Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blind Faith: Three Times the Charm?

Happy to be at the top of Blind Faith
Last weekend when Mark was descending after climbing the Bastille Crack with his daughter Mallory, he watched a climber totally walk the crux of Blind Faith and only jam the crack with his left side. He wanted another go and this year I, embarrassingly, still hadn't led both pitches clean on the same day. We met early and hiked around the corner of the Bastille, out of the wind, to the base.

I cruised up the first pitch, feeling strong on the upper jams. This pitch is getting pretty familiar, as it was my third time up it this year. Mark climbed easily up to the crux and pulled the #3 Camalot that protects the last section. But then he stalled out. He's just unable to lock off his jams and reach either another hold or another jam. It's unfortunate that we can't work this section more easily. I'd love to be able to climb the moves with him watching and then just step back and have him try it. But since the moves are a hundred above the ground with no ledge below it, this isn't very easy to do.

Mark eventually worked out a new finish to the pitch, where he goes further to the right. I'm not sure if he even wants to return to this route and work out the clean ascent. The route has served it's purpose, though. We've got some good jamming practice and the Casual Route's crux is easier than this pitch, so at least we have that going for us.

This time I didn't rush blindly through the tricky crux on the second pitch and worked out a very nice solution that kept me on my feet for all but one move that didn't feel too insecure. Alas, Mark didn't have much luck on it. Ironically, my success on the pitch was due to Mark's suggestion. He'd worked out an easier way to do it last time, but couldn't pull it off today. Maybe he was still tired from the first pitch.

Despite only doing two pitches, we called it a morning and headed to work.

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