Devo's Climbs

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rock Climb: Index Town Walls - Great Northern Slab

Payge and I went to Index this morning. Didn't have a set plan in mind but after we arrived I decided take him up Aries since he hadn't done the overhanging roof yet. I led the wide exfoliated 5.8 crack again, then the corner finger crack (5.8). This puts you at the base of an ugly looking flaring chimney - it's rated 5.8 but looks much more intimidating (there's a reason it's often referred to as "buttlicks chimney"). Most people, including me, opt to bypass it by traversing easier ground to the left. This time I decided to suck it up and give it a go - gotta' get ready for Yosemite remember? First I set Payge's belay anchor well away from the chimney - wouldn't be good to fall on him. ;) Then I got two bomber cams into the crack in the back of the chimney. Once I was confident that I wouldn't fall too far I started up the chimney.

Round One: There were some good feet at the bottom and by reaching up high I was able to sink another .5 Camalot into a slightly flared slot. At that point it began to get awkward: no more feet and the crack thinned into nothing. I tried shimmying up the wider (outside) side of the chimney, but at every movement the flare caused me to slide further and further towards the edge, giving me the nasty feeling I would eventually be "spit out" of it altogether, so I backed down to the good footholds to reconsider my strategy.

Round Two: This time I stayed as far in the narrow (inside) side of the chimney - at least that might allow me to use the crack if possible. I found that by wedging my left shoulder and torso into the narrow end and knee-barring with my left leg I could get enough purchase to inch myself upwards. It was slow and a bit ugly, but it worked and after six feet I reached a bomber jug and hauled myself over the lip to the belay ledge. Overall, it wasn't as scary as I had been led to believe.

Payge had a decidedly different experience - he struggled with the technique and fell numerous times at the crux. He kept at it though. After he gained the ledge he stated, "That was the hardest thing I've ever climbed. If that was a climb in the gym it would be 5.12!" Ha - funny! He was pretty beat after all his flailing and we still had the roof to go - I love Index rock. :)

We managed the roof without a struggle (Payge called it "freaky"and fun), rapped off and had lunch at the car before heading home.

Payge on the 5.8 off-width

Page finishing the chimney with style

DEVO LEADING THE ARIES ROOFDevo leading the Aries roof


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