Devo's Climbs

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rock Climb: Three O'Clock Rock

On Saturday Aug 6, David, Hunter, Kurt and I went to Darrington to climb Total Soul (5.10b). For Hunter and Kurt, this would be their first attempt; for me and Dave, our second this summer.

We got an early start and were on the rock by 9 am. Kurt and I took the lead; David and Hunter followed. Kurt and I had finished the first five pitches, and I was about half way up the sixth (5.10b), when David took a tumbling leader fall below on pitch five (also 5.10b) and rolled his ankle in a bad way.

At that point, all that mattered was getting David off the rock and down the trail to the car. But first we had to figure out how to get down. We needed both ropes to rappel but were separated by an entire pitch, so we quickly devised a plan that would get us into position to rappel. First, since David was in no shape to continue, Hunter had to finish leading pitch five. Second, I had to finish pitch six and rap down to Hunter and Kurt. But in order to rap down the 150 feet, I would need both ropes. So Hunter lowered Dave, led pitch five and tied his rope to mine (which I had lowered to Kurt after finishing pitch six). I then pulled up the second rope and rapped. All this time, Dave was anchored to the belay at the top of pitch four. Then Kurt, Hunter and I began a series of three double rappels, picking up David along the way. Thankfully, David was able to rappel on his own, though it looked uncomfortable.

On the ground, Kurt taped David's ankle in a manner that allowed him to walk with the assistance of a big stick Hunter found. It was slow going, but David was determined. After an hour of hiking and hobbling, we reached the truck and celebrated with a few cold drinks and munchies. Considering the circumstances, David seemed to be faring well, but that might have been largely due to the 1,000 mg of Ibuprofen he had taken. After driving to the Darrington IGA where we I had left my car, Kurt, Dave and Hunter continued on home and I went north to spend the rest of the weekend in the North Cascades. We were all disappointed with the wasy things turned out, but were very happy at our good fortune; it could have been a lot worse.


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