The Passenger, and a call to involvement

The climbing community is exploding in numbers, but also too should be our involvement in the infrastructure and our influence. I spend most of my time pursuing my own agenda and pushed on by my “tick list”. I do try to get involved through a couple of volunteer activities, as well. Last weekend I drug Doug along into my scheme to spend Saturday working (still ongoing and needing help)on the eroded base of a prize crag in Mazama. He was promised a few pitches that day. However, he got so into the work, that we came back to task again moving huge rocks to the wall. This time we got to work with Big Givers themselves; Bryan B., Mark A, Lowell S, Jeff T, and many others. Somehow Bryan and I hadn’t met prior, but quickly formed our mutual admiration party.

For Sunday, Doug was promised a run at Bryans impressive route on South Early Winter Spires, S.E. route called: the Passenger.  In perfect weather, up at 4:30 am, we began the long day of hiking up and doing its 8 great pitches. So many memorable moves on this climb, starting with p1s undercling. Right away getting you into tricky moves, I was able to figure out the double undercling again on p2. This left Doug with the sustained p3 and its tough move at its end. I did the crux p4 in the same style falling on the 5.11 friction and aiding the 12 boulder problem. Added bolts on the 10d block mantle make the following pitch less dangerous. Further up, the spicy 5.9 section is a bit  pg rated? The rest of the climb was fun including the direct finish! The place was almost deserted too.

It was my second go at the route and I was able to eliminate a point of aid for myself and great to not have to lead all pitches too!.

Thanks to Doug, Mark, work crews making our crags better, Sterling Ropes, WCC, and the AAC for putting together this awesome weekend!

Stephs reports:

My prior ascent:

click to enlarge photos

 

 

 

 

South Africa ’19

For me, international travel is always a journey from anguish to redemption. I tend to be a rolling contradiction of enjoying my routine, yet craving adventure and uncertainty. Struggling with the idea of wandering off far away, yet always grateful for the experience during and after.  Lucky also to have an amazing girlfriend to share it with. We created a trip of a lifetime with Jenn and Lane planning the stays, and safaris, and myself planning incredible climbing outings at Waterval Boven. Our plan there was to pick the finest climbs at as many different crags as possible, and enjoy kick ass “rest days” in the wilds. We kinda nailed it.

Bouncing from place to place, this ended up being our incredible itinerary, with the last 6 days planned en-route!

5-4 fly

5-5 fly, sleep

5-6 Drive to Waterval, jet lag, stayed Troutways

5-7 6p to 10d Jenga, Dead Ant, Doom, Snakeskin Suit

5-8 5p to 10c Red Herring, Im Macho

5-9-12.  4 days of safaris, stayed @ Satari, Lower Sabie, Bergendal

5-13 8p to 11d! Women Aint Trouble, Triffids, Dendrophilia, Moondance

5-14 5p to 11a Madiba magic, Electric Ave, ENDLESS SUMMER!!, Who’s your Daddy?

5-15,16 Blydes Canyon, saw: Sudwalla Caves, The Pinnacle, Gods Window, Wonderview, Mac Mac Pools and Falls, stayed Graskopp @Sherries. Echo Caves, Sabie

5-17 5p to 10d Rainman, Ms Doubtfire, Shout at the Devil

5-18 5 p to 10c Temple of Love etc. Jenns Birthday at Lebos!

36 pitches in all! Free pdf of guidebook

5-19,20 Soweto tour, Mandela House, Apartheid Museum, drive around Jo’burg. Fly, fly

Aside from the amazing climbing I was floored by the history, and culture of the country! The past and future struggles gave me hope for humanity, and the idea of moving past racism. Overall inequality is never close to satisfaction in most societies though.  We have far still to go.

Huge thanks to : Jenn, Lane, Dyonne, Brian and Rondelle at Troutways, Gus and Alex at Roc’n Rope, Lebo’s, and the very welcoming country of South Africa.

Photos are in gallery form, click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

Flip of the switch…

…and it’s rock season!

In an abrupt and dramatic change, the deep freeze went ballistic in the other direction. With temps skyrocketing to record setting readings as high as 80f in the Puget Sound.

.umm.

This during “calendar winter”.

Thin Fingers 11a Photo Michael R.

All Index needs is a few clear days though, and yes, there is your rock season whether you’re ready or not. I was stoked to get 12 pitches in, including my first lead of Thin Fingers! I have always been spooked by this route and its ledges. Guess all that training, and ice climbing pays off. Still damp in spots, with tons of snow in places near the bases of the upper climbs!

Other favorites done:

Walking Legend, Meyah( love this one!), Compound W( in newly scrubbed shape, dirty, yet better off), Law and Order( my 5th time up it!) Tried the new, 2nd pitch of L+O, Needs a bolt or 2, will be fun!

