Friday, August 30, 2013

More Needles and the High Sierra

The last time I blogged I was supposed to be on a rest day, but right after I posted some other climbers told us thunderstorms were forecast for the next day. A quick check of the forecast confirmed this so we hiked back up to the Needles to collect our stuff. As we were going all that way is seemed rude not to do a route.

Ollie and I headed up Imaginary Voyage, a 5.9 on the Warlock. I lead the first pitch, only 5.8 but a pretty wide crack. At the top it went shallow and I had to make scary smearing moves to reach a bolt and then more smearing to reach easy ground and the belay. A rope stretching pitch.

Ollie ran up the next pitch, which lead to an intimidating chimney. I set off fully expecting to hand over the ropes, but thankfully the climbing wasn't too bad - tricky bridging with lots of helpful face hold. Ollie than climbed the wrong crack, lowered off and stepped right to the right crack, which lead to tricky face climbing, and a point of aid, to the summit.

The sun was setting now and with one head torch between us we needed to get back fast. We rapped down The Howling and walked back to camp by the light of Ollie's torch.

It didn't rain the next day but I felt pretty spent so Ollie and I had a proper rest. We went in search of a shower while DC and Mark went climbing. We managed to blag a shower from a kind lady called Rosie at Camp Nelson.

We had one more day at the Needles where we climbed a scary 5.9 and i frigged my way up Fancy Free (I guess it is probably a good idea to lead 10a before you try 10b!). We then struck camp and headed to Bishop. It's hot here. We spent the afternoon chilling out in the hot springs before a Denny's diner (Mark's favorite) and bed by the side of the road.

This morning we climbed the West Face of Cardinal Pinnacle, a fun four pitch 10a with a Cromlechesque walk in. Tomorrow we are going to head down to Loan Pine to try and get permits for Mount Whitney.

Ollie on Cardinal Pinnacle.

The team - psyched for hot springs.

Me bridging up the intimidating chimney on Imaginary Voyage.

Why you should go to the Needles.

Scary forest fire.

Ollie on a scary 5.9 pitch.

Some chummer.

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