Expanding the Never Ending Tick List, April 28 2016 - Mark Rafferty

On my way back to Bozeman, MT I couldn’t help but want to stay in South Dakota. Which is weird because Bozeman is in an ideal location with the mountains and rivers everywhere. I think what I miss the most is the Needle's rock. No place like it. Since I had to work the following morning I rushed and basically threw everything into my van and heading out. Of course I suck at being on time so I left around 6:00 PM with a 7 hour drive ahead of me. My dad did give me some sort of pill that is suppose to keep me awake. It wasn’t Adderall so who knows what it was. I normally don’t mind driving especially in my van but since I have been listened to the same songs on my phone over and over with every drive, I needed to find something new to help me stay awake. Luckily Forrest gave me the idea to listen to a podcast called “Enormocast”. Which is a podcast simply for climbers. On the podcast many professional and iconic climbers come on and talk about their experiences and what not and share it with the listeners of the podcast.

About an hour into the drive “THECABN” starts to show signs of struggle. So I pull off onto the shoulder and as soon as I start slowing down it dies. Normally when this happens I let it sit for a few minutes fire it back up and I’m on the road again. I don’t have enough money to get it fixed nor do I want to spend the time searching for a place to sleep being that this is my home. I keep waiting and trying waiting and trying to start this van back up and it won’t f-ing start. I have absolutely no experience with cars. So I get out; pop the hood, as if I know what to do, and check the oil. Reason being I know nothing about cars. I know how to change a tire, how to put more gas in the tank, and how to check if their is oil.

An hour later my dad, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend come and tow me a few miles up the interstate and into Spearfish, SD at a Walmart parking lot. Both my dad and my brother start checking underneath the car and around the van as if they might find the problem when in fact they know just about as much as I do. So we head into Applebees while we wait for my mom. We decide to swap cars for a few weeks. Since I have to be back for hardware removal surgery anyways.

I was pretty excited when I found out that I was taking my moms car. Reason why is because my mom's car gets 40 mph and is only $30 to fill up compared to my 12 mph and $80 fill up. Listening to the podcast for about 7 hours and taking a non sleeping pill I arrived in Bozeman at my friends house at 4:00 AM. Where their house is a block full of college kids who’s parking situation is overloaded. This being that the city comes in randomly early in the morning to tow the cars that aren’t in parking spots to bag some extra cash. Since I was waking up at 7 the next morning I thought it would be fine to park behind my friends car for a few hours.

Waking up first at 6 to check on the car to make sure it wasn’t towed I head back to sleep till 7. As I head upstairs and brush my teeth and what not, I go outside to find my parents car no where to be found. My first thought was that it had to be stolen but as soon as I called the city they said they had it towed. I was so pissed off. I don’t get mad very often if ever. This however made me fuming. All in all I ended up with $180 chunk out of my pocket and was over an hour late to work tired as can be.

With that being said I have been working around 6 days a week mostly double shifts and I hating it. The big reason I moved to Bozeman was to experience the area and in the past month I’ve gone outside only a few times. The days I have had off it always seems to be shitty weather. The few days that I have had off in the past I headed towards Anaconda to see my sister. On the way to Anaconda there are these two major sections of rock my eyes are  drawn to. The first area you come across is a 300 foot limestone wall that looks to be protected by a private land owner. The other just before Butte being short 10-100 foot granite formations and boulders that form these amazing cracks all over the place. After some extensive researching of these two areas on google maps and guide books I found that many of these areas are undeveloped. This got me super psyched to develop these areas when I come to school here in the fall.

After my morning shift today I went to the local climbing gym to gain information on another climbing area called Revenue Flats. This area is known to host college students to camp, drink, party or is a place try psychedelics. Looking to find any information on Revenue Flats I come across only a couple pages of climbing routes.. From google maps it looks as if there are large amounts of rock that is untouched. So this afternoon I heading out there to check it out. Upon my arrival I was blown away from what I found. All the rocks are the same if not very similar to the type of granite the Black Hills have. Texturized granite rock with lichen and crystals forming on these 100 foot formations. I found myself running around like a little kid imagining myself setting and establishing a new area for the Montana climber community.

Seeing these areas I’ve been adding a never ending Tick List that grows with the stoke of opening up new areas for people to climb. It’s cool to see the changes in myself as a climber over the past couple years. What started off as pushing hard sport routes, went to pushing to new heights and grades with trad climbing, and is now looking at places where no-one else has ever gone. Having this stoke and passion in setting new areas, the biggest struggle I face is  finding that partner that shares the same excitement as mine. Who knows what will come about these next few months?