Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cams work!

Bob, Guillaume and I climbed in the Western CWM yesterday with warm temps and mostly clear skies. Bob has climbed in the area for quite some time and has a few first ascents to his name along the escarpment. We actually toproped one of them, Probation 5.8+ PG. The gear on this route is X not PG and hence the toprope. Next to Probation is Neruda 5.6 which I used as my warm up. Naruda is a sandbagged hand/arm crack that runs more like 5.8 so it made for a fun onsight warmup. Having two #3 BD cams is a good idea but not necessary.

My main reason for going to the Cave Wall was to get another try at Security 5.10d with 2 bolts on the upper slab and gear on the overhanging bottom half. About half way to the 1st bolt you get a #10 BD stopper nut placement and 6 inches above that a #0.4 BD cam. That's it. There are other small nut placements but they are tricky and their fall holding ability is questionable. So, after placing the .4 cam I continue to climb. If I blow the clip on the 1st bolt from too far below then I'll have enough rope out for a ground fall so I climb to a higher position. Using a side pull out to the left I clip the draw. At this point, I need to pull up about 1.5 feet of rope for a total of 3 extra feet added to the rope length. While trying to clip I start to "barn door" so I drop the rope. Unfortunately my belayer does not have enough time to pull that back in before I peel off. The fall is a blur. Before I know it my left heel hits the ground and I fall backward but get stopped before completely decking by my cam. The cam had already stopped the fall and it was rope stretch that let me touch the ground with my heel. The rope had slowed me down enough by that point that my heel is fine. After resting a minute or two I try again but I'm to pumped and physced out that I have to down climb and take on my cam. Of course, before climbing past the cam I check it to make sure it was still ok. Not willing to give up I aid up to the 1st bolt on a #5 BD stopper and clip it. From here I climb above this first bolt but mess up the sequence for another lead fall. I lowered and send the others off to climb while I walk up to setup a toprope and rap to clean. With a toprope on I found a better clipping position for the first bolt although I still managed to come off once. I decided to rest. After some food and water I sent it clean on toprope. With lessons learned I hope to get it on lead next time.

After packing up we hiked over to the Corruption Buttress and I lead the bottom half of Corruption 5.9 which is the easy part. The bottom part has a pretty cool roof traverse that is a must climb. I'll leave the upper half for when I'm rested.

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