Friday, June 15, 2012

Cristina and I, adventure on!

Climbing, climbing, and climbing. Sums it up pretty well. Having just gotten off the plan, Cristina was ready and anxious. Not wanting to lose any time, we went to Golden Cliffs and led a few moderate sport climbs.

Monday was trad in Eldo. Windy Corner, 3 pitches (5.6 G). Had to take on my first piece, a pretty solid #3 cam, thank gosh. But we had fun on an easy day, just enjoying the rock. After the climbing, we headed up to Boulder to stay at the Fairgrounds.

With Tuesday, the adventure continued in Boulder Canyon. My first time there, it was a little overwhelming. We led a 5.9 that was pretty stiff in the Dream Dome crag before going and exploring Sport crag. I led a 5.8 that I loved, beautiful, blocky rock up a face to a small roof. The next thing you know though, a 5.9 was giving us all kinds of grief. I wound up finishing it, but just barely. We knew we'd have to come back the next day to get on the rest of the interesting lines in the crag.

Wednesday started with a return to Boulder Canyon. We went back to Sport crag, only to find most of the moderates taken up by a gym group. We went up a little further on the rock, and found a promising 5.8. Promising until we tried it though.

It hurt. It made you hate it. You get to the last bolt, and then have to pull a roof before getting to the anchors. I love roofs, I thought I'd love this. But I was wrong. Pulling the roof involved locking off my left hand in a hand jam as a side pull, and then throwing my right hand into a finger lock. My right hand's ring finger was torqued into this crack, the rest of the fingers pushing down on it trying to keep it in place, while I had to work my feet up higher and then dislodge the hand jam and throw for a jug. It took two attempts, but I managed to red point it after practicing the crux several times.
The route I saw and had to try!

Walking away from that climb, my attention was immediately grabbed by a line on the rock. It was severally overhung, with huge jugs working its way up aerates to a final roof. With nothing more than a glance, I knew I had to try it. The first bolt was just off the ground, easy to get up to and clip. From there, I had to make my way to to a great jug for the right hand. From here, I clipped the second bolt. This would protect my way into the big move: pulling hard on that right hand, you work the feet up and then lunge for a high left hand, a small rail on a slopper that turns it into a great jug. Working up the nerve, knowing the bolt was at my waste, I went for it! I felt my hand smack the rail, and my fingers jumped to try and seize onto the rail. As soon as I got one finger on, I worked the rest onto it and finally breathed. I quickly threw my right hand up to the large slopper, allowing me to get into a rest stance. After a moment, I clipped the next bolt and prepared for what I expected was the crux. However, I managed to work the feet up and stand up into the next jug without too much difficulty. After moving past this jug though, I was startled to find the real crux: a deceivingly poor side pull/pinch kept me from the final ledge and hand crack that would allow me to clip the anchors. Desperate, with my arms getting pumped, I moved quickly and managed to stuff my arm into the crack, torquing it in as hard as I could. My arms were so pumped and locked up that I had to really pull on them after jamming them just to ensure they were locked in, as I couldn't really feel it. Taking the draw off my harness, putting into my mouth, I then had to switch hands in the jam because of the pain and exaustion. My fresh hand managed to take the draw from my mouth and clip the anchor, but I had to switch hands again to then clip my rope. And then I had to repeat this action to clip the last bolt of the anchor.

With the climb done, I lowered off in absolute exhaustion. My arms were cut up to the mid-forearms, my fingers all cut up from the jamming. I had to sit and let the extremly painful pump relax, but it didn't matter: I had just on-sighted a 5.11a! Of course though, I had no energy left for another climb after that, especially not with Royal Flush looming for Thursday...

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