Sunday, November 23

Little Victories

It's been about 3 months since I got back into climbing again with only about a month of anything even remotely resembling serious attention. Lately darkness, cold weather and lack of any other "bum" partners has led me to being a twice a week gym rat. I've climbed up to 5.11- and been really solid in the 5.10's but hey, it's the gym on top rope, so I can't put any serious weight behind that. This weekend the weather was finally warm enough to climb outside so after debating attempting the first flatiron (easy but long), Marni felt better about trying some single pitch routes instead.
This afternoon saw us hike into the Amphitheater from Chautauqua with a few old routes and some new ones on the agenda. I am rocking the new UGH smiley on my helmet :)
Marni got to try out her new R1 hoody I snagged used off of BPL. Wifey likes hoody's.
We started off in the Amphitheater proper and I led a quick pitch to play with my new hex's and setup an anchor at the top of the west bench.
Then I popped down and Marni did a few laps to get used to climbing outside again.
Once she had done a few laps I headed back up to the top and belayed her up from the top anchor. It sure was a pretty day for climbing even if it was still a bit chilly.
I cleaned the anchor and we moved over to the third pinnacle. We'd climbed here before but I'd only top roped the 5.7 route "Trident" while Marni had climbed the 5.4 "Thin Crack."
Today I headed up Trident on lead and despite having no gear to protect the roof itself (I only have passive pro), I sent it easily and without falling. With the crux down I slotted another piece to Marni's happiness and sent the rest of the route. Another quick 3 piece top anchor with some bomber hexs and I lowered off for Marni's turn.
Me placing some gear above the roof.
Woohoo, go trad climbing. I'm much better at keeping my head cool now compared to when I first tried climbing as a college freshman. Marni got her first in person look at what trad leading really means today though. After I lowered off, Marni was bold and decided to try the same line. She's climbed a couple 5.9's in the gym so she must have felt brave and I knew she could do it. When she got to the roof, I think it was bigger than she thought! She kept going though and after one fall, she sent it on her second try. I climbed the line once more to clean the anchor and hiked around the back of the third pinnacle to get back to Marni.

The sun was going down and it was getting cold but I had one more line in mind. There is a line called the Red Wall that I tried years ago when I first started climbing and never made it to the first bolt. Apparently it was rated 5.10c but on Mountain Project it's downgraded to 10a. Nevertheless it would be my hardest outdoor lead by far.
The line has 4 bolts to the top anchors with the first bolt way off the ground. I climbed the start slotting a couple so-so nuts to protect an early ground fall. I clipped the first bolt and felt really excited and also pretty committed as I was now higher than I'd consider soloing. A few more moves and with my freezing right hand on a solid hold, I blew my feet. I called "falling!" and Marni caught me. Nice, first (recent) lead fall out of the way. Marni lowered me back to a solid stance and I tucked my hands under my armpits. They finally warmed back up and I ignored the flapper now adorning my right middle finger. I regained my highpoint and continued up. It was a long way to the next bolt but I made it and clipped quickly. Another bolt, then one more with Marni cheering me to the top. Finally the top anchors and a tiny ledge was in sight. Another good move brought me up and I clipped. Woohoo! I made it!
Marni took my picture while I was at a good stance and then she lowered me down to clean the line. She pulled the rope and we hiked out. My first 5.10 lead in the bag! Holy cow, I honestly wasn't expecting that.
It was fun to climb something for once I wasn't sure I could do and Marni rewarded me with a 0.75 BD Camalot at Neptunes. One piece at a time I'll get a trad rack.
We snagged some groceries and headed home. Riding on Saturday and some climbing on Sunday, that was a nice weekend.


ojulius said...

Wow, nice job to both of you on that!! :)

Marni said...

Great job on that pitch! You made it look easy. You "rock!" haha.

Perry said...

Chris, great job! Fun seeing you two Saturday there at GB TH on the bikes. You sound strong and keep that lead head together! We for sure need to climb soon. Bum partners uh...none of that now! I hit the Rock Club in Boulder--I can meet up midday and such--hours are flex for me. JP

Chris said...

Just meant bum as in no job :)

Cellarrat said...

I smell a huge dividend in 2010 for this gear whore/ bum!


Carney said...

Nice! Getting back into the right mindset for trad always takes me a few shaky leads.

Dave said...

Hahahahahaha! Took me back to my days of no cams! Once you have 10 or so things will seem so much easier. So much.

You've inspired me to start hitting the gym a few times a week. Fun, though my tendons flame out way before anything else.

Put a few chemical handwarmers in your chalkbag. Key for winter cragging.

Dave said...

And the little green camalot is the one you'll use the most. Good choice. I still have my old double stem greenie, tho it doesn't have much green left.

Get a 1 and 2 next.