The oil trains rolled by, then the coal trains next?

2 last issues:

Please be an advocate/activist for reducing fossil fuels, etc.

Dave E, and Sterling outright gave me 2 Photon ropes to try for ice climbing. I got to try them out at Banks, and they performed like only the best ropes would in the extremely wet and steep conditions. The dry-coat works beyond what I have experienced with new (or any) ropes.

Prior to all that, I already had invested in their heavy duty 70m Evolution rope. It is my go-to for the desert and index. With the durability, it feels a little heavier.( when did 9.8 get to feel so fat!??) They are also more expensive, but worth it if you are pushing your grade. I prefer the extra confidence and handling you will get with the lines I have tried out. Thanks also to Micheal, James, And Jenn for being awesome friends! Thanks for reading, Wayne

Also check out the 70m tope-roping going on in the left side of the Michael photo? All 4 pitches of Narrow Arrow in one mega session!

Woman of Mountain Dreams – Red Rocks ’18

DSC01169

Ironically, she is probably dreaming of the city at this point.

This is a story of a great long weekend trip to Red Rocks that ended in me getting beat up by an amazing route!!!

10-12 Willow Springs 5p to 10c: Nadias 9, ragged edges 8, Chicken Eruptus 10b, Left Out 10c/d, black track 9

10-13 Frogland 5.8 6p w Jenn, Eileen, John

10-14 Woman of Mt Dreams, Mt Wilson V-5.11a/b 17p w/Jenn

Right out of the gate, I found the most sandbagged 5.9 for my sweetie and our 2 other friends. Nadias 9 is a consensus 5.10 on Mt Project and a stiff one at that, we elected to pass on p2.

Ragged Edges, Chicken Eruptus, Left Out, and Black Track rounded out this amazing “warm up day”!

Frogland, Glad to have gone early to avoid crowds, fun route and glad we took it “easy” this day because we stuck with our plan of going big the next!

The Dream! (of Mountain Woman), is just that, if huge and amazing routes are your thing. From my very first trip to RR (1997), I had picked out this route as the biggest, proudest  line in the whole area. Was it going to be quality though? Mixed reviews on mt project left me pessimistic.

For 12 straight hours, it greatly exceed my expectations! It was more sustained, steep, and quality than I had imagined. I did spend extra energy being cold, and nervous. The route comes at you and never lets up. Once a ways up it, you must fight your way out of it. Good luck getting to the top before dark. We had gps in case we didn’t, but we got all the way to the creek at dark. Still a long way to go finishing up the 20 hour effort. I was so worked and tired that I slipped between 2 boulders and messed up 3 fingers on my left hand. Though beat and bloody, I felt so lucky to be with a gal that plans trips like this, and has the trust and gusto to get to the top of some of the most amazing climbs I have done. It was our 4th grade V together!! One of my all time favorite climbs to boot.

Eric and Lucie report 2008

Dow report summit post 2013

Riley Rice report

Laurel Arndt has the better description on the Mt project comments. The comments about seriousness are legit, the reports about looseness, not so much. I think the route is getting cleaned up.

 

 

Squamish ’18

I love the transformative nature of climbing. In this instance, take a depressing labor strike in my work field and turn it into 5 amazing days at Squamish. It suddenly becomes this great vacation of 5 star routes, eating great food, meeting up with new and old friends. Best of all Jenn joined me for 2 amazing days of it. My favorite of the climbs was Hairpin, Man of Leisure was insane(should be rated R or PG13?) . Huge thanks to Steve for the nice apartment lodging, Jenn, Josh, Kyle, Angela, and Peter for fun times and great climbs!!

26 pitches: 5 multi-pitch. 5 top 100 as follows;

8-31-18 Centerfold, Supervalue 4p to 10c w/Steve
9-1-18 Right Wing 5p 10c
9-2-18 Hairpin direct, mushroom, Man of Leisure 7p to 11a w/Jenn
9-3-18 Peasants route, Pleasant Pheasant, cross trainer 8 p to 11a
9-4-18 Canadian Compromise/ Quagmire Crack 2p 10c solo trax

 

Colorado ’18 + rough day on the Diamond

“Does climbing ever get anything less than terrifying?” Asked Eric, a local who was doing Yellow Spur on follow for his first outdoor climb ever.

” I wish I could say it does, but isn’t that the sweet spot between abject terror, and fun/excitement? I dont go on the kiddy rides at the amusement park.” I offered.

“I do, ”  said my belay sharer.

“Well, the Spinning Teacups are pretty bad-assed too” I mused.

