Thursday, November 03, 2005

Naked Edge, Part IV: More Failure with Stefan

Stefan and I were supposed to get on the Edge this morning, but he had a meeting that couldn't be avoided, so we met in Eldo at 2 p.m. Stefan was out soloing on the Wind Tower as a warmup, so we didn't leave the ground until 2:15 p.m. We simul-climbed the Ramp Route/Cave Pitch to the base of the Edge.

I felt confident despite the hellacious winds. I moved up the lower section, took a brief rest at the ramp and then started up the crux section. I placed my green Alien well above the fixed blue Alien and for some reason took a bit of extra time to place a red Alien slightly below the green, which I wasn't sure was bomber. I then placed the black Alien right in a finger slot. Not only did this make using that hold harder, but the placement wasn't any good, as I found out a bit later when I peeled off a bit above this piece. It pulled and I dropped onto the green Alien. I fell only about 15 feet. I was disappointed. I hadn't climbed it very smart or even very confident above the stem rest.

I climbed back up, placed the black Alien where it should go, above the finger slot, and climbed up nearly to the finish before peeling off again. Damn. I rested only a bit before trying again and just barely finished the pitch without taking a third fall.

With little time for the entire route, Stefan and I had planned for me to link the first two pitches. This is a fairly standard approach, but I hadn't led the two strung together before and now I was horribly pumped from the first pitch. I should have abandoned this plan right there, but I didn't. I continued onwards and I knew I was in trouble from the get go. I barely clawed my way up the 5.7/8 slab and then had a very difficult time clipping the high pin above the second bolt. I never knew this was a problem before. It took me three tries to clip it. I had absolutely nothing left in my right arm.

Every move was desperate for me now, as I clawed my way around the arete to the other side, barely getting in the #1 Camalot and the #4 RP. I tried to rest and relax for the next 20 feet to the belay didn't allow for any more gear and it was the crux of the pitch. I kept it together here mentally because I had nothing physically left and made the belay. It had taken me nearly 40 minutes to lead both these pitches and I was cooked.

Stefan followed easily and when he arrived it was only just 3:35 p.m. We probably could have finished the route, but I was in no shape to lead the 4th pitch and we decided to go down and work the first pitch. We did this and I toproped the pitch twice, both times without falling or getting even close to falling. After the first trip up, I lowered down to the top section and learned Rolo's cool move out to the arete and I now think this is the best way to do this part, though it involves a difficult stem back to the right. The feet are technical but the hands aren't too powerful. I did this section twice before lowering down and giving Stefan a go. He did the top part both with the arete move and straight on. I think he preferred the straight on method.

I went up again, using the arete move at the top, and using the arete a ton down below. I feel I'm really learning this pitch now. All I need now is a good head and a bit more endurance and this pitch will fall. I will now expect to get it clean every time. We'll see.

We rapped off and Stefan did a quick lap up the overhanging 11c start of T2, making it look like a 5.9 gym route. This start is super powerful and though I have done it, I rarely get it without falling multiple times. I decided not to bother today.

The quest continues... I hope the good weather will as well.


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