Almost Extreme ChaXi – Seneca Rocks

Another Climbing Adventure!

My friend, roommate, and climbing partner, the ineffable Andreas and I spent the first half of Thanksgiving Break climbing Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. It was awesome. Unsurprisingly for the end of November, it was also cold!

Seneca is far more wild than the lovely Gunks, filled with large unbroken faces, steep overhanging crack systems, and a never ending supply of loose rocks to rain down on your belayer.

We survived on campfire food, artisan beer, and home made Bacon Bars.
Yes, that is pureed bacon with nuts and honey… they pack the caloric punch we need for 3 8 hour days of climbing.

Nothing gets the blood pumping like super sketch trad, and yet, for the first time, I finally felt I was secure in my climbing even while pushing my own limits; that’s not to say I was climbing beyond my level in the past, but that my ‘lead-head’ as climbers call it was screwed on tight the entire trip this time. That’s a great feeling!

There’s less daylight for climbing in winter, and because of the nature of the sport, we need to wait till later in the day to begin climbing in winter. Clinging for your life on a mass of cold rock slowly (not so slowly) sucking the warmth and life out of you isn’t fun. We had to wait until the sun had been up for ~3 hours before hiking in.

That gave us a perfect opportunity to ChaXi! I brewed a really nice roasted Taiwanese Oolong from ShanLinShi I picked up in Taiwan this summer on the helipad in the shadow of our mountain. It was beautiful and physically warming.

It took us all 3 days before we reached the summit.
I hope it won’t be my last time on it.

– Jason

Update Dec 22nd:
hover text on the photos now working again!

ChaXi at Poe Paddy State Park

While Pennsylvania may have a low Okapi Count, making it difficult for me to find proper Kosher stakes, the state has a un-surprising glut of beautiful and well kept secrets. Just when Asia started to wear off of my mind, and as I was starting to think State College sits in the middle of nowhere, we drive out to Poe Paddy State Park to brew some tea… Right in the middle of the park, is a spat of private property where people have their homes. Now that’s the middle of nowhere.

Back to the reason you came…
Our group of tea lovers and our new friend Kira (a blossoming tea lover), were in dire need of ChaXi. A drive that took far to long at 10 mph through 2 extra state parks, broken only by the excitement of Car Surfing left us off on a trail of 2 choices; mountain side or river side?

Decision made, we down climbed the bridge built on top of railroad trestles. I used my travel Set and the jet boil to make the Korean Green Tea members of the Institute hand processed with Master Hyo-am on his farm in Gurye this summer.

The flowing river, a setting sun soaked backdrop of shimmering fall leaves, green tea and the sound of water boiling matched with the real wind through the pines; enlightenment was not far off. We brewed till nightfall, conversation flowing, and minds almost clear.

The night still young, we had dinner, craft beer, with a side of live music at Elk Creek in the tiny town of Millheim. It rounded out the days experience. Between niche Nietzsche jokes, travel stories, and a fair bit of bravado all around, dancing to real music (made with actual instruments, which is depressingly rare among students) with a beer in hand, was exactly what the weekend called for.

I’m making ChaXi into a lifestyle.

– Jason