On Sunday I had had plans to go out to the lake with David Blong, but he totally bailed on me and went to the Red. I hope Sarah showed him how to stick clip properly, like they do in the red. And how to project a route, like they do in the red.
Luckily, Howard and Minda also wanted to go out to the lake, I was still able to get out there, and in a super efficient car to boot. Howard had also invited Tom and Makinon Herbert to come along, which was awesome, because it would be both of their first times climbing outside, with the exception of some bouldering in the Garden Of The Gods.
Every time I drive around I always have to remind myself that this is March, not June. Everything is green, the weather is nice, and it definitely showed in the number of climbers on the bluff. We left Milwaukee at 8, and were up to the wall by probably 10:30, and it was already quite crowded. Not summer weekend crowded, but there was at least one group at every buttress on the East Rampart.
I was hoping we'd be able to toss a rope down Peter's Project, Michael's Project, and maybe Callipigeanous, but they were already taken, so we walked down a bit further. To my surprise nobody had set up on the bedroom wall yet, though one party was getting ready to lead up Foreplay. Howard set to work hanging a rope on Orgasm, and I hung one on The Green Bulge, a nice long 5.7 that my rope was barely long enough for. Everyone climbed Orgasm, and Tom and Makinon did a great job on that one as their first roped climbs outside. I went back up to the top and hung another rope on Second Coming, just to the right of Orgasm. I climbed up Second Coming once to check the gear, since I'd heard that it was somewhat suspect. I found the gear to be pretty good, with a bomber blue master cam protecting the crux. after that it was a little bit spaced out, but over easy terrain, so I decided to lead it next go. I also did a direct start to Second Coming, called Resolution. I rarely find routes that I would tell people to stay away from, but this is one of them. A long mantle move to a heinously thin two finger crimp, followed by a long reach that I was just tall enough for, did not add up to a quality climb in my book.
Then I moved back over to Orgasm to try the direct. This is a very good route with a great crux sequence on gastons and sidepull pinches. I botched the sequence the first time around, then waited for the shade to get the send. After that I led up an easy 5.4 corner called Cerebration, so that Minda and Makinon could try their hands at getting a stuck cam out. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful, so I climbed back up and set another anchor on the routes Hirsute (meaning excessive hairiness in women), and Second Balcony (meaning not the first balcony). Hirsute looks better than it climbs, but is still an okay route. Second Balcony climbs exactly how it looks, and is mediocre at best.
It was starting to get a bit late, and Tom and Makinon had to leave soon, so Howard and I hung a rope on Foreplay so that they could climb one more before they left. After they climbed it, I led up it and Howard and Minda got their first experience following someone up a route, which even though it was a short 5.5 at the lake, I think was still fun for them. Once they got to the top, we broke down that anchor, and the Hirsute anchor, and set one more on the climbs The Balcony, and The Mezzanine, both 5.4. This particular section of the bluff contains several easy inside corners, and even prompted Sven to make a few jokes in the guidebook, with such hilarious descriptions as "another inside corner or chimney" for Second Balcony. Oh Sven, you need to let more of your humor shine through! Anyways, The Balcony is another blah inside corner, and so is The Mezzanine, except for the fact that it has a cool old ring piton near the top, and a stripe of white crystal embedded in the rock near the start.
At the end of a surprisingly productive day (11 more routes climbed) we heard Alex climbing on Bagatelle, and later talked to him while he was coming down the gully. Bagatelle is very high on my wish list of climbs to do this year, and I can't wait to get on it. Next day out on the rocks is hopefully friday with Jim and whoever else wants to come out, provided Blake and I finish building his woody, which I don't expect will be a problem.