Saturday, March 20, 2010

Long day at Home Cliff

What a day ... it start out cold and grey on the Ottawa side as we piled into the car at far to early in the morning. We decided on Home Cliff over the Western Cwm because the walk out would be shorter if the rain came in but it didn't. By the time we had finished the approach the sun was shining. Mr. Gibbs lead an easy trad route for a warmup which I walked up on TR. Then I started in on a ground up adventure of the Joy of life 5.11a mixed route. Pulling on to this proved harder than it looked so it was nice to find a couple jugs around the second bolt. I placed a #1 BD cam (red) and a backup metolius orange TCU in between the second and third bolt. This proved overkilled as the third bolt turned out to be easier to clip then I thought. I climbed to the 4th bolt but pumped I had to take here. It didn't matter as I had messed up and sat on the 1st bolt anyway. I found the moves to the 5th bolt tricky as the slightly overhanging face changed to slab. At this point there is one more vertical bit then more slab. The climbing becomes much easier but there is another 10 to 15m of climbing on little pro. I placed two pieces on big runouts. I felt very exposed. Anyway I did not see any anchors so I traversed to Peggy's anchors at the top. Some good work put in but it needs more before it will go clean.

After some more vertical mileage on the piton highway which is a fantastic route I decided to climb Lavender a mixed 5.9 with 5 bolts + gear. However, I read the topo wrong and ended up starting in on the Original Route, a mixed 5.10c bolts + gear. The first 10m is on gear into a roof. I had three cams in but the roof turned out to be too much of a head game with only gear to protect me. I know, a solid cam is like a bolt but hey this like only my 9th route climbing on gear. So I lowered off the cams to the ground to rest. Round two and the rock wins again. We now realize this is not Lavender after reading the topo again. Now the fun starts. How to get my gear back? I climb and traverse on Lavender, clip a pin, place a nut, crush over its smaller roof and clip its first bolt. By the way, the 1st bolt is 10 or so meters up so I'm horizontally in line with my pieces on the other climb, just 5m over. The rope drag is brutal. I lower and then climb the 5.10 to get my cams on a huge pendulum. With the cam rescued I traverse back to Lavender. At this point, I'm tired after all the attempts and traversing but it is a 5.9 and I should be able to pull it. The climb moves into a thin finger crack which requires careful finger locks. I used a ring lock too which I had never done before and manager rip a hole in my shoe with a toe cam. Anyway, I climbed the rest although its anchors were being used by other climbers so I continued on and left back on to the Original Route to finish. Rap and clean. I'm exhausted at this point after the gong show to recover my gear. We pack up. Dam, look at that ... I left a nut three meters up. Putting my shoes back on was the worst feeling ever ... back on the rock ... boulder to nut ... clean ... down climb. What a day ...

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