That, and my vacation itinerary included some of the most astounding climbing I could have imagined. I hope all of Colorado climbing isn’t this sandbagged. I hope Lane and I did a half dozen of the most underrated(in terms of difficulty) climbs in the state!

Of course I have gotten used to the wild grade fluctuations in my hometown paradise crag called Index. I think that just because the Colorado and Index scene grew so fast and spectacularly in their respective histories, limits didn’t seem to apply. It was purely creative and subject to the artists own interpretation. Also, there were some incredible climbers back then, as there is now. They did the same terrifying stunts with shittier gear.

About half of our experiences felt like a scene in a movie starting right off the bat.

Itinerary:

Friday 8-10-18 Arrive at Sea-tac just as a plane is hijacked and flown to its dark conclusion. 

8-11-18 Arrive DIA at 4 am, sleep in car until too hot. Shop and drive to Estes Park

8-12-18 Lumpy link-up 6p 10c w/lane Loose Ends, Visual Aids, Loose Ends, Cheap Date, Outlander, All outstanding pitches!!

8-13-18 S.Face Petit Grepon 6p 5.8+ Deserving classic.

8-16 : 4am, Lanes back goes out while getting ready for the Diamond. Rest at high camp.

8-17-18 Casual Route, Wrong (Fields Chimney )start, Longs Peak 12p 5.10a/d.

Things went bad for us several times during this climb, some not easy to talk about, as we are supposed to be a savvy, and experienced climbers. Lanes spinal issues improve, but near the top of the ice(at the wrong start), he slipped and went down about 80 feet before hitting the scree below. He lost large chunks of skin on his thumb, shredding his clothes, and beating himself up in general. I was shocked to find that he wanted to continue. I threw him a rope, and he mini-traxed himself up the rope. Another party came up on our off route line, and had a worse slide down than Lane!! They too were wanting to continue behind us(The wrong way up  the Fields Chimney). I threw a rope to the traumatized moths headed to the next flame. I’ll let mt. project do the talking about the chimney experience that leads to the base of the Casual Route.

Perhaps the opposite of Casual, this steep, amazing line made me impressed with it’s climbing and all of the many parties that compete for its chains each day of the very short 6 week season. We got behind one party and barely in front of another. After enjoying the sweet climbing, we reached the last pitch just the lightning, rain and hail storm hit. I raced across the vertical traverse as it picked up, making it across just as water, and hail poured down the face. Poor Lane lost a few slings following, pulling a back rope through the fixed gear. His self preservation, and years of experience paying off again.

 

8-18-18 Cosmosis, Boulder Canyon 10a/d Stout, fun!!

8-19-18 Yellow Spur,  Redgarden Wall, Eldorado 6p 5.9+/5.10c Some of the most amazing climbing I have done. Enjoy some pics, some are from Lane, thanks.

 

Mighty Mouse!

“Some call it the best alpine rock climb on the West Coast”

Jenn and I went up to try Mighty Mouse again after getting rained, and crowded out of the area last year.

Again enjoying a warm up day at our beloved Squamish on Saturday, doing the classic: Rock On direct, with several fun parties ahead of us. I am so lucky that Jenn enjoys the same things as I. We have such fun together!

Sunday though we had the Joffre drainage to ourselves and got a fair shake at one of the best crack climbs I have ever experienced. Certainly in a class of top crack routes, this climb will bring nearly all shapes and sizes of crack and even start with some amazing face climbing!

Each of the pitches have a unique magic and mild terror to them. I have run into so many routes this season that carry a certain “Go-For -IT !” while doing the moves. This aggressive approach has worked out in most cases, because there have been good holds after the wind it up, and release of the moves. Climbing in this fashion above thin gear is wild!

The first pitch really sets the table, with strange moves and position that keeps you off balance, continuing its awkward, and strenuousness to the top of the 3rd pitch.

The triple crack pitch(p4) is short and feisty! probably my favorite pitch, insecure moves all the way to the top.

p5 was also super fun!! Trust me.

We split the 6th pitch into 2 pitches for safety, that first 11a crack is stiff and exemplifies the go for it!

The finish is astounding as well, so glad to have the older offset master cams, and a full set of c3’s. I used many of my single set of nuts, heavy on the smaller ones too. Sun, and mosquitos followed us the whole route. Later or earlier start =less sun. Belays/rappels are updated.

Our elderly waypoints: Up at 5am, 6-830 hike in, top at 3pm. car at 630, Seattle 1am

This route gives so much, but it will also take a lot of energy, head space, and time. Big day.

