Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 3 Monday June 9th

My first day alone, and it was great to finally take the opportunity to unpack, and setup the tent where it would be for a while and get some breathing room in the car. Did a lot of rope soloing today, just mainly trying to explore.

And is it a bear carrying two ropes plus a rack plus food and water for the day. First formation I went to was called window rock, only a 10 min walk from a main take off point called parking lot rock. Rope solo-ed a 5.6 called Good Times, and then on the TR back up to clean did another 6 right next to it called Pure Pleasure, both nearly identical fun slabby routes with a crack up clean rock.

Trying to hone in on my rusty rope soloing techniques at this point I was leaving the rope on the ground and always having two backup knots tied at my waist. Pretty cumbersome with 4 loops of rope hanging down from you.

Next went up to check out a wall called Animal Crackers. Supposedly had a neat 10 on it with a cool flake feature. A flake commonly occurs on granite and is like a skin of an onion, rather thin and somehow still connected to the main body of the rock. These can be rather delicate but usually provide excellent climbing. Well this on looked rotten and sandy and the 5.6 pitch I was going to lead looked about the same, so given that there are another 100 beautiful formations in the area I decided to move on.

Went up to the back of rabbit rock approached via a narrow corridor. Despite telling myself I was going to take it easy today, spotted a perfect finger tips only crack right in the corridor. Given that it was only 30 feet long I decided to try and Rope solo it anyway even though it was rated 10a. Funny because that is a grade I would think twice about even with a partner, but the grades seem easier here and I was emboldened by waltzing up harder stuff yesterday.

However I forgot to remember that the discrepancies within grades are not just delineated on an area by area basis, there apparently can be a huge discrepancy because “gear routes” where you have to place your own protection, are usually older and along with a more conservative estimate of ones abilities makes them harder for a given grade than “sport routes” where the protection has been preplaced. In any case I got pretty spanked! Took two good falls off the crux before making it up to the top. Could have been the rope solo system however which felt even more cumbersome.

Did one more 5.7 in this location just to get my nerves back, and despite a scary section down low this went fine. I think it was called No Hesitation though I would have to check the book.

Finally I went down to elephant rock and was going to RS a famous route called wheat thin 5.7 when I ran into the guys from the other day. They called me crazy and offered a belay which I gladly took. This route follows a thin (really thin) flake up easy rock, but as the flake gets steeper things get harder. There is a brief layback crux (where you oppose the pressure of your hands with you feet pasted to the opposite wall)which is always scary as its hard to place gear while doing this. The up 20 feet of unprotected rock to the top. I did sling something called a chickenhead which is a knob that sticks out from the rock, though the protection that offered was likely mostly psychological.


Unknown climber on a climb just right of the the one i did called Wheat Thin. You can see the thinner flake and upper wider bit to the left of the climber



Here is all of elephant rock... see the trunk on the left?



Afterwards went on a quick walk to check out some new routes (including the most inspiring line I have seen yet called crack of doom 11c, I will have to give that a go one of these days)

Crack of Doom from the base



Then spent the evening with Clay and Jacob along with their friends Maureen and Chase and their daughter Indeera.

A neat shot taken on top of the car at dusk




Back at the BLM camp it poured all through the nite. But I barely woke up and my tent is apparently quite waterproof.

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