Sunday, May 24, 2009

Working out the Kinks

Buzz and I again met at 7 a.m. Today we weren't going to do many pitches since I have a big race tomorrow (Bolder Boulder 10K) and didn't want to drain the legs. We just wanted to remember some climbs we have scheduled for the 50-pitch day. The night before it rained an inch or more so things were soaked in Eldo.

We started on the Bulge (5.9, runout) and it was so slippery that I ended the simul-climbing after the second pitch and belayed the third pitch. While cleaning the Ropeman I had placed at the top of the first pitch, Buzz dropped it to the ground. Oh well. He retrieved it later. We did the 5.9 direct finish for the fourth pitch and it went nicely. I placed a Ropeman after the crux and we simul-climbed to the unroping spot. Buzz unroped a bit before the ledge and inadvertenly left a cam behind. We won't know this until the end of the morning.

We descend to find the usual zoo on the Wind Tower. The only thing open was Tigger to the third pitch of the Wind Ridge. Buzz led this and I simul-climbed behind him. We downclimbed off and hiked down the trail to find an even bigger zoo, but now Reggae was open so we climbed Boulder Direct to Reggae with me leading and Buzz simul-climbing behind. As soon as I topped out, I started downclimbing the Bomb while Buzz was climbing up Reggae. We downclimbed past a party on the Bomb and then unroped, coiled, and finished the downclimb down the Boulder Direct.

We were done for the day and re-racked the gear. I noticed that a 0.75 Camalot was missing. Ack! I told Buzz we needed to go back and climb the routes again to find it. He didn't want anything to do with that and offered me up his 0.75 Camalot. I didn't want to take it. It might have been my fault we left it behind. Besides I hate leaving gear behind. It's the mark of a neophyte and we were not neophytes. Buzz took the gear back to the car while I hiked back up to where we sorted gear. Nothing. I then hiked up to the top pitch of the Wind Tower and asked the belayer there if his leader, above, had found a 0.75 Camalot. No dice. I then climbed up to the top of the Bulge, via the descent route, hoping that we had left it behind there. But in the back of my mind, I knew that Buzz had unroped before pulling the last piece on the traverse at the top of the Bulge. I wondered if he had forgotten or didn't see that piece. I wondered what piece I had placed there. At the top of the Bulge I didn't find anything, but looking back across the traverse I spotted a sling attached to some piece of gear. I knew it was the missing piece. I found a safe way to get there by climbing up a featured gully and then down a crack, since I was only in my running shoes now. I retrieved the errant 0.75 Camalot and the sling and retraced my steps back to the car and a waiting Buzz.

A couple more mistakes today, but hopefully we are getting them all out of the way before the big day, which is currently planned for June 20th - the longest day of the year. I hope for cool weather, minimal crowds, and no mistakes.

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