Sunday, June 24, 2012

Some Touching The Void Shit

It's been a while, but I'm glad to say that I have been keeping busy up at the lake, and more importantly keeping busy on the East.  I had a great day out at Bill's Buttress with Jimbo Slice, where we were able to bang out a bunch of classics, and discover a few gems that I think are often overlooked.  Mr Bunney Meets The Poultry Man is one of those overlooked climbs, and it reminds me of this post by Jamie Emerson regarding his quality rating system for climbs.

"Often people don’t like to hear that their project or proudest send is only one star, but that’s not to say its not worth climbing on one star problems."

This describes Mr Bunney quite well, despite the fact that it's unlikely that anyone has projected it for quite a while.  It isn't a stellar line, and it is a bit of a contrivance, especially on lead when you're placing gear in Coatimundi, but not using any of the holds.  Putting all that aside though, it's still a fun climb, and deserves to be climbed more often, even though in the grand scheme of things it is maybe a 1 star route at best.  

Also at Bill's Buttress we climbed Push-Mi- Pull-Yu, and even though I knew there was a pigeon on the ledge, and I had told myself not to scream literally 5 seconds before it flew out right in my face, I still screamed like a little girl.

About a week after all that, I went out on a friday with a sketchy forecast with Dr. Bling. We had amazing weather, and a great day of climbing on Pedestal with almost no one else up on the East Rampart.  I took the Dr up some of the classics there, including an exceedingly calm and collected lead of Birch Tree.  I also got on The Stretcher for the first time since I was on Adventure Rock's Camp 4 trip many years ago.  Then, we dabbled on some harder stuff like Hourglass, and the direct start to Stretcher, Pete's Lament.  Hourglass is a funny route because it's essentially the same boulder problem twice in a row.  Grab a good hold, grab two bad crimps, grab an even worse crimp, and pop for a good hold.  Rinse and repeat.  Pete's Lament is essentially a boulder problem that I found it to be very technical, with tenuous feet, but it makes a good diversion if you have a rope hanging on Stretcher.

Yesterday I was up there again with Dr. Bling, and also Sean who I climbed with a bit last summer, and has moved back to Milwaukee.  I hadn't been up on the East on a weekend for quite a while, and I really wasn't missing anything.  The crowds were fierce, with ropes hanging on most everything all the way down to Pseudo Hawk's Nest.  We made our way down the Leaning Tower Gully, and decided to walk around a bit, and lead up whatever happened to be open, which I think was probably the best way to go about it on such a busy day.  We started out on False Alarm Jam, which was very good, and where I nearly got a cam stuck on the anchor (more on this later).  Then we moved on to Breakfast of Champions which was awesome, and I agree with Andy Hansen, that if the ledge were gone in the middle, it would be even better.  After that we headed back west to New Light Waves, which is a good route, with a cool slab section, and a fun boulder problem over a small roof.  If only the crux mono finger stack thing weren't so painful.  By this time, it was starting to clear out a bit, so we decided to go up Double Overhang which is an awesome climb, especially for the grade, and especially if it isn't November and raining and you forgot your climbing shoes and your fingers are freezing trying to get a cam out.  Not that I would know about all that.

When we all made it up to the top it was starting to cool off, so I felt like there was a better chance of being able to get my cam out.  Eventually we did, and I now have a beat to hell #3 to match the #4 I bootied off of Darcy's.  Andy, I'll sell it to ya for $25.  After that I noticed a tricam that somebody had dropped into one of the cracks on the top of the tower, so we spent quite a while fishing for it.  With the nut tool clipped to a sling, we were able to solve what at first seemed to be an impossible puzzle, and extract it from its quartzite tomb.  While we were all high fiving each other and congratulating ourselves on a job well done, Sean and I botched a hand off, and dropped a red C3 down a different crack.  Total gear recovery punt.   Luckily we could still see the sling, so we thought no big deal, we've been here before.  Just a few minutes ago in fact.  Anyways, Dr. Bling promptly kicks Sean and I out of the way to show us how much we suck.  I'm not sure if it was on his first try or not, maybe it was his second, but rather quickly he managed to knock it off of it's precarious perch, and even deeper into the bowels of the tower, never to be seen again.

Or so we thought.  Much like Joe Simpson in the crevasse, the answer was right below our feet.  In desperation we climbed down the side of the tower and tried peering into every nook and cranny we could find.  Luckily we were able to find the proper tunnel, and by some stroke of luck I had put my headlamp in my pack.  All the pieces were falling into place, and quick as a cricket, I had the cam in hand and we were back to high fiving.  Some times it's better to be lucky I guess.

Anyways, that's all the climbing news.  In other news, Alex Caffentzis has graciously said that Jim and I can borrow his camera, so look forward to more media on the ol' blog.