Index, May 20 2011

2011 June 7

A sunny and warm Friday, perfect for a day at Index! I’ve met Sherri on a few Women Climbers Northwest trips, but she’s always arrived with a climbing partner and agenda set up so I’ve never climbed with her. And she’s done everything at Index which is both intimidating and inspiring. She was already planning to meet Diana at Index in the evening, and Leah and I were also looking to get out (and were lucky enough to have the whole day free), so we joined her for the morning.

Despite the number of cars in the parking lot, we strolled up to Godzilla and found it empty. This never happens! Score! Sherri kindly let me have the first lead. It’s been seven long months since I’ve climbed at Index, but it only took less than seven feet of Godzilla to remember why I love it. Ledges, (solid) sharp flakes, splitter cracks, granite friction, finger cracks that swallow nuts, hand traverses, 35 meter topropable routes, climbing above the trees to a great view of the peaks across the river…

Leah working the direct start to Godzilla

Leah took on the direct start to Godzilla with some impressive laybacking when it was her turn to toprope it.

Next up was a new-to-me route. I’d had Breakfast of Champions recommended to me by Jay (a former Washingtonian now living in Michigan who I met in North Wales — small/convoluted world!). It starts a pitch (or two, depending on how you count it) off the ground, so Sherri got us all up there via Roger’s Corner, and let me have the first lead on Breakfast (she’s already done it). It was fun, but I wish it was longer! I wonder if Roger’s Corner can be linked up with Breakfast of Champions for one giant pitch?

As we were rappelling, Sherri’s internet-hookup-new-climbing-partner Diana showed up. So she cruised the first pitch of Roger’s Corner while the rope was still there. And I mean cruised! There’s another 5.10+ route called Sugar Bear that can be toproped from the same anchor so we shifted over there. It took a while to do Roger/Breakfast as a party of three, and I’d taken forever on Sugar Bear (finally pulling out my nut tool to aid past the crux — the other members of our party had no need of such shenanigans) so we only had time for one more route. While Sherri and Diane stayed at Sugar Bear, Leah and I walked down the wall to see if we could find something else to do.

Japanese Gardens and Tatoosh were occupied, “time for one more route” was not enough time to be messing with Sagittarius (a handy excuse…), so the most likely candidate was Thin Fingers. I had no problem with that since it’s one of my favorites (well, one problem, we ended up with the 60m rope instead of the 70). Of course I haven’t figured out the actual 11a crux part (the rest of the route is easy 5.9-.10-) so I’ve always aided past it, including this time, to get to the nice second half pitch. One great thing about Index is that nobody seems to mind such cheating tactics. Astonishingly, Leah, Sherri, and Diana weren’t into trying the second half enough to deal with the complexities of toproping with a slightly short rope (I probably took too long and made it look harder than it is, too).

Index is one of my favorite summer cragging areas, especially since the relatively short drive from Seattle (an hour in my head, about an hour and half in real life including carpooling transitions, sorry I was late..) keeps it in range for a day trip. I only regret that it took me so long to actually go climb there, partly because everyone told me it was soooo hard (one of my pet rants…). It’s glad to be back!

  • Lower Town Wall, Godzilla, 5.9 trad (lead) I have done this one before but apparently I have a bad memory and completely forgot the crux so it’s just as fun the second time
  • Lower Town Wall, Roger’s Corner, 5.9 trad (follow) cool moves
  • Lower Town Wall, Breakfast of Champions, 5.10a trad (lead) so fun, too bad it’s so short
  • Lower Town Wall, Sugar Bear, 5.10c/d trad (TR) you may laugh at my sit-on-the-ledge backwards beta, but it works. required one point of aid, a torqued nut tool…
  • Lower Town Wall, Thin Fingers, 5.11a trad (lead, the 5.10/A1 way) I have fantasies of getting there and suddenly knowing what to do, but it never quite works out that way.
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS