Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Genesis, yet again

The first pitch of Genesis is rated 11a and I've now led it at least five times, but still don't have a redpoint. I met Hardly at 6:15 a.m. today and it was 20 degrees colder than the day before. We stuck to the plan, though, and headed to Genesis. This time he went first and led the pitch cleanly. He pulled all the gear, including the bail biners on the pitons at the roof, while I lowered him - neither one of us is interested in pinkpoints, even on sport routes.

I went next and it went exactly as it has always gone for me. I get up to the roof, clip the pin and pump out before I can pull left into the rest. I hung on the rope and rested a bit, before making the move and resting before what the topo calls the technical crux at 11a. This move has never been that hard for me and I cranked it and then the rest of the wild, balancy, steep 10b climbing up to the anchors.

I threaded the rope and lowered down, pulling my gear. Hardly let me TR the crux section three times. I did it each time without hanging and I think I've got it down now. I should get the redpoint in two more tries at most. Hopefully just one more try.

We then headed to the Contest (11d) and Hardly led up to the third bolt before taking a rest on the rope. Then he went to the 4th bolt and the start of the crux. He tried the moves past this bolt a number of times without success before using the bail biner from Genesis to bail off the route. I didn't even bother to go up, as my arms were still pumped from Genesis.

Vertigo on Friday with Stefan... That's another brutal route for me. I've never even followed that baby cleanly.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

King's X and Northcutt Direct Start

I met Hardly in Eldo at 6:15 this morning and we went straight to King’s X (10d). I had led the first pitch of this route cleanly before, but I had never led the A-roof pitch. Now most people combine these first two pitches and that’s what I did this morning. I cranked the hard (10d) move on the first pitch and then moved up into the roof and it went very well. I was excited to get it the first time I’ve tried leading it. I’d followed it three times before, but fell off it the last time, earlier this year. It is way cool and I’d do it again if either of you wanted to try it.

Hardly led the second pitch (5.8/9) and we downclimbed the Bomb/Boulder Direct (5.5) back to the ground. We then headed for the Bastille. I redpointed the Northcutt Direct Start (10d). This was cool since the last time I was here I toproped the pitch three times and only got it clean once. I was feeling strong today for some reason. Then Hardly sent Derek-tissima (12a) on TR (the sane only way to climb it, as there is no gear) on his first try. I then went up and worked on it as well. I finally did get the crux move, but I’m a ways away from getting this pitch clean. It involves an undercling on tiny, sharp holds where you have to paste your feet up to within about 18 inches of your hands and then make a huge reach up to the key handhold on the Northcutt Direct Start. Now you just have to do the crux of that route.

Anyway, it was good to get in a few clean leads.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

TRing and Soloing

I met Hardly in Eldo today at 6:15 a.m. We were the only cars there, as usual at this time. Neither of us had any specific goals and Hardly mentioned that he was interested in TRing Derek-tissima (12a, no gear), which is a super direct start to the Bastille Crack. This route lies between the normal start and the Northcutt-Start (10d/11a).

Hardly led Northcutt with one fall (out of practice) and I followed on TR cleanly, but just barely with a number of deadpoints. Hardly then led Northcutt again (clean redpoint) and I followed again (no sack to lead it yet since I was still desperate). I followed cleanly again and with fewer deadpoints, but still wasn't feeling real strong.

Hardly then did Derek-tissima with a couple of hangs, but all at the same location - the crux move where it joins the Northcutt start. The crux of Derek-tissima leads immediately into the crux of the Northcutt start so it's pretty burly.

I took a run up Derek-tissima with many hangs. It's cool and would be fun to work on, but strictly as a toprope problem. The crux move involves a huge reach (deadpoint/throw, really) from small undercling holds to the key handhold at the Northcutt crux. Once you have this handhold, which is small, you still don't have any feet. Tough stuff.

Hardly took another lap up Derek-tissima and got it with one hang at the crux. I then went up Northcutt again and hung a couple of times as I was tired and tried to work out a better sequence. We'll be back to both of these.

A guide showed up while we were doing this to lead a 10-year-old boy and his mom up the Bastille Crack. The guide was belayed by the 10-year-old and the guide looked shakey leading the 5.8 first pitch. He put in 5 or 6 pieces (I generally place just one) and took a long time. If this pitch is tough for you, then you shouldn't be guiding it and you shouldn't be belayed by an unanchored 10-year-old. When the mom had trouble following the pitch, they thankfully bailed. They never would have completed this route safely and if they had, it would have taken a LONG time. They probably spent nearly an hour on the first pitch.

We pulled our rope and then went for a cool down up the Wind Ridge (5.8 start to 5.6). I'd never soloed this route before, but had thought about it. It went great. I felt really solid and we chatted the whole way up. We did all three pitches, including the Conner variation (named for Scott Conner who showed it to Hardly) at the end of the second pitch, which turns a small overhang via big, positive holds.

We were driving out of Eldo by 8:30 a.m. A fun morning.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Three-Two-One Flatirons, but no one showed...

I was surprised that not one Minion was there to scramble with me this morning. That’s a first. Stefan must still be on his honeymoon. Tony was be injured or out of town. Homie must think I’m too slow now that he’s crushing me. Oh well. I did notice that Hardly’s truck was in the parking lot. He didn’t get the email as he’s not on my morning list and I figured he was out running the peaks, training for the Pikes Peak Marathon. I jogged up the Kinnikinick road and was surprised to see it all torn up and turned into a dirt trail. I don’t know if they are going to re-pave this or return it to a more natural state.

I got the base of the Third Flatiron in 20 minutes, working far too hard for a time that slow. A pair of climbers were gearing up to climb the fast and I said hello as I went by. I climbed the face steadily, but not all that fast. I was sweating a lot, but it wasn’t that hot out. I think the humidity was really high. A few hundred feet below the top, Hardly calls down to me from above. Sweet! I scrambled up to the summit and Hardly climbed back up to the summit with me. It took me 12.5 minutes to climb the face.

We reversed the last pitch and then descended Slip Slide Ledge to the Southwest Chimney Route. Then we climbed north over the saddle and down the trail to the bottom of the Second Flatiron. We climbed up the East Face of that, escaping near the top to the First Flatiron Trail. We descended that to the start of Baker’s Way and climbed up the steep start to that route. Above the start we headed straight up. I forget what this route is called, but it was a fun scramble. We had to escape right over a short, steep wall at the top of our face and then we followed another system up to the North Ridge.

By now the fogged had moved in, engulfing us completely. We descended the Southwest Face to the ground and trotting back to the parking lot, taking a little less than two hours for the outing. Hope the rest of you had a great morning as well.