Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frustration Creek, 10/04/2012 - 10/08/2012

For a while now I've been eyeing this line up at Frustration Creek that is right next to Eco Challenge.  The line looks awesome and it pulls through several roofs and overhanging sections and is certainly much steeper than anything at the lower falls area of frustration creek right now.  Well, this last weekend Amy went to Utah for a friends wedding, and I decided that since I didn't have a climbing partner I'd finally go an put up the route. 

Thursday morning rolled around and we took Amy to the airport at 5:00 AM so that she could catch her 6:00 flight, then the kids and I headed home to get a bit more sleep before starting our day.  When we finally got up, we ate some breakfast, then packed the car with all of my bolting gear and headed up to Frustration Creek.  We arrived at the area and I had to make several trips from the car to the base of the route so that I could cart all of the gear, the kids, and the toys (to keep the kids occupied).  Now I needed to get to the top of the route so that I could start bolting and cleaning it.  Unfortunately, there isn't anywhere to walk around and arrive at the top of the route, but recently, another developer (Matt Meyers) had bolted an extension to Rumble in the Rubble that goes all the way to the top of the wall (6 pitches) and would offer me a place to rap down over my intended route.

I set up my gri-gri for a rope solo and started up Rumble in the Rubble (5.7) so that I could begin my route.  I chose to climb in my approach shoes so that the bolting would be more comfortable, but in retrospect, I probably should have just done it in my climbing shoes because some of the route is kind of slabby, and my approach shoes just don't edge very well.  Anyway, I was planning on going up to the second bolt above the new first pitch anchors on Rumble in the Rubble, but I found the climbing between the first and second bolts to be a bit more difficult than what I wanted to tackle in my approach shoes, so I just went to the first bolt past the anchors and decided to go from there. Luckily the bolt was high enough that I would be able to traverse accross to where I wanted my anchor to be.  At this point Emily was crying (she had a dirty diaper), so I rapped off to change her.

Next I grabbed my drill (I didn't really want to lead the route with the drill hanging off of me) and I TR soloed back up to the high bolt, brought the rest of the rope up, backed everything up so that I wasn't relying on a single bolt, traversed accross to the top of where I wanted my route, and drilled a temporary 1-bolt anchor to inspect the route from (wow, talk about a run-on-sentance).

About this time Matt showed up to do the FA on his new 6 pitch route, and Danny wanted a drink of water and to go climbing, so I rapped off to help out the kids. On the way down, Matt mentioned that there was a huge death block sitting on a dead tree about half way down the route, so I had him move the kids to where they would be out of danger and I knocked down the tree and trundled the microwave sized rock, then continued to the ground.  I got both of them some water, then Danny really wanted to climb, so we caried a rope over to his route (I had replaced the stolen hangers a few days earlier) and set up a TR for him. From this vantage point I was able to watch Matt and Chris as they did the first ascent of their 6 pitch route, while I belayed Danny up his route.

Now it was time for me to really get to work on my route. I ascended back up to my anchor while cleaning some of the bigger loose stuff of of the route, then put in the top 4 bolts through the vertical section just above the lower roofs.  The biggest chalange with bolting the route was just the fact that the rock quality in Frustration Creek is just so poor that it takes a while to find solid rock that is near good clipping holds all while trying to keep a decent bolt spacing.  Once I had the top four bolts in, Danny and Emily were both getting pretty tired and fussy, so I decided it was time to take them home for their naps, so I rapped off the route and started packing up the gear.

About this time, Matt and Chris got down from their route, so we talked for a while (really I just wasn't in the mood to pack up all of my stuff and take it to the car), but eventually I decided that the kids really did need a nap so we headed out.  Although it was a fun and productive day, I have to say that everything takes so much longer with kids.

Friday morning we woke up and headed up to the route again.  When we arrived at the parking area there was another car there and the owner was getting all of his gear together to put up some routes as well.  I introduced myself and found out that his name is Brent Webster and that he was working on a route on the south side of the canyon.  It turns out that Brent is one of the local developers who has put up a bunch of the more moderate routes in the area, and he was super stoked to hear that I was bolting the route next to Eco Challenge.  He also thought that it was awesome that I had brought the kids along with me and he gave Danny and Emily a Fall Apart Frankenstien toy so that they could play with it.

After making several trips to the base of the route so that I could cary all of the kids and gear over, I finally got to work.  I decided that I would start from the ground and willy-stick my way up the overhanging lower section of the route so that I could stay into the wall for placing the bolts.  I started by cleaning all of the loose stuff off of the bottom of the route and slowly climbed up to where I wanted the first bolt to be. When I got there, of course the route was overhanging so I had to hold myself onto the wall with my left hand while drilling the bolt hole over my head with my right hand, all I have to say is that I'm glad I've got a nice lightweight yet powerfull drill.  I threw in the first bolt, clipped myself into it, and continued cleaning the route.  Next I willy-sticked up to where the second bolt would be, cleaned some of that rock and figured out where a good clipping hold was, then drilled the second bolt.  At this point I realized that the route was going to be hard.  The clipping hold for the second bolt is a pretty small crimp on the otherwise blank, overhanging wall, and after that crimp it just gets worse. Just looking at it I'm sure that it'll be at least 5.12a. 

At the crux of my new route

After the second bolt the kids needed some attention so I rapped off and we hung out for a little bit.  Of course Danny wanted to climb, so I set up his route and let him climb it, then I headed back up my route to continue.  After the second bolt, the route turns vertical, but of course there are still a couple of roofs above the vertical section, so I couldn't get in close enough to the wall with the willey stick, and I couldn't just use my fixed line, so to put the third bolt in I attached myself to the fixed line, teathered myself to the second bolt to help keep myself into the wall, then I ended up sitting on the top of the willy stick which was awesome because it gave me great support for getting the hole drilled. 

At this point I just continued working my was up the wall on the willy stick and got the fourth and fifth bolts in before the kids once again needed some attention.  Once again I headed back down and got them some water and hung out with them for a bit, then I decided to head back up Rumble in the Rubble to clean the rest of my gear off of that route.  Luckily, Matt's rope was still hanging on the route so TR soloed the route only to find out that Matt had already cleaned the gear and had hung it on the other end of my rope for me, so I hadn't even needed to go up there, but whatever, at least I got to do some climbing.  While I was TR soloing a couple of construction workers walked over and started asking about the climbing.  It sounded like one of them had climbed before but had never climbed outside, so they were just curious if there were any routes in the canyon.  I think they thought I was completely crazy for climbing without a belayer;)

Once I got back down, the kids were saying that they were hungry, so I packed up all the gear and we headed home for lunch and naps.  After the kids were done with their naps I decided that there was still way too much cleaning to be done to waste the evening, so we headed back up and I continued cleaning the route until dark.  While I was cleaning the roof I decided that the route needed one more bolt just after the roof because the moves were still kind of hard, and there was a bit of a runout to the next bolt so I added the final bolt on my route.  While we were there, a couple of people came to climb and as I talked to them I found out that they were the ones who had pulled out all of the poisen oak at the base of my new route.  They said that they don't have a drill so they can't establish new routes, but they figured that since so many people are currently working on the area that was something they could do. All I can say is that I'm extremely greatful for all of their work.

I continued to clean the route until it got dark, then we packed up and headed home for some much needed rest before we continued the next day.

Saturday morning I had some things to do, so I wasn't able to make it up to work on my route, then the kids had their naps, so we were finally able to get out of the house around 3:30 which gave me a couple of hours to continue with the route.  This didn't give me a whole lot of time, but just before the kids naps we had made it to home depot to get some poison oak killer, so my main accomplishments on saturday were spraying all of the poison oak around the route, and I finally installed the anchors in at the top of the route.  I also was able to do some more cleaning on the route and once again, Danny wanted to climb, so I set up his TR and we had some fun letting him climb.

On Monday morning we headed back up to finish the route. Amy had returned from vacation on Sunday, so this was the first time that she got to see my route.  When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was that in the day that I hadn't been there (Sunday) someone had bolted another route just to the right of my route.  Brent was there working on his route, and he told me that on Sunday Louie Anderson had come up planning on bolting my route, but since I was already working on it he decided to do another one right next to it.  I guess I snatched it up just in time.

I wanted to finally try climbing my route since I had a belayer, but there was still some cleaning to do before I could give it a go.  First off I once again sprayed all of the poison oak around the route so that hopefully it will all die, then I headed up the route to finish cleaning it.  On my way up the route I finished cleaning all of the smaller loose stuff that was still there, then I decided that it would be good to at least clean all of the big loose stuff between my route and Eco Challange, so I worked on that on my way down.  I also brought up a torque wrench and made sure that all of the bolts were torqued correctly (I was surprised at how close they all were with just using the normal wrench).

Finally, I deemed the route ready to climb.  I decided that I would just try it out on TR to start so that I could more easily figure out all of the moves before leading it.  It wasn't too bad getting up to the second bolt, but then the crux hits.  Unfortunately, the TR ended up always blocking the hold that you are trying to go to for the crux move, so I wasn't able to do the move, but it feels like it'll be like 5.12a or 5.12b unless I can figure out some easier sequence.  I ended up just pulling through the crux, but I was able to do all of the other moves on the route.  Pulling the roof on the route felt like about 5.11b, and then there is a final 5.10d crux guarding the anchors so that should be fun on lead.  Once I finished TRing the route, Amy was tired and hot and wanted to head home, so we packed up and headed home.

Pulling the crux

The second 5.11b crux

After eating lunch and putting the kids down for their naps we decided that we would head back up to do some actual climbing instead of route developing once the kids woke up from their naps.  Since I still hadn't climbed Matt's new route "The Fourth Wise Man" - 5.8, we decided to start with that.  I onsighted the route and thought that the moves were quite fun, but the route is stil lpretty dirty and loose in places.  After leading the route I convinced Amy to try leading the route.  Unfortunately, Amy wasn't having the best of climbing days, and was really freaking herself out while leading the route.  She did make it to the last bolt before she finally decided to call it quits when she was having trouble with a reachy move.  Since I had to reclimb the route to clean the gear, I decided to do it without stemming on the wall to the left.  I was able to redpoint the route without stemming, and thought that it made the route much more fun and sustained, and probably bumped the rating up to 5.9.

The Fourth Wise Man - 5.8


My hot wife belaying

Danny had been begging to climb while Amy and I were climbing, so we decided to let him have a turn.  Of course Amy hadn't seen how good Danny had been getting while she was away, so I was excited for her to see him cruise his little 3rd class slab.  He of course did a great job, but since Amy wasn't really feeling the climbing thing, she just wanted to head home.  I convinced her to let me try a 5.8 right next to Danny's route called "Welcome to Frustration" before we headed home.

Danny climbing his 3rd class slab

Welcome to Frustration was pretty much a 5.1 slab with one 5.8 move getting over a roof.  The roof move was kind of fun, but personally I don't think I would have spent the time or money on bolting it.  I think it took me less than a minute to onsight the route and be back on the ground packing up the gear.

The 5.8 crux of "Welcome to Frustration"

We cleaned up the gear, said good bye to Brent (yes he was still there working on his route from before we had arrived the first time in the morning), and headed home.  I didn't get a whole lot of actual climbing in over the weekend, but I feel like I accomplished a lot with my new route, and I think it will be a very high quality route.  Once I redpoint it, I hope that it becomes a Frustration Creek Lower Falls classic.   

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