Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Devin's Punchbowl - 02/17/2012

I've been interested in checking out Devil's Punchbowl for a while after hearing that it is a conglomerate area. I lived about 20 minutes away from Maple Canyon in UT for about a year and absolutely loved climbing the coblestone there, so I was hoping that Devil's Punchbowl would be somewhat similar. The one deterent was that I had also heard that it is part of the same formation as Mormon Rocks which is absolutely horrible as far as rock quality goes. I had Friday the 17th off work, so we decided to head out and check it out.

From what I had read I thought that the trail was an interperative nature walk that took you all the way down to the rocks so we decided to take the stroller to push the kids in. The trail did start out as an interperative nature walk, but that soon ended and the trail got a little bit worse, but it still wasn't too bad so we kept on going. Unfortunately, the trail kept getting worse and worse, and by the time we realized that we shouldn't have brought the stroler we had gone far enough that we didn't want to turn around so we just continued on with the stroller.

We were using Troy Mayr's Southern California Sport Climbing book and wanted to climb at the attitude wall so we were trying to follow the map in the book. I found the Little Attitude Wall, and the map made it look like the Attitude Wall was just north of the Little Attitude Wall, so we ditched the stroller at Little Attitude, and headed up to what we hoped was the Attitude Wall. When we got to where we figured it should be there were only 2 routes on the rock instead of the 15 or so that we were expecting, and there wasn't any other rock nearby that could have been the Attitude Wall so we just decided to try one of the routes on the wall we were at.

The route climbed vertical cobbles through 5 bolts and looked awesome, but unfortunately, the rock quality was horrible. I made it to the 4th bolt without any problems, but every cobble felt like it was going to pull out as I climbed and after the 4th bolt the rock quality got even worse with a pretty big runout to get to the fifth bolt, so I decided to bail since I didn't even really trust the 3/8" bolts in the bad rock. I left the draws in and Amy TR'd the route up to the 4th bolt then we decided to find something else to climb. The other route on the wall that we were at looked a bit hard, and since we didn't like the rock quality we decided to head to another wall.

Blacklisted - 5.11b

As we had hiked past the Little Attitude wall I had noticed a route that looked really fun so we decided to try it. The route was called "Blacklisted" and is rated 5.11a in the book, it is crazy overhung, and looked like it would be tons of fun. Amy fed the kids some lunch while I scoped out all the moves. I was most worried about the moves between the 3rd and 4th bolts because it looked pretty blank with the only option being a big move out to what looked like a slopey ledge, but the rest of the route didn't look to bad.

After the kids had finished eating, Amy came over to belay me up the route. The moves were easy up to the first bolt, but then some of the things that looked like they would work for holds between the first and second bolt turned out to be nothing, so after a few falls, I ended up just dynoing to a huge jug just below the second bolt (don't worry, It took a few tries to stick the dyno as well). After clipping the second bolt, Amy couldn't get the camera to work, so since I didn't have to worry about blowing the onsight or anything, I went in direct to the bolt while Amy went to try and fix the camera, unfortunately, she couldn't figure out what was wrong, so she just left it, but she did get a couple of photos of me hanging on the bolt.

Hanging out while Amy messed with the camera

When she was done fiddling with the camera, I started climbing again, and fired all the way from the second to the fourth bolt without any problems. I did have to hang at the fourth bolt to figure out the moves between it and the anchors since you couldn't really see that section from the ground, but overall the route went pretty well, and now I want to go back and redpoint it. After I lowered off, Danny wanted to go swinging, so we hoisted him up and let him swing around which is one of his favorite things to do when we go climbing. Amy didn't want to do anymore climbing, so we packed up and headed out, but just before we left I had an idea about where the Attitude wall was, so I checked it out, and sure enough, I found where it really is, so next time we head out to Devil's Punchbowl, we'll have to check it out.

Danny on his aid ascent

Monday, February 6, 2012

Big Rock - 02/04/2012

Sometimes it's nice to test your mental ability and not just your physical ability when climbing. Big Rock, on the shore of Lake Perris is a good place to do that. Big rock has a long history of climbing and many of the great climbers from back in the day got their start there. Lynn Hill did her first climbing there, it's also one of the main areas where John Long got his start, but today it is often overlooked because of the relatively small number of routes, and their easy to moderate nature.