Deserving of the hype it will be a highlight of many climbers’ season.

https://www.mountainproject.com/route/113427644/mighty-mouse

https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/81789-mouses-tooth/

https://gripped.com/routes/climbing-mouses-tooth-splitter-west-coast-alpine-route/

https://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_climbing_bb/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3481

https://www.ubc-voc.com/2014/09/07/advantageous-route-traffic-on-the-mouses-tooth-september-6th

http://www.stephabegg.com/home/tripreports/britishcolumbia/mightymouse

 

Ancient Melodies, Exfoliation Dome

With temps in the 90s, it became necessary to build a list of routes that get limited sun exposure, have a higher altitude, AND ease of access. There aren’t that many however. The west faces of Liberty Bell group, and Wine spires meet the criteria, but you will feel the crowds of people and goats.

Research brought me to the Darrington, and to consider the Ancient Melodies route on the NW face of Exfoliation Dome as a shady option to nab a big route with “easy” access. Don’t take the Granite Sidewalk lightly!

Saturday: Sit by the river. rest and relax

It still took a rest day prior to the climb for me to possibly perform. I helped wrap up the mega work project so I was reeling from the week leading up to our plan. We camped at the end of the fs2060 for a prius.

Sunday: Up at 5 am, we had to get up most of the route to avoid the blistering sunny temps we knew would hit (sun hits route just after noon mid July). We simoed the first 3 pitches quickly and had little trouble on the clean lower slabs.

Slab climbing gets little love from climbers in general, but the 4 business pitches on this route were more face climbing than slabby friction. The movement was exciting too, requiring nerve and figuring out the delicate dancey sequences especially with the feet. Pure joy flowed from us as we marveled at the unique features and positions the route offered. The first of the 4 is a slick feeling traverse that has holds appear just when you need them and would be the money pitch on most climbs, but the next pitch is truly the money, with nonstop excitement all the way up to the chains. #3 business pitch is a fun/tips affair that should lend confidence at sending the crux? I was raring to go on the crux, because the route was so good, I wanted to do it justice( and never take the Granite Sidewalk approach again). With loud yells of effort, I did get the crux clean, finding it to be a couple of the toughest foot mantels I have ever done. I was skeptical that a “slab”route could justifiably receive as much love as it had on Mt. Project, but after climbing it: I can see it, and a renewed appreciation for top quality lower angle routes!

City of Rocks ’18

Ahhh the City..

  I have such an amazing history there, and myself and 4 friends just added to it!

It was my 4th time there, and the first for my companions. It was great to see them gaze off at the stunning views, and smile at the possibilities of the exotic granite climbing at hand. Truly a vacation type place, it lives up to both the hype and the chill you will hear about, and experience there.

I went slow at first adjusting to the “go for it” cruxes and vintage bolts in places. I did pick it up a bit- logging 23 pitches, with numerous 5.11 memorable leads. My favorite was Pogemahone, a sweet pitch among other stunning ones such as Redtail, Where Eagles Fly, Chomping at the Bit, and the amazing Bumbly takes a Tumbly! Though the drive takes a while, it becomes worth it with just a couple of the routes here, it’s just that good.

Cant wait to get back.

 

6/29-7/3-18 City of Rocks 23p to 11a w/ Jenn, Chris, Eileen, Tristan

6-29 Eagle Crack, Eagles Fly 2p to 11a

6-30 Harvest, Expect no Mercy, thin slice, No Parking 4p to 10d

7-1 redtail, sudden pleasure, Pogemahone 11a, bloody finger 4p 11a

7-2 Collossus 10c, private I., soaring seagulls, Pygmies Stoned x2, nesting egos tr, 6p10c

7-3 tribal B. Deez Guys, can’t believe it, Bumblie Tumblie 11a, Chomping Bit 11a x2, Heat Wave 7p to 11a

 

 

Late Season Luck

Late season (good)luck cannot be counted on as a weekend warrior in the NW. So, when it happens there is a sense of satisfaction and the sad feeling like its over for the year too. We had the fortune of experiencing this several times during brief weather windows this fall. My focus was of course on multi pitch, but it also became ticking off “top 100 “ routes at Squamish. We did 8 of them this fall, and it rejuvenated my love for the place, even with its growing pains, Squamish is still an incredible venue.

Merci Me 5.8

Sole Mate 10b

Sunblessed + Enlightenment 10b SB is very fun, enlightenment scary however

Blazing Saddles 10b wild!

Rainy Day Dream Away 10c

Pitch in Time (w/extension) 10d

Apron Strings 10b

Rutabaga 11a, possibly my favorite pitch in Squamish!

 

Index also came through with another run at Hell Bent for Glory in the heat, and a spank down on Free at last to flail on the Glass Eyed Tuna pitch that supposedly is 10d? not buying it, but great job on the new guide book fellas!

Even though I’m working a tough job currently, I feel compelled to grab that last bit of sun.

Now It is amazing to think about ice season coming! Wish I didn’t have to work all winter 😦