Devo's Climbs

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rock Climbs: Index & Darrington

Went to Index and climbed the GM Route (5.9) with Katrina on Friday. Been a few years since I'd done this one and I'd only led the first 5.8 pitch. I'd never done the third. This time I led all three. The first was an exposed 5.8 with sparse pro at the start. The second was an intimidating 5.9 overhanging flake but with good protection. The third started with a narrow ten foot chimney with no pro - I could wedge myself in securely but couldn't move! Eventually I figured out a way to squirrel my way up and grab a large ledge and mantle over the top. Then came a scary step out right along a horizontal crack into another funky mantle. Took me a long time to get the move, but eventually I did an acrobatic heel-hook maneuver - never done one of those on lead before! Then it was "only" a thirty foot scamper up an off-width exfoliated crack to the finish. Let's just say it was the hardest lead I've done to date. About half way up - after sinking two #3 cams - where the crack got wider, I managed to get my only #4 cam in securely and then proceeded to flail desperately. I must have taken five or so small falls while I tried different combinations of fist jams, cupped hands, forearm jams, knee jams, foot cams, lie backs, etc. - you name it, I tried it. I got thrashed - scraped ankles, elbows, and a major rash on my left forearm. On my last attempt I managed to muscle my way past the crux and into the upper portion of the crack. Since I'd used up all my big pro I was hoping I could find a smaller placement higher up, otherwise I would have to run out the final 15 feet on an empty tank - a daunting proposition. Thankfully the crack began to narrow to hand size and I was able to slam a #2 deep in the crack and grunt my way to the anchor. What a beast! Need to work on my off-width technique some more.

Devo above the narrow chimney on pitch 3

On Sunday, Kurt and I went to Darrington and climbed Silent Running (5.9+). It was a good climb: we moved efficiently, completing the route (six pitches and rappels) in 4 hours, 20 mins.

Kurt on pitch 3


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