Thursday, September 19, 2013

Smith Rock

After the Hulk we drove south to Tuolumne. The smoke had mostly cleared mostlyup by the time we arrived but it came in most afternoons. Due to the road being closed it was pretty quiet. On the first day Mark and I had a good time climbing the three classic routes on Fairview Dome: Pumpkin (5.8), Lucky Streaks (5.10c) and probably the best of the three Regular Route (5.9). The second day was less sucessful. Ollie and I failed to even find On the Lamb. Though we did a fun Bachar-Yairianesque (except it was five grades easier and the bolts were closer together - so nothing like the B-Y!) 10a called Darth Vader's Revenge, which was a good consolation, before the afternoon rain. The next day I was pretty tired so Ollie and I soloed Cathedral Peak and Eichorn's Pinnicle. Both routes were super fun but I was glad we took a rope as I wouldn't have fancied down climbing Eichorn's Pinnicle.

We then drove back to San Francisco to return our hire car. The plan was to get a new one and head to the Black Canyon of Gunisison in Colorado for two weeks. Unfortuantley whilst browsing the web in the queue for the hire car I noticed that Colorado was underwater.

Instead we drove north to Smith Rock in Oregon. For the first couple of days it was unbearably hot, as far as I was concerned the best thing about the crag was the free showers at the campsite! Thankfully the weather cooled down after a few days and I started to enjoy the fingery sport climbing more, though I'm pretty rubbish at it.

One afternoon Dunc and I decided to climb the Monkey's Face. A cool free standing pinnicle which looks like a monkey. The easiest route is 5.8 A0 so we didn't anticipate any problems. I lead the first two pitches, which brought us to the base of the A0 bolt ladder, which Dunc frigged his way up like a monkey up a drainpipe. By the time I'd frigged my way up it was dusk. I stepped out onto the final traversing pitch, dubbed the Panic Point and apparently the most exposed 5.7 in North America. I don't know about that but in the half light it felt pretty damn exposed. Halfway along I got gripped and clipped in to a draw. At the top it was dark, with no head torches the abseil off was going to be interesting. Thankfully there was a full moon.

I set off down and went too far. Hanging in space in dark I tried to remember how to prussik. After a couple of false starts I got a vaugely efficent system working and soon was back up with Dunc. We managed to locate the correct bolts this time and four abseils later we were back on the ground. Thanks to Mark and Ollie for slogging up the hill to check we hadn't come to greif. The next day we went to the Misa Verde Buttress and I did an awesome 10b called Screaming Yellow Zonkers.

Almack on The Pumpkin.

Ollie on Cathedral Peak.

Burrows on Darth Vader's Revenge.

Me signing the register on Echihorn's Pinnacle.

Smith Rock

Duncan about to back off fording the river. The water went over his head.

Caveman's cheat stick

Duncan on the Monkey's Face.

Me on the bolt ladder.

Duncan leading the bolt ladder - harder than it looks.

Duncan topping out on The Monkey's Face.

Me about to abseil into the abyss.

Back on the ground

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