Monday, June 16, 2008

Climbing The Northshore

It's been quite a few weeks since I last went climbing and after short day of class I had a taste for some climbing. After calling around, I was surprised to find that Tyler was ready for a trip up the Northshore. We decided to head to the "Mystical Mountain Zone" adjacent to Wolf Ridge ELC. The sky was blue and the wind was blowing strong as we hiked out to the cliff band along Wolf Lake. Upon arriving our first planned route was to fire up "Th Black Gates" a 5.10a. Being a tiny finger crack seam, it would have been a heinous trad lead. So we quick set up a top-rope and rapped down. I was the first to hit up the route since I had never climbed it. I first ascended up a thin seam with decent face holds that narrowed quickly. Soon I found myself in a small corner pulling myself up by my smallest finger knuckles wedged into the crack and feet on nickle thin placements. The route eased up for a bit and then reached a large horizontal crack in which I traversed along until reaching another seam. This being the crux, it involved reaching up and getting only my left thumb knuckle stuck in an unfriendly crack and smearing my feet high.... desperately reaching for the next finger jam. It didn't go without a fall, but it did go. After Tyler made clean work of the route, we went to go set up another route entitle "Jack Be Nimble". After rapping down and looking at the route I was confident this one would be tricky. It was supposedly a 5.10a but as most Northshore climbing ratings its difficulty was highly under-rated. Again I hit up the route first. It first began in a narrow angled open book corner with a thin crack in the corner and smooth faces. My focus was on the crack. It started out with good hand jams, but quickly narrowed to unfriendly fingers. I found myself grunting vocally as I pulled up on painful and weak finger jams while smearing and jamming my body into the corner. Not without falling, I reached a triangular roof with a large crack in it's corner. Being the crux, I threw a manky fist jam deep into the crack, swung my feet up to high smear, and reached for the next hand jam. Finally finding a good jam, I pulled upward largely unweighting my feet until they could be stuffed into the crack. The rest of the route went beautifully... a 5.8 crack with great jams. It was a excellent and challenging route....and long too (at least 100ft). Tyler took a chimney style approach to the open book and styled the whole route cleanly.

We packed up and decided to end the day at Palisade on the way home. My interest was in climbing "Phantom Crack" again. Before long I was rappelling down. I moved smoothly jam after jam until reach the crux. There my jam slipped out and my clean run was ruined. Disappointed I got back on the climb and finished it. Tyler cruised the route speedily and efficiently. I wanted another shot at hitting the route cleanly and went back down. Unfortunately I found that I was tired... and flailed the route. I finished it panting heavily. It was a great day. I was happily exhausted and drove home contently quiet in a daze. I arrived home as it was just becoming dark and crawled into bed with a grin.

1 comment:

Snow_King said...

Fun stuff. Yep, I just led my first sport route a week or two back. It started with a 5.8 overhang to the first piece, and then the rest of it was super easy. Good stuff.