Pre-Trip Report, Going to the Sierras

29 08 2008

As Lizzy has already posted, she will be gone for the next three weeks leaving me scrambling to find climbing partners. Since moving to California last June Lizzy has been my main climbing partner and we try to climb just about every weekend. Sometime school intervenes or the California winter throws a bit of rain our way but usually we get to climb together a lot.

This steady outdoor climbing partnership contrasts greatly to climbing at the gym. With each new place I have climbed it has taken a while to find my place in the community. In San Diego I have made my way through a few different partners and in recent months have finally started climbing and training regularly with one of the guys at the gym.  Stein has proved to be a great partner and we have just started climbin outside togeather. With more years of expereince he is helping me move past my falling fears and is training me to become a quarrymaster.

This weekend, however, I am leaving my project behind at the quarry (hopefully it wont go anywhere) and heading up to Tuolumne and the Sierras for a bit of trad climbing.  While I really want to send Control Freak, since I have done all the moves and can climb the route in two sections, it will be nice to do a bit of easier climbing. It will be good for my fingers and elbows to not have to pull so hard and hopefully I wont suffer too much with all the hiking.

We are driving up today, as soon as Konstantin can get off work, and camping in Tuolumne. Tomorrow morning we will try for a speedy ascent of the Third Pillar of Dana, via the regular route. Time dependant we will hike into the Incredible Hulk Saturday night and collapse in an exhausted heap at the base. Sunday, hopefully with the hiking complete, will be a long day on the Red Dihedral. Finally we will hike out and drive back on Monday, some how if we are not still tired we may attempt to do the first continuous ascent of a new route a few of the guys over at pullharder established on Lone Pine Peak. The money pitch sports 15 hand drilled bolts protecting a glorious 200 foot long dike.

In other news Patagonia has just gone live with a new video and photography site called Tin Shed to honor its predecessor, the Chouinard Equipment Company. A list of videos can be found here and thanks to Dougald MacDonald for the heads up.

Also in the works should be a review of the Black Diamond C3’s. While Lizzy and I have a preference for Aliens, EMS had C3’s on sale and with free shipping so I picked up the three smallest sizes 000, 00 and 0. These represent blue alien size and below. I had heard mixed reviews of the smaller ultralight TCU’s including a story of some broken units from an old Sonnie Trotter blog so I am hesitant to buy them. As well the smaller sized master cams are only just becoming available which is sad since they place well, though they can be difficult to remove.

I will try to keep updating the blog although there will be less content and photos with Lizzy and her camera away from the internet in the hills outside of Bishop.

Cheers,

Luke

Advertisements




No Lizzy Posts for a While

26 08 2008

Sometimes, there are things other than rock climbing that happen in our lives. I am about to experience one of these things. Starting Friday, I will be out in the desert for 3 weeks for Caltech’s field camp, a pretty standard experience for geology students that involves going out into the field, walking around a lot, and figuring out what is going on with the rocks out there.

Although I’m not excited about not getting to see Luke or go climbing for so long, I am still excited to go out and learn a lot. Geology is one of those fields where you tend to learn a lot more out in the field than in some classroom and I always come back from most field trips really motivated about geology, which will be a good way to start my senior year.

So you’ll probably only get to read Luke’s posts for a while, but hopefully he will still be doing some sweet things while I am busy – starting with the Third Pillar of Dana and the Red Dihedral on the Incredible Hulk this coming weekend.

Best,

Lizzy





Exploring Possibilities – Trying Harder Projects

26 08 2008

Surprisingly enough, Luke and I seem to be in similar places with our climbing right now. Neither of us is really climbing as hard as we could because we are limiting ourselves by what we think we can do and what we think is safe. Although it can be frustrating to be in this position, it’s good to recognize that our minds and fear are our main limiting factors because we can work on those problems.

This was one of the goals for our climbing last weekend. We headed to the Quarry on Saturday morning to meet up with Stein and Jake. Luke warmed up on Original Sin (5.11b, drilled pockets, which we’ve both sent already), I followed it, and we both toproped a neighboring 5.12, which I was able to get through except for pulling through one powerful move with the magical nylon jug…

Stein heads up Control Freak to put up the draws for Luke.

Then we headed over to Luke’s project, Control Freak (5.13a/b – his first 5.13 project!), which has a tricky mental crux followed by a difficult deadpoint crux that requires a lot of focus. While Luke was working on his project, I had the opportunity to try a potential project for me – Megalomania (5.12a, 12!! bolts) – which I was able to toprope twice in between Jake’s lead efforts on it.

This is the first 5.12 sport climb that I’ve ever considered projecting, which is a big step for me. I’ve already broken into this realm (although not sent anything yet) with several routes in Indian Creek and, of course, The Project itself, Equinox. Megalomania could definitely be a good project for me. It has two definite cruxes, one in the middle and one right at the anchor. The top crux especially is super powerful, involving a really long, powerful reach off an undercling to a sidepull that I really have to lean into to use. The middle of the route has some not as hard, but still interesting and pumpy, climbing on crimps and a no-hands rest that apparently you’re not supposed to use, but since it seems to me very contrived not to use it and chalk marks indicate that pretty much everyone does, I plan on using it. The main problem is that I can’t cheat through the lower crux, so in order to work the route I will have to figure out how to do this part.

Stein on Control Freak.

Meanwhile, Luke gave Control Freak several tries, but was repeatedly stopped by his mental crux, which was pretty frustrating for him. Stein tried Tattoo, which seemed harder than the 5.13a it’s given in the guidebook, perhaps since a large piece of rock that formed the 5.11 traverse, Feeding Frenzy, fell off the wall within the last year or two.

Sunday we planned on heading to Echo Cliffs to work on some old and new projects and get our pump on. We had a bit of a late start, so we were hiking out in the midday heat around noon, which was quite tiring.

Luke tried to warm up on Restrain This, a 5.11b that we’d never tried before. However, the route had a ridiculously long move that took him a couple tries to get. I followed the route, but was very frustrated by the extremely long move – it was literally longer than my armspan. There were some small, crappy holds that maybe could have allowed one to climb around the long move, but the holds were obviously not intended to be used – they were quite loose and scary. So I used the nylon jug again and sent the pumpy but not too hard climbing above. Not the ideal start to the day, plus I was still tired from approaching in the hotness.

Luke moved on to working on his old project on the Pink Wall, Meager and Weak (5.12c). He spent a while remembering and re-working the beta, then moved on to real redpoint burns. After a couple tries and mastering a mental crux, he finally sent, with much encouragement from his belayer! This was Luke’s first redpoint of the grade and I am SO proud of him! He kept going through the scary bits, even though he was still scared! Luke has been working hard recently, with help from Stein, to get past the plateau he has been experiencing recently and I think all this work is starting to pay off!

Afterwards, we headed back over to the Left Flank and Java Walls, which were in the critical late afternoon shade. I re-warmed up by onsighting a 5.10a on the Left Flank, which was not particularly exciting or hard (funny to think that this grade used to be difficult for me) but had rather spaced-out bolts. We had considered trying one of the many 5.11s on the Java Wall, which would all be good projects for me, but I felt too tired to onsight any of the easier ones, and Luke was too tired to do any of them. So we decided to call it a day and walk back out to the car (in the shade!) and drove to Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Santa Monica for dinner. Mmmmm shrimp taco… sooo good!

It maybe wasn’t the most successful weekend for me (especially compared to our last trip to Charleston), but it was still a great learning experience. Although Luke was disappointed about not sending his project at the Quarry, he did send Meager and Weak, which was still a great accomplishment. A weekend well spent!

Bonus photo #1: Me wearing a flying pig hat at the cute and eccentric Ajax Cafe in Port Hadlock, WA.

Bonus Photo #2: Maddy in her silly Ajax Cafe hat.

Lizzy





Blog Links Update

18 08 2008

It seems that lot of people enjoy my last list of blog posts. Since outdoors types rarely post multiple times per day I can keep up with a pretty sizable number of outdoor blogs.

You can subscribe directly to all of these or through my feed of them.
For the OutdoorNews list at the bottom there is a separate feed.

Many of the links below go directly to the RSS so you can get the feed for the site.

Not all of these blogs are still being updated and a few are redundant.
Checkout my earlier post for a bunch more blogs.

