in general. The club decided to honor Bryan at the event by presenting him with a photo album containing climbing pictures with various club members over the years, along with a gift certificate to REI. Once again, the club thanks Bryan for his years of dedicated service as club president. Thanks to long-time club member Jon Bursnall for putting together a really awesome photo album.

TMR also would like to welcome Kevin Spinnato as our new president as he takes over the reins from Bryan. Thanks for stepping up and filling in some pretty big shoes, Kevin. We know you'll be an excellent club president.

2007 also marked a slightly different approach to the concept and planning of the group climbing experience at Enchanted Rock. The idea was to mix things up and not fall back on the tendancy to simply hit the back-side, or split up into smaller groups. The organizers strived to conceive a plan that would keep the club somewhat close together, provide a variety of climbing style, as well as a variety of route grades.

In his note, Kevin went on to say:

The event has always been about us, the Houston climbing community.

The event's roots were founded on ROI - return on investment. What is something that you and I as club members can point to for your $20 dollars a year dues? There are a lot of non-tangible things like access to people to climb with and trips to go on, knowledge from other club members, and clinics. But was there a need for something else? The event founders thought so, and that is how it came to be.

This year was the 3rd annual Spring Fling and we did things a little differently this year. Instead of putting people on the backside of the Main Dome climbing slab routes at Cheap Wine and Devil's Slide, we opted to mix it up this year. We had envisioned a circuit type route setup, where you would top out on one route and rap down on another and make kind of a figure 8 pattern. Due to the low numbers in volunteers it didn't quiet work out like we had hoped, but it still seemed like everyone had a great time.

My perspective was limited from where I was belaying for the day and I didn't get to talk to a lot of people through out the day, so I wanted to get your take on the event. Not so much that you liked it and you want it to happen next year, that isn't even a question for us. This event will continue for as long as there are willing people to work the event. What I'm looking for is things that you would have like to seen done differently. Since this event is about us, we need to have the say in the event. Not that every request will be met, but if you would have like to do more multi-pitch routes, but none were available - that is the kind of feedback we are looking for. My big question - is the lost wall area a place people would like to go back to? I had heard comments like 'this is great, I have never climbed in this area before'. I also heard comments that said 'the approach was the hardest climb of the day'. So I'm just looking for some feed back from the group to see what you would change for next years event.

Unlike Saturday, the weather on Sunday was absoutely gorgeous. Those that stayed and climbed or just hung out at E-Rock or in town, enjoyed some fabulous Texas weather that is quite rare - sunny, not too hot, not too cool, low humidity, and no clouds. What a way to finish up the climbing trip!

Kevin finished his note with:

Thanks again to everybody who worked the event and put it all together in the months prior to the weekend, and thanks to everyone else for coming out and having a great time at the event. We can all look forward to SF08 next year.

Kevin Spinnato
TMR President

This link is to a slide show by Vincent Pages displaying his excellent pics taken during the event. http://vppages.online.fr/climbing/2007_SpringFling.mov Thanks for capturing the moment and providing these pictures for the rest of the club to enjoy, Vincent.

Here is a link to some video that Bryan Trammell, our honorary Colorado member, put together as well. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8352226369082640174


Content copyright © 2007, Texas Mountain Raiders - Photos by Vincent Pages