I began climbing in 2011 as a hotheaded kid just returning home from basic training. My friend Parker suggested that we go top-roping at Rocktown (now Summit OKC) in Oklahoma City, and I was immediately hooked. After several months I decided I would take my climbing endeavors outside to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, but was met with a few immediate challenges.
First, I had absolutely no outdoor experience and no seasoned climber to teach me anything.
Second, I had no gear other than my harness, shoes, and chalkbag. Not to mention, I didn’t even know what gear I would need to buy.
Third, I had no partner willing to go with me.
So what does a 20 something year old high on climbing do? Why not just boulder. So I bought myself two pads and headed down to my first trip in the Refuge.
It was a total bust. I wandered around in Charon’s Gardens for hours trying to find Pear and Apple, only to realize I had taken the wrong fork in the trail. At that time there was only scattered chunks of information about bouldering in the Refuge, and it was dispersed across several websites online. Better yet, the Refuge can be an absolute maze to anyone who has never been there before. I remember thinking, “How could a place littered with Bishop sized boulders only have a rope climbing guidebook?”. It would be a few years after that, and several more trips, before I decided that I may be capable of writing that guidebook.
This guidebook will encapsulate the last 7 years of knowledge I have acquired about the Refuge’s bouldering. My hope is that this guidebook will make the Refuge a little more inviting to both your newbie boulderer, and even the most seasoned Oklahoma climbers.