Thursday, November 29, 2012

Frustration Creek, 11/22/2012

I have to say that projecting my routes is taking longer than I had hoped due to bad weather.  The last time we had planned on going up there (last Saturday) we were rained out, so I was really hoping that Thanksgiving would bring us decent weather.  Lucky for me the weather was pretty much perfect today. 

I planned on trying to redpoint the easier of my two new routes (The Expedition), then maybe giving my other route a go as well.  I have been going over the moves in my head for the last week and a half since I figured them all out, so I figured that I was ready to do the FA.  I started up the route and was doing well, but once I got to the crux I was already feeling a bit tired (I'm sure that the two games of football I had played an hour before didn't help that), so I down-climbed to a good stance and shook out so that I could be ready to just power through and cruise to the top of the route.  After I shook out I did just that, I quickly pulled through the crux (which didn't go quite as well as what was in my head, but at least I made it through), and continued up the route fighting the pump clock to get to the anchors.  Now the last couple of moves to get to the anchors are pretty bouldery and sequency, but I hung on and got to the last jug before the clipping hold for the anchors.  From there you just have to reach up to a crimp with your right hand, then go to the clipping hold with your left hand and the route is over.  Unfortunately, I didn't remember where the crimp was and I grabbed a spot where there was nothing but a slight indent in the rock and off I came.  I was so mad, I was one move away from the FA, but because I couldn't remember where the hold was I lost it.  Well, after hauling myself up to the last bolt I was able to climb back up to the anchors, and I put a nice big tick mark on that crimp so that the next time I wouldn't mess it up, then I lowered down.

I knew that I wanted to give the route another go, but I realized that it would be easier to clip the bolt above the crux with a longer draw hanging on it, so I toproped the route back up to the bolt above the crux so that I could swap out that draw for a longer one, then I came down and rested up a bit.  When I felt like I was all rested I headed back up to try and get the FA.  Unfortunately, that wouldn't happen.  When I got to the crux and tried to clip the bolt above it, I couldn't even hold on to the hold that I had used to clip before.  My left arm was just too dead, so I just ended up hangdogging my way up the rest of the route so that I could get the moves a bit more dialed, but I'll have to go back up tomorrow to try and get the FA.  I also realized that I was just too dead to give my other route a go, so we just went and set up Danny's route so that he could get some climbing in, then we headed home so that we could make Thanksgiving dinner.

Frustration Creek, 11/12/2012

Monday the twelfth of November was Columbus day or Veterans day or some holiday like that, so I had the day off.  Luckily, it was finally a nice day outside so we were able to make it back up to Frustration Creek so that I could continue to work on my two projects.

We arrived and I started out on the easier of the two routes (the one I'm calling "The Expedition").  Up to this point I hadn't been able to figure out the crux moves.  I had only tried it on lead one other time, and because it was getting dark I ended up just giving up before getting it, but I knew that I had to figure it out this time.  I got up to the crux without any problems, but once again, I was having a really hard time figuring out how to do the move.  I was initially trying to go up to the side pull that I had planned on clipping from with my left hand, but soon figured out that I could get it with my right hand pretty easily, so I started trying to figure out a sequence to do it that way when I finally came to the realization that if I could reach the clipping hold with my right hand, that also meant that I could reach the bold with my right hand, so I ended up clipping from lower than I had planned, going to what I thought would be the clipping hold with my right hand, then moving up from there.  It was a little bit different than I had thought it would go, but it worked and I made it through the crux.  From there the route stays pumpy and steep all the way to the anchors,  but the holds are all pretty good until the section between the last bolt and the anchors.  Once again, I had to hang a few times on the last bolt while I tried to figure out the very last couple of moves to get to the clipping hold, of course it didn't help that one of the last holds was completely covered in dirt, but I was able to get to the anchors eventually, then I cleaned the hold well on my way down.  Now that I've done all of the moves I'm pretty confident that it'll go at about 5.11b.

Just starting the route

Through the delicate slab moves

Easy, juggy section

Starting the crux

Midway through the crux

Just past the crux

Starting the final boulder problem before the anchors

Once I finished up, Amy ran up the route on TR and had a fun time trying out all of the moves, she needed a power belay through the crux, but did very well besides that and seemed to enjoy the route.

Next it was Danny's turn to climb, so we headed over to his route and set up a TR for him, as always, he had a blast climbing, and we were able to get him to come down on his own instead of me having to go up after him, so that was an improvement.







For the last route of the day I knew that I had to give my other project (Primal Quest) a go to see if I could finally figure out the crux moves on that thing.  Amazingly enough, I figured out that if I put my left leg a bit lower than were I had been putting it, I could get a little bit of a crappy knee-bar that helped to keep my body into the wall as I made the move, and I actually was able to pull it off.  Of course it took so many tries to figure it out that I was pretty beat and wasn't able to do the next easier move, but hey it's progress.  I hang-dogged my way up the rest of the route, and was able to find a new hold near the anchors that made clipping them quite a bit easier so that was nice.  After finally sticking the crux move, I think the route will be a solid 5.12a if not 5.12b and I just hope that I can have the endurance to link it all together.

Just starting the crux

Still in the crux section

Past the first crux

Pulling the second crux

One move away from the easy climbing above

Amy didn't even want to try Primal Quest and the kids needed to get home to take their naps, so we packed up and headed home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Riverside Quarry, 11/10/2012

On Saturday the 10th of November I wanted to head up to Frustration Creek to continue working on my new routes, but unfortunately, the weather wasn't looking great up there so we decided that we'd have to make a trip to the Quarry.  Now it's been a while since we went to the Quarry (since I've been spending all of my climbing time up at Frustration Creek), but it ended up being the perfect choice because it was the perfect temperature in the sun.

Of course we headed to Slab City since it works so well with the kids, and decided to start out with Goody Two Shoes - 5.10b.  I ran up the route (getting the redpoint easily) and hung the draws so that Amy could give it a go.  She then did a good job leading the route, but she did fall off a couple of times before sticking the crux move.

After Amy finished up, we decided to move one route to the left and give Bottom Feeder (5.11b) a go.  I cruised the route with no problems at all, in fact, I did the crux move completely statically, I chalked up off of a hold that I had torn a pully on a couple of years ago, and the crux really felt like nothing to me.  The hardest time I had on the route was at the upper 5.10a crux pulling over onto the slab, and that was just because the wind kicked up and was making me feel a bit insecure on the delicate slab move.  It felt pretty good cruising an .11b as easily as I did.

At this point Danny was really wanting to do some climbing, so we headed over to the big boulder in front of Shattered Dreams and let him top-rope it a couple of times before we decided to give Shattered Dreams (5.10c) a go.  I lead the route easily, and set up a TR so that Amy could try working through the crux again.  Amy actually did really good through the lower section and made it further than she ever has before without resting, but the pump finally caught up with her and she had to take.  After that she was pretty tired, but she did do pretty well through the crux, and was really close to pulling those moves off as well.

After Shattered Dreams, Amy was ready to head home, but I wanted to try something new, so I decided to give Hang Thang (5.11b) a go.  Hang Thang starts out by pulling over a big roof before joining up with Cling Thing at it's 5th bolt. Hang Thang went well allthough I certainly didn't get the onsight.  It took me a few tries to figure out the crux move which involves a really big reach up to a cool lieback flake.  I kept trying to do these smaller moves because the move just looked too big, but when I decided to just go for the big move, I found out that it wasn't all that dificult.  Once past the crux the route eases up considerably, and I had no problems finishing it up.

After that we packed up and headed home since as always, the kids needed a nap.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Frustration Creek, 10/30/2012

As you may have noticed, Bennitt hasn't been showing up in my blog too often as of late. The reason for this is that he works every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday which are the days that I regularly have off.  Because of this it's kind of hard to get out climbing with him. I decided that since daylight savings time is ending this weekend I'd better get out climbing with him after work this week since it is still light enough to climb for about an hour. 

Of course one hour isn't a whole lot of time, but we decided to at least try to get in a couple of routes.  When we arrived I decided that we should do something that would chalange him a bit, but not be too hard so we decided to start out on The Natural. We decided that I'd lead it first and hang the draws, then Bennitt could try leading it as well.  I ran up it as quickly as I could, then Bennitt went up and got the redpoint.  I have to say that he did pretty well considering how little he's climbed lately along with the fact that the route is 5.10a.

