Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Days in December

The sun was bright and the sky was deep blue last Saturday. We got back to the cliffs after two weeks spent indoors. It felt so good to be out, like waking up again. We passed some more cool icicles on the approach. In Moss Cave this time.

We warmed up on "Southpaw" which is a good route, but an abrupt warm up. Conditions were perfect on "Purple Galaxy," and I redpointed to the first set of anchors on my second attempt of the day. It's a fantastic route, long and sustained, which is my weakness. Then we top roped "Crowheart." Ashley got it without falls, and I'll be heading back to lead it. Fierce slab moves on perfect stone to dirty rock for the top ten feet.

On Sunday, we got out for a second session. The sky was cloudy, but the air wasn't very cold, maybe 50 degrees or so. We felt like climbing some new boulder problems, but we didn't have time for a long approach. So we took brushes out to some short boulders I'd noticed just above The Rise parking lot. We warmed up on a jug covered rock just above the lot, and then hiked a short steep gully to a rock split by a thin finger crack. Amazing stone with no evidence of established problems just a minute from the parking lot. The only explanation I can imagine is that other boulderers were frightened away by the very low starts, and the boulder's lack of height.

But Ashley isn't afraid of low starts or short boulders. She got the first ascents of both problems that we did. We named the rock "The Scrunchy Boulder."

The crack problem starts with a left hand pretty low in the crack, and the right in a shallow but positive one finger pocket.

Shoot up to a flat crimp.

Get finger jams with both hands in the sandy crack.

Get a foot up and grab jugs.

That's "Smooth" V3 or 4. A sit start might be possible, but it will be very difficult, and uncomfortable.

The second problem we did climbs really well, but the start is very low. Pull up into the horizontal, and keep the right knee off the ground.

Reach left to a pretty good pocket, carefully, so you don't dab with the right knee.

Do the crux move which isn't pictured.

Reach out left to a good crimp.

Get your feet higher, and top out by making a big move to the top of the large patina panel. That's "Kinky" V5 or 6.

They aren't three star classics, but they are fun, climb good sandstone, and are very easy to get to. I'd recommend them to other climbers our height or even climbers a little taller.

That's post #200. The blog now has three and a half years of posts written almost every week. The time's been flying by. But when I look back so much has happened, a lot of climbs have been done, and we've had so many great days. Thanks to everyone who has gone out with us, shown us around, or developed the routes and areas we've visited so far. Our adventures wouldn't have been the same without you.

No comments: