This last week my friends Ben and Jenalyn were in town visiting (they are currently living in Cape Cod, MA), so we were able to hang out on Tuesday before Jenalyn had to fly back, but Ben was staying in town for a couple of days longer so I thought it would be cool to get out climbing with him. Both Ben and I have been wanting to get on Arm and Hammer in Bells canyon for a long time, so we decided to climb it on Friday the 12th of July. We planned to meet up at the trailhead at 8:00 to give it a go.
Well, Friday morning rolled around and the weather showed that it was supposed to rain that afternoon, so we hoped that we'd be okay to hurry up the route and be done before the rain hit. I left home to meet up with Ben at 8:00, but as soon as I got into the Salt Lake valley I knew we were in trouble. The whole corner of the valley, all the way from Big Cottonwood Canyon to the south was just one big rain storm. I figured that we'd still be able to figure something out, so I continued to the Bells Canyon trailhead and met up with Ben. The rain was so bad that we figured we'd have to find something good and overhanging if we wanted to climb anything, so we decided to head to American Fork Canyon.
Ben hasn't been climbing much lately, so we had a bit of a conundrum to overcome in the fact that we wanted something overhanging so that it would keep us dry, but still easy enough that Ben would be able to climb. We decided to try The Membrane to see if it was dry enough. We arrived at The Membrane and found that all but the very tops of the climbs were dry, so we chose to stay there.
Ben liked the look of a 5.10d called Steel Monkey, so we made it our first route of the day. Ben wanted to lead it up, so he racked up with the draws and headed up. I must say that I was very impressed, Ben hadn't climbed in probably close to a year, but he was able to hang-dog his way up the route with very few problems other than the fact that he kept wanting to switch routes on me;) He made it to the top of the route, lowered off, then let me have a go. I cruised the route and got the redpoint pretty easily, then we decided that since Ben had kept wanting to climb the route to the left of Steel Monkey, a 5.10a called Caress of Steel, we'd give it a go.
Once again Ben lead up the route first and did a great job. He had to hang-dog up the route again, but once again he made it to the chains without any major issues. He did have a bit of excitement as he clipped the chains due to the fact that the clipping hold was all wet from the rain, but he clipped and lowered off. Once again, I ran up the route and got a redpoint of it.
Ben on License to Thrill - 5.11c
Next, I had been wanting to climb the ultra classic route on the wall, a 5.11c called License to Thrill, so we decided to give it a go. Ben didn't want to lead this one, so I headed up. I've attempted License to Thrill two times before, but had never made it to the top. The first time I tried climbing it was back in 2002 , but I was just too pumped to make it through the crux on that attempt, the second time I tried was just a few months ago, but Amy didn't really want to try climbing it, so instead of finishing the route, I traversed left to the anchors of Steel Monkey right after the crux so that Amy could TR that instead, so I knew I had to at least get to the anchors this time. I did have to hang a few times to figure out all of the moves, but I made it to the anchors. The rain did make the top of the route kind of interesting. Right at the last bolt, the route pulls out over the final little roof and is exposed to the rain for the last few feet. As I reached up to the clipping jug for the last bolt, I found that the hold was literally full of a couple of inches of water. My hand was completely submerged in water as I clipped the last bolt which made it kind of fun and was certainly my first experience like that. Once I lowered off, Ben gave it a go and made it up to the crux of the route before he was just too tired to continue. When he was done, we decided that he was too tired to climb any more routes, so we just packed up the gear and headed out.
We certainly were able to have a good time climbing even though it was a rainy day, and it was awesome getting out to climb with Ben again.