As Bennitt was cleaning the anchors I ran over to my new route and threw in a first bolt quickly (originally it was going to share the first bolt with Louie's route, Rabble Rouser, but I thought it would be nicer if it had an independent start so that people could climb both routes simultaneously if they wanted), then we decided to give it a go (I had come up and finished cleaning the route the day before on Monday).

I lead the route up to the fifth bolt without any problems, but that is when the crux hits. The crux moves consist of pulling off of a good crimp with your right hand to get a left hand-jam in a horrible flaring crack in the overhanging wall before bringing your feet up and then bumping up to a sidepull crimp that you are supposed to clip the sixth bolt from.  I tried the move several times, but I wasn't able to stick the sidepull crimp and fell off a few times (hey at least now I know that the crux bolt will hold a fall right;).  After a few tries I knew that we didn't have much time before it got dark so I lowered off and let Bennitt have a go at it. He did fine up until the crux, but then he had the same problems that I was having, he did however come up with a different sequence than I had been using, so I'll have to give it a try next time we head up there.  Eventually Bennitt gave up and lowered off, then we packed up the gear and headed home since it was just about dark.

Frustration Creek, 10/26/2012 - 10/27/2012

Well, another weekend has come and gone, and another couple of days have been spent up at Frustration Creek.  I know Frustration Creek isn't anywhere near a world class crag, but the fact that it is so close to us, and so many people are currently working on making it nicer makes me really enjoy going up there.  Last weekend I put up some anchors above another route that I wanted to bolt, so I figured that I could get it bolted this weekend.  On Friday morning we decided to head up and do some climbing while it was still cool out, then Amy and the kids could head home while I worked on bolting and cleaning the new route.

When we arrived at Frustration Creek we decided to start out by climbing "The Natural" (5.10a).  We had climbed this route the week before, and Amy seemed to really enjoy climbing it, so I thought that it would be a good route for her to lead.  I started out and ran up it to hang the draws for her, then she went on to lead it.  At first she was having some trouble (thanks to my beta) and had to hang a couple of times before she found a sequence that would work for her, then she was able to make it to the top without any problems.  She cleaned the route, then when she got to the ground she decided that she wanted to try redpointing The Natural, but she preferred to have the draws pre-hung.  I decided that I could lead the route to the left of The Natural, a 5.10b called "Unnatural Act", then I'd hang draws on The Natural on my way down.

I lead Unnatural Act easily and hung the draws on The Natural for Amy so that she could try redpointing it. She cruised it and got the redpoint easily, then she toproped Unnatural Act as well.

I decided that I was sufficiently warmed up at this point so I tried leading my new route Primal Quest for the first time.  Now you can see in my previous posts that Primal Quest is going to be a fairly hard route, so with this being my first time leading it I knew I wouldn't be able to redpoint it yet, but I wanted to make sure that I have sequences that will work well on lead.  I was a bit worried about being able to clip the second bolt because the clipping hold is a tiny crimp right in the middle of the crux, but it turned out to be easy enough.  The crux move that comes right after making the clip however was just as difficult as before.  I think I have figured out how to do it, but I'm going to have to work on my crimp lock-off strength before I'll be able to stick it.  After that I hang-dogged my way up the route and was able to do all the other moves, but I wasn't really trying to link them yet since I am still so far away from doing the crux.

After I climbed Primal Quest Amy and the kids headed home so that I would have time to bolt and clean the route that I had installed anchors on last weekend (I'm calling it The Expedition).  I spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon working on that project.  As with all of Frustration Creek, the rock is pretty chossy in most places, but this new route does have some pretty cool features that should be a lot of fun to climb.  As I was working on my new route, Matt and Chris told me that I needed to come up to the upper falls area and try climbing there since I haven't ever climbed there before, so once I finished getting all of the bolts in my route I headed up.

I have to say that the upper falls area looks amazing.  The routes look long and overhung, and they are all permadrawed (is that a word?) so you can escape easily if you get in over your head.  Chris had a fixed line on a 5.12a route called Mohawk that he wanted to get down, so I belayed him up the route so that he could retrieve it.  Mohawk is an extension to a 5.11d route called Delusions, so once Chris got down I decided that I'd just TR Delusions since I was feeling pretty tired from climbing, bolting, and cleaning all day.  I ended up doing pretty well on the route and flashed the crux without any problems, unfortunately that about killed me and for the last three or four bolts on the route I was falling off of huge incut jugs because my arms were so tired.  Regardless, it was a super fun climb and I'm definately going to have to get on it again sometime soon.

After Delusions I packed up my gear and headed home since we were planning on taking the kids to a pumpkin patch that evening.

Saturday we planned on heading up to Frustration Creek again and were planning on climbing with Gwynne.  We left the house around nine and just told Gwynne to meet us up there when she was ready. 

We decided to start out by climbing The Fourth Wise Man since Amy hadn't redpointed it yet (in fact, the only time she tried leading it she only made it to the last bolt, but couldn't figure out how to get to the chains).  I ran up the route and hung the draws for her, then she headed up for her redpoint attempt.  At first it wasn't looking like it would happen because she was having some trouble with the lower section, but eventually she got in her groove and ended up redpointing it easily.  She didn't have any trouble with the section from the last bolt to the chains, so that was cool.

The Fourth Wise Man - 5.8

Amy getting the redpoint

Now it was actually pretty hot out and the wall was baking in the sun so we decided to head over to the other side of the canyon to climb a 5.8 called "Welcome to Frustration" since it was in the shade.  A week or two ago I had climbed the route, but Amy hadn't wanted to at the time, so this would be her first time on the route.  Welcome to Frustration is mostly a really easy slab route, but the 5.8 crux comes when you ar pulling over a pretty big roof so that makes it pretty interesting.  Again I ran up the route first and hung the draws for Amy, then she lead it and got the redpoint.  She did look a little bit concerned when she got to the roof, but she figured it out without any problems.

Welcome to Frustration - 5.8

Amy just starting the crux

Amy pulling the roof

Of course Danny wanted to climb his route so we set it up and let him have some fun climbing it, then Amy was feeling hot and wanted to rest for a bit, so I decided to continue cleaning the route that I had bolted the day before.  I was hoping to be able to finish cleaning it so that I could go for the FA, but unfortunately there were a bunch of wasps that didn't want that to happen.   I started cleaning from the bottom and working my way up the route, and got about half way up the route before there were these two wasps that just didn't want me to go any higher.  As long as I stayed below them they just sat there and didn't do anything, but as soon as my head would get to their level they would come out at me and act very aggressive.  Needless to say I ended up heading down before I was attacked.  We decided that we could at least try climbing the route up to bolt just below the wasps so I ran up it to that point and found it to be quite fun.  The holds are cool, and it is like 5.7 up to that point, so it was fun.  After I came down Amy TR'd it up to my high point.

Danny climbing his route - Preschooler's Playground - 3rd class

Cleaning my new route - The Expedition

Trying the moves for the first time (below the wasps)

Amy trying the moves

We decided that it was getting kind of late and that the kids needed to take their naps before a haloween party that we were planning on going to, so we started packing up to head home when Gwynne finally showed up. We decided that we'd better stay just a bit longer so that she'd be able to climb something. Gwynne didn't feel like leading anything, so I decided that I could lead "The Natural" since from there she'd be able to TR both that route and "Unnatural Act" since they share the same anchors.  My feet were sick of being in climbing shoes so I decided to try leading the route in my approach shoes.  Of course the crux of the route is down low where there are no good feet and everything is all slick, but I managed to redpoint the route without any problems in my approach shoes. Gwynne then TR'd both The Natural and Unnatural Act, but when she got to the anchors after TRing both of them she realized that she had forgotten to bring anything to clean with so I got to run up Unnatural Act on TR to clean the anchors (again in my approach shoes). 

After that we decided that it was really time to head home so that the kids could get a nap in before our party. Hopefully I'll be able to get back up there soon so that I can continue working on my projects.