If you read our blog feel free to leave a comment with your blog info. If anyone has must read climbing and outdoors blogs let me know.
Enjoy,
Luke

.: Blogs My Cliff Buddies :.

A Rock
Alpine Climbing
Alpine Style!
Alpinist Mountain Standards
Ant’s Rant
Asana Climbing Blog

Bass for your Face
Bent Gate Mountaineering Blog
Big UP Blog – UPDATED

CHRIS WEBB PARSONS
climb8a
ClimbingVibe
Climbingwallindustry.org
ColoCalders – Kate and Mark

Dan Levison
Dave Ayton
Dean Lords
der crankenfrank
DiRTbaG dIArY
Dream In Vertical – Our New Blog
Drew’s Adventures

every other orange

Final Frontier: An Outdoor Blog
Flapper
Fun Climbs Around The World

Gregory Goes There
Grrrlie Chronicles

Hey Coach John
I’m Kind of a Big Deal – James Lucas
Isaac’s Blog
Its a wonderful life with Danny

Jerry Dodrill
JPWill’s Place
Just hang out and climb!!

Life with Louie – Louie Anderson
Lloyd Climbing Blog
LVMROCK

Nathan Smith – Pull Photography
Northface Expeditions
Nowra Rocks
NW Granite – Kelly Sheridan

operation crankola

Paul’s Web Crag
Phil’s Training Blog
pimpin’ and crimpin’
Project Drop Trees – Wes Miraglio

restless planet
Ryan K Olson Photography

Santa Barbara Bouldering.com
SendAustin!
So what kind of Jazz is this
Southern Sierra Climber
SteepMedia – VIDEO PRODUCTION
Susánica Tam

Taylor Roy
Team Mammut
Tekkies
The CragBaby
The Flow
The Progression
the snaz – jackson hole videos online
The Thought – Alan Moore
The Wasatch Report

use real butter – Gourmet at Altitude
Utahclimbers.com

Velvet Antlers Blog – Clair MacLeod
vice/virtue
VICHO-KORLEONE
Videoclimb.com, The best climbing videos on the net

Wandering Intrepidity

Way The Hell Up There
Welcome to climbidaho.com
Welcome to rockymedia

OutdoorNews

The following blogs are international or running or mountaineering related.

.:. Cordada Infinita .:.
Aurora News
Brian Spiering Birthday Challenge 2008
Live For The Outdoors – Gear Reviews
Live For The Outdoors – News
Miles and Miles of Abbie
Motivación
My SoCal Trail Running
National Geographic ADVENTURE
OUTDOORSmagic
Paul’s Outdoor Adventures
SNEWS®: All Content
Summit Stones & Adventure Musings…By DSD
The Adventure Blog
The Adventurist
wicked outdoorsy





Pushing Limits by Projecting

18 08 2008

In the past I have been hesitant to project routes because I would not have the time to return and complete them. However in order to start sending harder routes I believe that I need to try things that are above my current sends. Currently I have been plateauing around 12b. While i have yet to onsight the grade I have send a few 12b’s 2nd go and have onsighted 12a. To make matters worse I haven’t even tried very many routes harder that 12b. I think that I have lead less than 5 routes 12c or harder.

Over our long weekend at Mount Charleston I was trying to allow my fingers time to recover while gaining stamina. A hardcore regiment of bouldering had proved detrimental to my tendons and my fingers had been hurting for two weeks. 11c is a good difficulty for me and one of my favorite grades. While I did my first 11c way back in March of 2005 I am still entertained by the climbing. It is not quite 5.12 so there can be good holds and a 11c in my style can be a good onsight.

Lizzy wanted to go to Robbers Roost and I was happy to do a bit of hard climbing on The Burgler. At 12c I had jumped on it last time because I knew it was good for me since I would need to try hard. But back in June I did not think that I could send it even though it was within my phyical limit. Talking to Felix, one of my friends at the gym, about his send of the route raised my pyche and helped me see that the route was possible. The blocky start had totally shut me down on my previous trip and I got scared on lead and didn’t even finish the route.  This time was different and I was able to find a powerful sequence through the opening holds. Body tension and underclings allowed me to gain the crimpy mid section and finally the upper underclings. More tenuous smears lead to the anchors and I had fallen my way to the top.

