Two climbers were rescued recently after a day in the park turned scary. Apparently the two climbers ignored signs warning of the dangers of climbing in the park.
GOG Park has been a long time favorite climbing place for local Colorado Springs residents. The sandstone formation that makes up the park provides an unparalleled surface for climbing. The stone is similar to that of 100 grit sand paper. The rock sticks like glue to the rubber soles of climbing shoes and tennis shoes and sandals etc. It is very easy to find yourself 50 to 100 feet up in a short time. Coming down is not so easy. Climbers must sign in at the GOG Visitors Center attesting to their climbing ability and knowledge of the rock prior to climbing.
Every year in the height of tourist season Search and Rescue gets the opportunity to bag some game. Rescue teams are called to the Park to remove frozen climbers that have gotten stuck on a precarious ledge.
The climbers rescued this week were climbing on Balanced Rock, one of the most famous rocks in the park. The two climbers were attempting a never before climbed route on the bottom side of the Monolith. The pitch was rated 6.0, also called a ceiling route. This type of maneuver includes negotiating the tiny cracks of the rock while hanging upside down. The ultimate machismo in climbing is to do this without the security of a rope.
Concerned citizens called for the rescue when one of the climbers was unable to release his grip from the rock, frozen in fear. The lack of rope had brought many an onlooker to witness the feat. When Search and Rescue arrived the climber had been stuck for nearly 30 minutes. Unable to talk the climber down Search and Rescue prepared for an evacuation.
At that moment a child visiting the area from New York suggested that tickling the climber in his armpits might release his grip. The young girl walked around the rock to where the climber was and did just that. The climber screamed and laughed at the same time as he fell to the rock below. The young girl pointed out to the climber the sign warning of the dangers of rock climbing in the Garden of the Gods.