Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tower Land: Pounding Pitons

Driving a piton into a moenkopi crack with a massive hammer is something I didn't think I would ever get to do. I had set up this idea of what my climbing life would be like and labeled this as "outside my realm". It is amazing what a lack of understanding can do. Ignorance can stop you from doing just about anything. Dreams change when understanding grows. I now have a completely different idea of what I want to do and accomplish with my climbing. This trip unlocked a whole new world of climbing for me.

Neena, Eric, Whitney and I drove down in a caravan and camped out next to each other. We planned a big breakfast and Eric and I got to be the chefs. We then met up with the rest of the group and got assigned our "coach". Neena and I were assigned Andy Knight, a guy I have heard about and seen around for a long time but never met. He has been at it a long time and done a lot of amazing things in climbing. Andy put up the second ascent of the route we were heading to do. I think the first ascent was in the early 90's sometime.

The climbing was everything I had hoped. Aid climbing is the perfect way to learn to place gear. You put in a cam or a piton and bounce on it to see if it will pull out before trusting it to hold you so you are able to move higher. I learned a lot more in one climb than I think I would in a month of placing gear climbing regular routes.

Neena was a champ on belay as I stayed up on the climb for hours. I climbed about three quarters of the route before turning it over to her to finish. She was amazing. I loved watching her smacking away at those pitons. She was able to get on top of the tower and rappel off the top. It has been fun seeing her take to climbing on her own and push herself. It was an amazing trip and it was only made possible by Darren and Jen over at Mountainworks, the best climbing shop around.

The route was called "Strummer" but the tower is referred to as "The Crooked Penis"

Gear..... Andy was nice enough to let us use his stuff. I need....


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