A few more trys and I linked through the bottom crux and was at the no hands rest. Keeping my motivation high i worked my way up to my second crux. A tricky right hand gaston led to a full exenstion left hand stab into an undercling. With a grunt I was still going but my arms were turing into putty. Motivation sapped I lost my steam and gave up only two bolts before the anchor. Even without the send I was happy. I had pushed hard through the bottom crux and had made it higher than I ever expected. The end moves are still physical and I need to add some endurance before I try again.

While Lizzy was getting cooked up in the Squamish heat this past weekend I had a nice morning at the Riverside Quarry. While it was supposed to hit 92 in Riverside a 6am start and shade until 1pm allowed for a lot of climbing. It was a bit muggy in the morning but with a nice breeze friction was great by noon.

I met up with Stein and Leah at Vertical Hold and we made our way to the quarry. We were climbing around 8am on the classic warm up, Original Sin. It felt much less pumpy this time and after everyone lead it we put a rope on the first part of Sky Pliot to the right. It was my first time on this route so I watched for beta. It was fun and despite mis-sequencing and falling it was a good time. Leah and I then top roped Sins of the Flesh 12d/13a to warm up our fingers for crimps. It was very fun and I climed it clean until the crux. A long lockoff from a good edge followed by some super small holds and then a powerful sequence on opposing side pulls to a jug. Stein skipped this one mentally preparing for his project, Control Freak 13a/b.

On his first try, this visit, Stein came close to sticking the crux deadpoint and then came down to conserve energy. The movement on the route was pretty straightforward but finding all the holds was tricky. A few easy moves lead off the ground to a tricky left traverse at the third bolt. After gaining the first ledge I got a good shake and then crimped up to a hidden left hand hold. This allowed passage to the fifth bolt and the best rest on two large jugs with good feet. Proper recovery was key because the technical first crux was next!

After manteling these two jugs you got a small right hand crimp and slapped out left to a poor sloper. Slapping up again gained a better sloper and allowed a crucial foot switch. Now well above the last bolt a high left foot allowed a cross off the sloper to a good crimp. It was easy to barn door off this move which would send you flying on lead. From the crimp you reached high to a good hold and the next clip. On this high left hand you recover best possible to get ready for the main crux. Directional crimps lead to the next clip and the crux deadpoint. From a good left crimp and a poor right sidepull you lunge for a diagonal edge just above the bolt. I was able to stick this move a few times but need to get it more dialed for the redpoint.

Once you stick the move you have to bring your feet up high on a bad right hand hold and do a dynamic left hand bump to a good edge before the next bolt. This leads to much easier climbing including a fun jump to a jug above the last bolt. A few quick moves on jugs and you are at the anchor.

We top roped this route a bunch of times and I lead it once with a bunch of falls. I was able to do all moves on lead and need to work on relaxing enough to link from the ground into the crux deadpoint. It was super exciting to be working on a hard route that was more in my style. Both Seduction and Sins of the Flesh had very small holds and I struggled to do many of the moves. With some more work I feel that Control Freak could be quite doable and hopefully I can try it again this weekend.

Even with falls it was very motivating to lead my first 13. The focus necessary for the first crux allowed me to move past my fear of being above the bolt. I was completely in the moment and had my cleanest link of the first crux on lead. I have been trying to get past my fears of falling and Stein has been very supportive. It was also helpful to watch him fall from the first and second cruxes without consequence.  Mentally this weekend was a big step and even though I don’t feel any stronger and didn’t send anything. As Stein has told me many times the key is to be relaxed. I agree and by letting go of my fear and just climbing I was able to perform much better.

– Luke





Squamish is (not) Ripe Berries

16 08 2008

Because none of the blackberries were ripe! What crap!

Well, I’ve returned from a very brief excursion to Squamish with my sister Maddy. Despite the shortness of our visit, I think we managed to make good use of our time. We left Poulsbo early Thursday afternoon, reaching Squamish a little after 7pm after encountering some traffic and a little wait at the border. The border patrol guy who swiped our passports (and some people at the crag) seemed a little concerned that the 2 of us were going climbing by ourselves. Whatever, dude, I’m 20 years old and I’m perfectly capable of rock climbing without a dude to help me! (Although Luke is still my favorite climbing partner 😀 )

Maddy trying out a V4 in the woods below the Grand Wall

Anyways, we got to the climbers’ campground at the base of the Chief only to find it all full! But we decided not to stress about it and go for a short boulder sesh before it got dark. Well, it was mostly Maddy going for a boulder sesh and me tagging along and fooling around on a couple problems (I sent a v1, woo, haha). At our third boulder, we came across Bryce, one of Maddy’s teammates at the gym, and his family. I guess they were on family vacation in Squamish – crazy. Maddy and Bryce worked and sent this weird v3 mantle problem. I flailed a few times and then decided I still wanted skin on my leg for the next day.

Maddy follows the super-fun Quarryman, 5.8

It was dark and after 9pm by the time we headed into town to get some dinner at Boston Pizza, which is a nice chain restaurant that does pizza, pasta, sandwiches, etc. Then we headed to the exorbitantly expensive, but close, Klahanie Campground, which was CAD$25.20 for one night. Oh well. But then our tent, which is one of the ones that needs stakes to set up, had no stakes. So we slept outside on the ground, which was not too bad.

Approach shoe. Maddy was playing around with the macro function on my camera.

We got up a little before 7am on Friday morning, packed up, ate some muffins, saw a lot of cute little bunny rabbits frolicking around the campground, and headed to the Smoke Bluffs parking lot. We headed up to Penny Lane, where there are several 5.11 crack climbs that I wanted to try (Luke and I had gotten on one, Crime of the Century 5.11c, before, which Luke onsighted and I followed clean first try). I wanted to do a warm-up and I’d never done the classic Quarryman, 5.8, before, so we headed over there. The route was fun and awesome, with cool moves and great gear. It was a good intro to the day to onsight something so easily and so relaxed.

Placing the first nut on Crime of the Century, 5.11c

When we walked back over to Crime of the Century, which I wanted to try to redpoint, there was an Asian couple getting ready to try it (by which I mean flailing at the bottom), so I decided to change plans and head over to another climb I wanted to try, Partners in Crime, a 5.11a fingercrack. I racked up and set off on the route. The first move was a long reach off a wet fingerlock, but then there was a handjam to re-chalk before setting off on the harder moves above, which involved some balancey, tensiony layback moves since the crack couldn’t be jammed straight-in. I was placing my 4th cam when I fell (yes, I took a real fall!) onto a yellow alien. Then I took another fall on a yellow alien a little higher. Part of the problem was that it was really hot in the sun, so the friction was not great and I was sweating like crazy. Finally, the climb got slabbier and had a couple of no-hands rests, so I made it to the top, set up a toprope anchor, and had Maddy me lower me down to the shade at the base. Maddy did great following the route, only falling once.

More still life with climbing gear by Maddy

After we’d both done Partners in Crime, we felt pretty lethargic from spending so much time in the sun while climbing, so we had some snacks and drank a lot of water back at the base of Crime of the Century. I’d have liked to try Partners in Crime again, but I didn’t think it was worth the effort because it was so sunny and hot and success didn’t seem imminent. I’d love to try it again when it’s cooler and I’ve actually been doing some more trad climbing in preparation, although the next trip to Squamish is probably far in the future.

Rehydrating in the shade

After a lot of delay tactics, I was finally ready to try Crime of the Century. I placed 2 nuts to protect the beginning crux move (one from the ground, one from slightly above the ground). I started from the ground, pulled the crux after several tries (and hangs), and was making good progress until I hit the upper crux, which has slopey, too-big locks and smears for feet, where I decided to take a rest because I was pretty pumped and I’d already not climbed clean from the ground. After a little rest, I kept going, but stopped again about 5 feet from the changing cracks bit at the top because I had somehow gotten a really bad flapper on the sweet spot on my left index finger (the spot that gets the most contact in the fingerjams). So I cam jugged 2 or 3 moves to save my finger for the last bit, where you have to place a cam, switch cracks, and balance up to some slopers that you mantle, at which point the last cam is WAY below your feet. I took a breath, started climbing, and it was all over before I knew it – not bad at all.

