This weekend kind of stunk.
Friday I spent some time with Ernie after class making pizza and playing Wii. That was the extent of fun for the weekend.
Saturday I started in on a Finance project, and outside of the occasional guitar break, didn’t stop.
Sunday was more of the same with the added bonus of some studying of Advanced Fluids with Pete.
Pete and I were sick of working and we needed a break. It was 3:30. Jesse, Kay, and Gary were climbing at Cathole and I really wanted to do some leading. So we grabbed our gear and headed over.
For a fun game… let’s keep track of the good ideas and bad ideas in the following story. Devin is going to LOVE this.
We arrived at Cathole and I decided I wanted to lead 5.8 Saturday Night Special (bad idea #1). I got my gear on and got ready. We went over my plan for setting anchor at the top and reviewed each other’s knots to make sure we were in good shape (good idea #1). Then I started leading (bad idea #2).
The protection was there… but not great. I found a few good spots and a handful of mediocre spots. I wasn’t TOO worried because I was doubling up like crazy on my gear (good idea #2 and bad idea #3 (bad idea explained later).)
Then the wind started roaring and I started freaking out. It was brutal! Here I was, 30 feet off the ground with 70 feet to go, getting forcibly pushed around by chilled winds. I was nervous as all heck. BUT, my gear placement kept getting better, so I kept climbing.
Suddenly I looked down and realized I was running out of slings (see bad #3). Slings are used to connect the gear to the rope, so they are pretty important. Thankfully I had two double long slings left, and there was only about 15 feet left to climb. My cams had wiregates, so if I could find one cam placement, and then use my two slings I could still have gear that was 5 or less feet apart.
I grabbed one of my slings… and found that it was tangled with the other sling (bad #4). I was in a decent rest spot though, so I decided to try and untangle them (bad #5). a SOLID 12-15 minutes later, I was no further along and my left calf was at point of failure. It then started to rain (bad #6).
“Not Good,” I thought. “Maybe I can just use the tangled sling and try to get two cams in later on” (bad #7). I put my one piece of gear in and climbed up a little farther. The rain stopped.
This is where trouble really started. I looked up…. and the crack disappeared (bad #8). As far as I could see, there was no good placement for equipment at all (bad #9). I realized, that when I ‘mock’ lead this previously, I stopped before the top because the anchor was hanging. Without a hanging anchor, I was out of luck.
The wind tortured me some more and then I decided I better down climb (good idea #3 and bad idea #10).
Down climbing is not easy. And it stinks when you know you can’t fall on your gear. But, it was smart of me to bail.
So I started my way down. Thankfully, it wasn’t any harder than a 5.8 so I made decent progress. When I was about 30 feet up, I got into some trouble. I had to climb over a small bulge, and the foot placement wasn’t visible. On top of that, as soon as I put any weight on my calves they went into Typewriter mode, shaking like crazy from being overworked on that ledge.
I was right under a solid cam. And I felt FAR more comfortable about this cam then I did the two nuts that hung below me. I tested the cam again, and decided to lower off the edge (good idea #4)
Pete tightened the belay. That cam was extremeeely solid (good #5). He lowered me down.
I removed the gear below that cam.
Now we were in a new jam. I had left a piece stranded in the wall. I’d have to be lowered from the top to retrieve it. Joel and I hiked to the top. I kept my helmet on (good idea #6).
We get to the top, and Joel lowers me down. The gear, because it had been used, was thoroughly jammed in the crack. It took me awhile to release it.
Joel lowered me down the rest of the way. I reached the bottom and walked a good 10-12 feet away from the hanging rope. Joel shouted “ROPE!” and let go of the top.
It whipped down, as ropes always do. But for whatever reason, it flailed right at me. I crouched down and the rope whipped me in the helmet.
I wasn’t going to try my luck any more. I packed up my equipment and went home.
I’m going to have to ask Irene how the climbing books rate placement of gear on that route. Because I did not find it comfortable in the least. Especially at the top. Yikes.
I would describe the climb as a complete failure. But as Jesse pointed out, there’s two types of Failure and I’m totally okay with yesterday’s type.