Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holcomb Valley, 06/23/2012

The very first time that we went to climb at the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles (HVP) I had printed off the routes from Lost Orbit Rock to try and climb there.  Unfortunately, when we arrived at HVP we couldn't find Lost Orbit Rock, and instead, went climbing at Parking Lot Rock, Coyote Crag, and Motherload Rock after someone showed us where the central pinnacles were.  We have since been back to HVP several times, but have never climbed at Lost Orbit Rock.  On Saturday the 23rd of June we decided to change that.

Following the directions in the guidebook got us to Lost Orbit Rock without any problems, the key was to follow the road that heads south from Parking Lot Rock, and it curves around the rock and eventually turns north to reach Lost Orbit.  Now, the route that the rock is named after is the classic of the area, but when we arrived it was occupied, so we opted instead to start out on a 5.10b called Hubble.

Amy pulling the fun starting roof on Hubble - 5.10b

Hubble started out fun with some cool moves over a roof at the first bolt, but after that it turned into a less than stellar route.  The route was kind of dirty, the rock was kind of crumbly, and to top it all off, the last bolt of the route veered off left away from the obvious line to give it the .10b crux.  The route would have been much better as a 5.9 that followed the obvious line rather than a contrived .10b, but whatever.  I got the onsight, and Amy followed it up on TR.

Traversing over to the contrived crux of Hubble

By this time Lost Orbit (also 5.10b) had opened up so we jumped on it.  This route lived up to it's quality rating and was just tons of fun.  It started with a steep crux right off the ground, followed by a just less than vertical jug-haul for a few bolts before a somewhat tricky move just before the anchors.  Once again, I got the onsight and Amy followed on TR.

Lost Orbit - 5.10b


Amy pulling the crux of Lost Orbit 


When I was climbing Lost Orbit, I noticed that there was a bail biner on the route to the right of it, a 5.11a called Lunar Eclipse, and being the pirate that I am, I can't say no to some free booty so Lunar Eclipse became our third route of the day.  Lunar Eclipse was fun right up until the crux.  It started with some interesting moves to get to the first bolt, then was very similar to Lost Orbit for the next few bolts, then had an interesting mantle move up high, but the crux ended up being the last 5 feet of slab moves to get to the anchor.  I had to hang a couple of times before I figured out the moves, but the slab topout just didn't flow very well with the rest of the route, and again, I think the route would have been much better if they had just placed the anchors 5 feet lower (plus, it would be much better on the rope for lowering and TRing).  After I topped out, Amy also ran up the route on TR, doing much better than I did on the slab portion.

The fun starting moves of Lunar Eclipse - 5.11a

By this time the kids were getting cranky and needed a nap, so I decided to do one final route before leaving.  The final route was a 5.10d called "Slacker".  This route was okay, the crux was between the second and third bolt, and I blew the onsight when I tried going for what looked like a hold from below, realizing that it was nothing a bit too late, and falling off.  Once I was hanging on the rope however, I was able to see what I should have done and made it through the crux without any more problems.  After the crux the route consisted of several mantles before arriving at the anchors.  Amy just wanted to head out at this point, so we just cleaned up the gear and headed home after another good day of climbing.

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