Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend update

Climbing at the Gunks was great this weekend. Saturday was hot and sunny. Sunday started and ended with a light mist but was dry the rest of the day, overcast and a little cooler.

We started Saturday with RMC (5.5-) and had lunch at the top. There were a few parties below us. We sat for a while on the edge of the cliff in the shade of our anchor tree watching the climbers and vultures. As we lowered our rope to rappel, Pauly Shore started to lead up so we waited and got to do a nice long two-rope rappel.

Next we headed over to Easy Overhang (5.2) and Laurel led the first pitch. It was a fun climb.

Last climb of the day was Sixish (5.4+). After leading the first pitch I understood why it wasn't called Fourish. Maybe I did a variation. It was getting late and another party was rappelling above us so we called it a night. At the base we got to check out their Link Cam -- very cool.

Dinner at the Mountain Brauhouse was delicious. We got to bed earlyish since Sunday we were meeting Yvin at 7ish. He's more dedicated to (crazier about) climbing than we are -- he left his house at 3am to meet us that morning!

Laurel led the first pitch of Betty (5.3), Yvin and I followed. By the time Laurel cleaned the second pitch she was literally climbing through a cloud! Very surreal and a little wet.

We all climbed the first two pitches of Jackie (5.6) and rapped off so Laurel could visit her brother in CT. Climbing with three people was a lot of fun, luckily we had huge belay ledges on the climbs we did.

It was time to get Yvin a more challenging lead. Classic (5.7) was nearby and available. He led the 5.7 pitch then I led the 5.4 pitch.

After that Yvin asked if I had heard of High Exposure (5.6+). I had just read an article in AMC Outdoors about it and so had he, and we were both excited to tick it off. The guidebook describes it as THE classic Gunks 5.6, so we headed down to the undercliff road for the 15 minute walk over.

We started the climb sometime before 5. The book suggested leading the first pitch (120') as two pitches or with double ropes to avoid rope drag. The drag didn't seem bad so I kept going. Misinterpreting the beta I got on the ground, I traversed and diagonalled up the face earlier than I should have. The pro was thin and the rock was lichen-covered -- it occurred to me later that when you're on the most popular climb in the area and there's lichen on the rock, you must be off route. But on the other hand, the pictures in the guidebook show the diagonal early like I did it, so maybe I was right on. By the time I set up a belay anchor there was so much drag I used a prusik to haul the rope up.

Yvin heroically led the second pitch which had a few very exciting moves. It may be a while until I lead that pitch but I'm looking forward to it. With only one rope it was a three rope rappel. Back on the ground we straightened out our gear, packed up and headed out. It started misting again on our hike down the talus. Once on the undercliff road Yvin checked his watch -- I didn't believe him when he said it was 20 to 9! Ooops, so much for getting home by 9!

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