Plans for the Black Canyon were aborted due to snow and cold temperatures. The desert seemed more promising so let's go to The Creek!
After a long drive through pretty country on Friday, we arrived in the zone with just enough time to give Naomi an intro. Naomi and I both led Twin Cracks, a nice 5.9 at Supercrack Buttress. Then I ran the rope up 3 AM to give her a taste of something more splitter.
Friday night it actually rained some and Saturday morning was grey and cold. But Pasha got there and he did not care; he wanted to climb. So we jumped on some cracks at Scarface Wall. This picture is deceptive, because these were the only 5 minutes of the day that were truly sunny. Pasha leads Scarface.
That night Liz came with a crew from SLC. They were four deep with climbing and camping gear in a Prius. Wow!
The next morning I sandbagged Pasha into climbing North Six Shooter Tower with us. Naomi and Liz hike toward our lightning rod.
Doesn't that look stellar?
Liz on the funky approach with Naomi and Pasha following.
The first pitch of Lightning Bolt Cracks is the technical crux. You can tell I thought it was difficult by the amount of gear I placed through the start. Somehow I managed to fire it clean.
When we arrived at the base, Naomi looked through her pack and discovered that she had forgotten her climbing shoes. Then she and Liz realized that they share the same shoe size. So we had a plan. Naomi would follow me; we would lower the shoes; Pasha would lead and Liz would follow and give the shoes to Naomi again. I felt bad for the four Spanish-speaking fellows who arrived as we implemented our plan on the first pitch.
Then it got funkier. Pasha approaches the 5.10 off-width section near the top of the first pitch.
A #5 protects it until it gets wider and a few overhanging OW moves must be made before further protection becomes available. I recall jamming my foot into a constriction just above where I left my #5 and thinking, "I really wouldn't want to fall on this." I locked an arm bar for all I was worth and climbed past that spot quickly. The crack got a bit of indigestion while Pasha was climbing that section and he spent an excruciating few minutes extricating his stuck foot. He was fine in the end, but not without a bit of howling. Somewhere in the middle of it, the two fellows who climbed the tower before we got there arrived at the base and one of them tried to offer Pasha advice about his predicament. He gave them a heartfelt STFU! He eventually won the day and finished the pitch, but not before those two hiked down the talus and declared us, "an effing Gong Show." Which we surely were at that moment. But oh well shit happens!
Meanwhile I was loving the second pitch. I started up the finger crack side but jumped to the chimney on the other crack instead of making a 5.11 fingers move. The chimney was pure bliss. Here I'm getting ready to return to the other crack for killer fist jams through the roof.
Pasha kept his composure for the rest of the route; here he leads the second pitch past the roof.
The other fellows aborted their plan somewhere in the midst of all this. But I saw them hiking down the hill without packs; hopefully they returned the next day for a great climb. Lo siento, amigos.
The third pitch was more crack-laced bliss. Hands through a roof then traversing dual-crack hands and fingers on overhanging, spectacular exposed terrain. The rock got softer near the end but who cares!? Naomi follows.
I was so elated after finishing the unprotected 5.9 chimney at the top.
I would never have expected myself to on-sight this whole route. Yeah yeah yeah!
Naomi followed the chimney with bare feet. We left some rope for Pasha and Liz to follow the chimney. It seemed good to spare Pasha the run-out wideness since he'd already found some serious "adventure." Here he follows the chimney.
Liz liked the chimney.
It's two rappels off the other side with a 70 m rope. Happy time!
I can't wait for more desert adventures in another week or so here....