Vantage, January 16 and 17
When the weather forecast for this weekend in the mountains was looking like rain and high freezing levels, I looked east and saw a Vantage shaped hole in the precipitation map. Hmmm…. I started sending out texts, emails, and facebook messages and managed to get three companions for both Sunday and Monday (two completely different groups, and I needed to go back to town because I needed to drive on Monday, pushing total car time to 10 hours for the weekend, but I can’t complain about dry rock in January!). Mark graciously drove on Sunday (though now he probably wishes he didn’t).
On Sunday, Tony and Mark wanted to practice some crack climbing to prepare for our trip to Indian Creek this spring, so we did some of the nice long trad routes like Crossing the Threshold, Pony Keg and Air Guitar. I like those routes but they get kind of old. I’ve done (well, attempted) most of the routes at the Sunshine Wall, so an obvious project to make things interesting is to try all of them. Sketchy owns a full set of Big Bros and an old #5 (new #6 sized) camalot — I asked him to bring these along because that’s exactly what I would need for the intriguing four star 10b offwidth Blue Autumn. I’d looked at it last time, but decided not to mess with it since on that trip I only had a single #4 and #5 for big gear. And of course after asking him to haul 10 pounds of aluminum to the crag for me I had to give it a try. I don’t know if I really did any actual offwidth climbing but there was opportunity for plenty of tricky and devious stuff, and I feel a little better about placing Big Bros (though I only placed two, being able to get away with slinging chockstones, placing big cams, and running it out). For some reason nobody wanted to follow after I was done.
- Sunshine Wall, Crossing The Threshold, 5.7 trad (lead)
- Sunshine Wall, Pony Keg, 5.9 trad (lead)
- Sunshine Wall, Air Guitar, 5.10a trad (lead)
- Sunshine Wall, Clip ‘em or Skip ‘em, 5.8 sport (lead)
- Sunshine Wall, Peaceful Warrior, 5.6 sport (lead) it is possible that I haven’t done this before, since it’s only a 5.6 and usually there are enough people around who actually want to lead easy stuff. This time there was a bail draw on it (there must be a good story behind that one) so I went up and got it.
- Sunshine Wall, Blue Autumn, 5.10b trad (lead) new-to-me route for the day. It has multiple stars, which I think are deserved, but I think most people are discouraged by the “multiple 6in gear” in the description
On Monday I came back with Lace, Koko, and Erin. The wind was even stronger than the day before (blowing Fugs Falls backwards in a much more dramatic way), so we got to practice some high wind rope management. It was Lace’s birthday so she treated us to some leftover birthday cake (which also tried to blow away).
To continue the doing-routes-I-haven’t-done-yet project, I got on Welcome To Vantage, a typical varied Sunshine Wall crack with the full range of jamming, stemming, and face holds. I attempted another new-to-me-route, Mix It Up. At Vantage it seems most of the 5.11s are 90% 5.9 climbing with one or two crux moves (for example, Bob’s Your Uncle, Weep Holes on a Sill), so when my attempts to actually climb one of the face climbing cruxes failed I resorted to my usual merciless cheating, but only managed to get “stuck” in the adjacent crack, so I downclimbed/fell my way back down to retrieve my draws. Someone else started up it after me, and I was hoping I’d be able to ask for a run on his toprope, but he bailed off the 5th and final bolt (before turning into trad). I guess I’m saving that one for next time, especially if I can find someone interested in working on it with me.
- Sunshine Wall, Party in Your Pants, 5.8 trad (lead)
- Sunshine Wall, Easy Off, 5.10c sport (lead) one of my favorites, I think it’s easy for a 10c, but maybe only because the bolts are in line instead of way off to the side, which makes leading a lot easier since you have more choice of where to clip from
- Sunshine Wall, Welcome To Vantage, 5.10c trad (lead) my new route for the day. perfectly nice climb, only problem with it is that you have to scramble up a chossy pillar to start
- Sunshine Wall, Hakuna Matada, 5.10b sport (lead) I always fall off this one at the same place! and I always forget where!
- Sunshine Wall, Mix It Up, 5.11a sport/trad (bailed) bailed at second bolt. Next time…