Friday, July 15, 2011

Little Cottonwood Canyon-Mosquitoes: 20; Me: 10+

 "Crescent Crack 5.7"- I might have lost a pint of blood as I sat at the bottom of "Mexican Crack" while Greg gave it a go. Mosquitoes are the worst. Those bold little suckers go in for a meal even when they have around a 50% chance of dying. I wouldn't do it. If I had a pizza pocket sitting in the microwave right now and 50/50 chance of getting crushed on my way over there I would go eat something else. Idiot bugs.

Greg and I met up to do a few climbs but got shut down on our attempt at "Cresent Crack". There was a group in front of us that was moving pretty slow so we bagged it at the top of the first pitch. We were barely able to rappel off because it was a long way up. The rope didn't quite reach the ground, but we could swing over into an easy crack that we could down climb.

Greg is a strong climber and as easy to get along with as anyone I have ever met.  Even though our plan didn't work out it was great to get up on something that I have never done before. I am definitely struggling to learn to climb slabby granite. A 5.6 feels a lot harder than I think it should.

 Greg at the top of Mexican Crack

Our friendly route friend. They were nice. Slow climbers, but nice.

 Little Cottonwood Canyon

Monday, July 11, 2011

This Morning in Big Cottonwood: "Steorts' Ridge" 5.6

My early drive to meet Austin went quick, there is something about a cool summer morning with some tunes and a drive that starts the day off right. There is some type of calm that comes with a drive to the mountains. I arrived at the park and ride and jumped in his car. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to a route called Steorts' Ridge, one that a friend, Chase McMillan, recommended as a good one for beginners. All the info on it claimed it would be great, and it did not disappoint.

We got there and burned about a half an hour farting around on the wrong route. After realizing we were on the wrong line we got all our stuff down and figured out where to go. Austin lead the first pitch and I followed. 

The rock was great, it was a lot more of what I am used to, so it made it easier to feel comfortable when I jumped on lead for the second pitch. There was a crack portion of the climb, something I have never really climbed, that made me feel a bit uneasy. This is what I am loving about climbing trad, there is a sense of adventure in just going for it even if it is easy. This climb wasn't difficult but it was a blast. 

The last bit of the climb was really exposed and fun. There were minimal placements for protection on this section so I am glad Austin lead it. We topped out stoked and headed for the rappel. Such a cool route.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crevasse Rescue Clinic

 In preparation for Mount Raineer the climbing club hosted a crevasse rescue clinic last night up Rock Canyon. We learned how to use prussik knots, a type of knot that you can use to ascend a rope. We also learned how to use pulleys to get someone injured out of a crevasse. It was great to learn and practice these techniques.

My first trad lead: "Perhaps" 5.7

 Trad climbing has seemed out of reach for a long time. The equipment needed is expensive and the skills required I always felt I didn't have. For some reason I recently have been getting invites to go by a few people and yesterday it finally worked out. Austin Davis's family has been climbing for a long time and with his recent return from his mission he had been wanting to get out. Tanner and I took him up on it and met him early to drive up to Little Cottonwood Canyon.

We headed up to the wall passing all the old remains of the quarried granite for the Salt Lake Temple. I decided I would lead the first pitch and pulled on the large rack of nuts and cams (the equipment you place in cracks to safeguard a fall). This was my first time really pulling onto a slabby granite face so there where definitely times where I felt a little gripped. The climbing was easy, but unlike what I am normally used to.

I finished my pitch and Tanner and Austin rapidly followed. We split the second pitch into two and took our time. The last bit of climbing was hard for me, it was really the first time I have felt hindered climbing by my wrists. Due to a motorcycle accident I don't have the ability to put my palms to the sky when my arms are extended, so the underclings were that much harder. I figured out a way to get by and got across. It was a fun day, and I couldn't have been happier to get my first lead under my belt.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beer Can Alley

 Right now I have been really been wanting to mix it up with my climbing. For years I have climbed the same walls and worked the same problems and not really explored new areas. I don't know why, but I have really gotten the bug to go find new climbs and see the world from new high perspectives. Luckily I have buddies like Tanner, he is getting stronger and putting up some difficult routes. He dragged me up some harder climbs yesterday morning at Beer Can Alley. I am hoping to get stronger so when fall rolls around I can do some bigger harder routes.