Ouch! (that’s my finger after Crime of the Century)

Maddy also did well toproping this one, struggling mostly with the bottom move, which is really quite hard for us shorties.

Afterwards, we had about an hour to climb and I had not enough skin or energy to lead anything else, so we headed to a little cliffline right on the trail back to the parking lot, where I scrambled up to the top to set up a TR on a 5.11a corner. There are also two heinous looking 5.12c lines here that I’d be interested in toproping, but would have needed more time and energy. Maddy went first on the route and climbed it clean first try, feeling it was way easier than either of the other two 5.11’s we’d done. I also climbed it clean, slipping a little because of sloppiness, but otherwise finding it pretty easy.

Messing around with a random baby hat on the trail back to the parking lot

So we headed out of Squamish a little after 5pm and got home a bit after 11 (including waiting half an hour at the border and 15 minutes at the ferry terminal) exhausted, but pretty satisfied.

Overall, I felt like I did pretty well given the circumstances. Although it was really hot and I didn’t send anything, I think the weekend was a mental victory. I took real falls, placed gear confidently, was pulling difficult moves with my gear a little below me, and tried harder routes without too much nervousness or trepidation. I haven’t done too much trad leading recently, so I felt I did pretty well with that too, given all this sport climbing we’ve been doing. I’d love to be able to go back or spend more time working the routes, but sadly it’ll probably have to wait til at least next summer. Oh well. There are plenty of other routes to climb in SoCal, including the crown jewel, Equinox, which we are hoping to do some serious work on this coming winter and spring.

Ok, back to enjoying my short trip to Washington!

Lizzy





Frolicking on Limestone – A Long Weekend at Charleston

13 08 2008

It was another crazy, eye-opening excursion to Mt. Charleston. We left San Diego on Thursday, set up our tent in Hilltop campground (this time, the slightly less awesome site 27), and passed out.

View from the alpine woods of Mt. Charleston down into the Nevada desert.

On Friday morning, we headed to The Hood, which is home to several crazy limestone caves and many of the harder (and by harder, I mean 5.14) routes at Charleston. We decided to start out at Pine Tree Ledge, which has some 5.10s and 5.11s that would get us back into the swing of climbing on limestone. However, the routes at Charleston seem to give us something new every time. Our first route was a slabby, balancey 5.10 with a crux mantle to the anchors that involved standing on a smear with absolutely no handholds. Luke onsighted this and I decided to just follow it because it traversed a lot and I had a headache. Next, we tried a steeper, juggy and pocket-ed 5.11c called Heating Up the Hood. This was yet another experience. Luke also onsighted this and I decided to follow it to see if it was a good route for me to project. There was a tricky move at the first bolt that took me a couple tries to figure out and a reachy move to a small, 2-finger pocket that I managed to hurt my right middle and ring-finger tendons trying. Although the route was cool, my fingers really hurt and I decided not to push my luck and try to lead the route because I wanted to be able to send my other Charleston project from last visit. We were joined by some cool dudes from San Diego, who proceeded to climb Heating Up the Hood, while we tried out the route next door, a 10d called Witness This, which has extensions that go at hard and harder. Luke onsighted this also (we are pretty much the onsight masters…) and I followed it. It was a balancey route, but not quite as frighteningly bolted as other Charleston routes, so I decided to lead it, which was fun and entirely uneventful. I guess 5.10d is becoming a lot easier for me.

At this point, I was feeling kind of crappy with my headache and all, so after Luke redpointed a pocket-y 5.11d on Pine Tree Ledge, we took a break to check out the caves – Souls Cave and Compton Cave – and for Luke to flash a 5.11c traverse across the Corrosion Cave called Across the Galaxy. Then we headed back to the campground so I could take a nap and try to rid myself of the headache, which was worse than anything I’d had in years.

The next day, I awoke feeling a little better, so we decided to hike up to the Imagination Wall to try the Imaginator, a long, 3-pitch route (5.11c, 5.11a, 5.11a). We warmed up on Egyptian Sandfish, a 5.10b with widely spaced bolts that we’d done on our previous visit. Luke also redpointed Collective Peace, a 5.11b that he’d “wussed out on” (his words) on our previous visit. Then it was on to the business. I put all my jackets on because although it was shorts and tanktop weather in the sun, the Imagination Wall is windy and north facing – quite cold. Luke did well on his onsight attempt, but was shut down by some weird sequences at the crux. In our pre-climb discussion, he said it was okay for me to decide not to go through with the whole route as long as we could stay long enough for him to send the crux 1st pitch. My tendons and head were still feeling awful, so I told Luke to rap down to rest and try again, rather than belaying me up. He sent it on his second try and we headed back down to the car, deciding to head into town to get some cash (we needed more for the last night at the campground) and some oatmeal, making it a rest day for me so I could feel up for sending my project on Sunday. We had some extra time, so we caught a movie – the new Mummy – which was ok but not anything particularly special. That is one of the nice things about climbing in Charleston or Red Rocks – you’re never too far from civilization if you need it.

Crazy limestone at the Robbers’ Roost.

Sunday found us on the short walk out to the Robbers’ Roost, home of my project, Los Banditos (5.11c), and Luke’s project, a crazy 5.12c called The Burglar on a big yellow wall. We warmed up on a short, unnamed 5.10c that we had done before and Luke re-redpointed the crazy Rooster, which follows a waterchute past bolts that are a tad far apart for comfort. Then I went on an exploratory first try on my project, where I downclimbed from the crux clip a couple times before I could get the beta right, then took a break before climbing through the last, boulder part of the route to the finish jug. Luke made me redo this whole sequence from the crux clip before I lowered, which was probably a good decision because I got the moves really dialed and still did them (except for falling while lunging for the jug) even when tired and pumped. We then headed over to Luke’s project, where we worked through the tricky sequences through powerful undercling moves that lead through the opening bulge, as well as remembering the moves on the rest of the route. Then it was my turn again, so I got back on Los Banditos. Everything went perfectly until the 2nd to last clip, which took me a while because the carabiner on the chain-draw was upside down, and I made my life more difficult by causing the draw to start swinging in my efforts to flip the carabiner back. However, I made the clip and launched into the final, tension-y sequence to the jugs. I matched the final crimp, moved my feet up, and lunged for the jug with my left hand. I got the hold, but could feel my hand slipping, so I lunged with my right hand, thankfully held on to the jug, and made it to the anchors – my 2nd 5.11c redpoint, and only a week after my first!

The upper part of The Burglar (5.12c). After heading up the slabby section, the route traverses left under the roof on underclings, with some powerful final moves to the anchor.

The rest of the day found Luke giving a lot of effort to The Burglar, but he was worried about getting injured and perhaps needing to be stronger to send the route. I scouted out another possible project for me, Five Finger Discount (5.11c) and got the first 3 draws on it before getting mystified by the crux (and the crux clip, which could only be done before the crux if the draw was already attached… hmm…). So Luke helped me out and climbed the route, even though he was tired, to the top so I could have all the draws on and get a toprope to work out the crux moves, which I did. The route was very cool and had a tension-y, boulder-y crux involving a long reach to a non-hold in the bottom of a pod, which you then have to pretend is a hold to clip and move your feet up. Limestone can let you do some amazing things. After all this, we were pretty exhausted, so we headed back to camp where we read our books and ate some dinner before passing out.

On our last day, I gave Five Finger Discount three lead tries (we’d left the draws on), one-falling it every time, although I fell higher and was nearly through the crux on the last try. However, after these efforts I was pretty exhausted and decided the route will have to wait for my next visit. Meanwhile, Luke redpointed Five Finger Discount and worked, then sent the neighboring route, Shotgun, another 5.11c of totally different character with slopey holds and heel hooks.

Overall, it was a really fun and successful trip. It was great for Luke to try a harder project, although I think he’s still limiting himself by worrying about injuries, etc. I feel really psyched on climbing right now, more than I have been in a while (or at least since Indian Creek) and I hope I can keep my momentum of training and projecting up into the school year, since I really should start working on 11d and maybe even 12a if I can one-fall my “project” the third time on the route… Also, in case you didn’t notice, Luke was the 5.11c master this weekend, climbing 5 routes of the grade – 1 onsight, 1 flash, and 3 redpoints.

Anyways, now I’m in Washington for a couple days, so stay tuned for news about my upcoming brief foray up to Squamish!

Lizzy