echoclimb1.jpg (27417 bytes)Shaun was determined that working in Topeka, Kansas for two months didn't mean he had to give up climbing for the duration. After a few hours of searching, he found Echo Cliff less than fifteen minutes from his hotel. Unfortunately, the 60' cliff was only made of mud and clay--not strong enough for real climbing. This unfortunate situation was turned to advantage, however, as it paved the way for the invention of a new (as far as we know) sport:"Caveman" Kaleb

Mud Climbing!

              The first visit to the cliff--without mud gear--was spent rappelling and surveying the cliff. Eight-year-old "Caveman" Kaleb was awarded the High Adventure Coalition Medal of Honor for his courage when he leaned too close to the ATC and got his hair caught while still 20' off the ground. Shaun held a tight belay to keep him from sliding down any further and aggrivating the situation while Kaleb spent over twenty minutes removing his hair from the rappel device and finally singing the last bit with a lighter tossed up from the ground. Not only did he never complain, even when his feet finally touched the ground and he could hardly stand because the too-big harness (with additional quick-draw suspenders for safety) had put his legs to sleep, but he never quit trying until he got himself free. He was quite proud of his little adventure, and deserves to be.


echohalfway.jpg (24405 bytes)Reaching to set a pick on a small clay ledge, Shaun makes his way slowly to the top.

The biggest mistake was using an ascender on a fixed line for protection, which meant having to slide the ascender up with teeth when a hand could not be spared.



echogroup.jpg (37184 bytes)
The entire gang at the cliff top, plus a few smiling faces on the way down: Lisa, , Max, Dawn.
echoclimb2.jpg (11069 bytes)

Mud Climbing gear greatly resembles Ice Climbing gear except that you use it on mud instead of ice. (Check out real ice climbing or our River Biking page for another example of transitive use of gear.)

An etrier was sometimes used with for footholds on the nearly-bare lower half of the cliff. More technical, aggressive crampons on top rope may have made this unnecessary.

How to get there: Take I-70 west of Topeka three or four exits (to the Rossville, Dover, and something else exit). Turn south and drive seven miles (four of which are unpaved) along the county division road. When you hit pavement again at the K4, turn west (right) for one mile, then left when you see a small power station and machine repair shop on the right. Drive through the fields and you will see Echo Park (very nice) right before a bridge. Cross the river and make your way downstream to the far left of the cliff for the best ascent.

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