Most of the routes at Big Rock are bolt protected trad routes. Many of todays climbers don't understand that a route can be bolt protected and still be "trad". Trad stands for traditional, and means that the first ascentionest started on the ground and made their way to the top of the route placing any protection on their way up. This means that they could have placed all natural gear, or pitons and bolts as well. A sport route on the otherhand is where the first ascentionest places the gear (generally bolts) prior to doing the first free ascent. This could be on rappel or on aid, but they are not placed while leading the route free. Because of this distinction, most bolted trad routes tend to be runout with relatively few bolts because of the dificulty of placing bolts while leading (I've placed a few on lead, and believe me when I say that it is not an enjoyable experience), whereas most sport routes tend to have a bolt every body length or so because it is much easier to bolt while hanging onto something other than your hands and feet. I just wanted to clear that up because I hear people talking about Big Rock as being a sport climbing area when really there are only a couple of sport routes there.

On Saturday we were trying to decide where to go climbing when I got a text fro Bennett wondering if we would like to go to Big Rock. Bennett and Gwyenn had never climbed there before and wanted to check it out, and Amy and I hadn't been there since July so we gladly accepted the invite. As we were packing up and getting ready to go we got another text saying that they had invited Asia along as well, so we would have the five of us adults, and four kids between us all (luckily, Big Rock is a pretty good place for the kids to hang out and play).

When we got to Big Rock I decided that I wanted to start with a 5.10a called "Frontal Lobotomy" because the last time we were there I had lead it, but slipped off at the crux once, so I wanted to get the redpoint before the route went into the sun. I cruised the route getting the redpoint easily, and was a little bit shocked that I had fallen off of it before since it felt so easy. Bennett then TR'd the route without any problems, and he and I decided to climb something else while the girls took turns TRing Frontal Lobotomy.

Asia TRing Frontal Lobotomy, not bad for her third time climbing!

While the girls took turns TRing Frontal Lobotomy, Bennitt decided to lead a 5.5 called "African Flake" which is a 180' long slab route that passes 6 bolts for protection. He lead it up onsight then belayed me up so that we could do the two raps to the ground since the route is so long.

Asia on Frontal Lobotomy with Bennett belaying me up African Flake in the background

As Bennett and I rapped down, we left a rope on the midway anchors of "The Trough" so that the girls would have something to TR without tieing up two ropes on African Flake.

Gwyenn on "The Trough"

Asia on "The Trough"

Gwyenn spotting Adeline as she free solos the lower portion of "The Trough"

Now Bennitt hasn't done much multipitch before and has been wanting to practice it, and I have been wanting to climb one of the flakes on the upper half of Big Rock, so we decided that a good way to kill two birds with one stone would be to climb a 5.9 called "Boogaloo Direct" for a first pitch, then climb the 5.7 "Right Flake" to the top of the formation.

I decided to lead the first pitch since Bennett didn't feel like 3 bolts protecting a 100' 5.9 was really his cup of tea, and had no problem reaching the anchors. The only problem was that the anchors were much further right of the crack then the topo made it appear, so when Bennett arrived, I had him head over to the crack and build an anchor there, then belay me over so that we were better situated for the second pitch.

Me at the third bolt

Me almost at the anchors (if you view the original size you can see all three bolts protecting this 100' pitch)

Bennett pulling through the crux at the first bolt

Bennett getting close to the top of the first pitch

When Bennett arrived at the top of the first pitch and built an anchor in the crack, he belayed me over and we decided that I would lead the second pitch as well since he was still a little bit nervous being more than one pitch off the ground, and then if he felt comfortable with it after seconding it, we could rap down to the bottom of the pitch and have him lead it as well. I lead up the route and got the onsight. I thought the route was a lot of fun, but it was kind of awkward trying to protect it because of the angle of the rock. After Bennett arrived at the top of the pitch he decided that he didn't want to try leading it because of how awkward it was trying to remove the gear, so we rapped back down, this time leaving the rope set up to toprope a 5.6 called "Wedunett" for the girls.

Bennett following "Right Flake"

Bennett nearing the top of "Right Flake" with me belaying from the top

The girls each took a turn TRing "Wedunett" and we decided to pack up and head home so that the kids could all get their naps.

Asia on "Wedunett"

Amy on "Wedunett"

Another one of Asia

And a final one of Amy