Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Joshua Tree w/Derek - Day 4

At the top of Bamib Meets Godzilla

Our last day and it was going to be just Derek and I again, as Dave and his Chuckwalla Rope Caddy headed for the hills. I had hoped to get on a some 5.10 routes today, but I had also hoped to be more motivated, to be stronger, to be tougher, to be braver. None of that happened. Instead the heat and fatigue sapped the energy out of us. It didn't help that we forgot all our water, chilling nicely inside Opie's frig. We had a single 12-oz can of lemonade with us. Bummer. Initially we planned to just go retrieve the water at lunch time, but we lolly gagged enough to rule that out. We decided to go to the Echo Rock area and warm-up on some more routes from our Trad Guidebook. We started with Fun Stuff and it's 30-second approach. This route is rated 5.8 and starts with some very hard slab moves protected by a bolt. This move seemed 5.10 to Derek and I. The rest of the route was some more slab and then up a fun crack to brief slab finish.

Next up was Bambi Meets Godzilla - a 5.8 crack route that we also thought was a bit of a sandbag. The crux felt solid 5.9 to me, certainly harder than the 5.9 of the day before. This was a super good route, though. It starts with some low-angle chimney/offwidth climbing. Derek did well on this very unintuitive climbing. The crux was near the top of this long pitch where the climbing was hand jams, but at a steep angle and in a leaning crack that made it tough to use your feet for a few moves. Derek powered out this section to get the route clean. He's really taking to jamming and I think he learned a lot on this trip.

With the heat draining our enthusiasm, we downed our only liquid and hiked over to a shaded route called Funny Bone. We had fun climbing this very moderate 5.8 and then I TRed Humorous (10b), which felt hard and painful to me. I figured Figures on a Landscape would have similar painful holds like this route. Climbing at JTree takes tough skin. I'm not there yet. 

On the way back to the car we climbed Eff Eight a very short 5.8 crack that leans at an awkward angle. It was harder than it looked and I'm glad I didn't try soloing it. Derek  did better than I did, climbing it in his approach shoes as his feet were really killing him and he didn't want to crush them back into his climbing shoes. We packed up and headed out, but stopped at Intersection Rock so that we could do Upper Right Ski Track, which is rated 5.2, but looks much harder at a distance. We enjoyed it, but thought it was more like 5.4. I looked at Lower Right Ski Track (10c) and wussed out. I was too tired, hot, and dehydrated. Next time, I told myself. Next time I'll be bolder… We'll see about that.

Fun Stuff  5.8++ 
Bambi Meets Godzilla Echo Rock  5.8/9+ 
Funny Bone Snickers  5.8 
Humorous  5.10b 
Eff Eight Mounds  5.8 
Upper Right Ski Track Intersection Rock 5.4 

Day 4 Totals: 6 routes, 6 pitches

We headed back to Opie's pad, cleaned up and packed up. We drove until 11:30 p.m. and threw down the bags at a rest stop for 5.5 hours of sleep. As we snuggled into our bags, Derek says, "This is so fun!" What a partner. When he can be so enthusiastic about sleeping on the grass at highway rest stop, with the growl of the semi's and the wash of the lights. I could do a lot worse in the partner department. I couldn't do any better.

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