Saturday was another great day in the Grand Canyon at Montagne d'Argent with Iris, Pete and Jeff. It could have been the heat, or the wine from the night before but it was not a day for big numbers. Just a day to gain more mileage placing gear.
To warm-up I jumped on a 28 meter sport climb, La Cha-Cha des Felins 5.9-. In classic Grand Canyon style we were unsure of which route I was on at first. Was it mixed or pure sport? In fact the bolts are there, they are just hard to see over the bulges. Also, there is some liberal bolt spacing at the top so keep your focus on the upper slabs. A committing onsight for the grade.
Climb number two was Super Crackpot 5.8 mixed. This climb has 5 bolts that lead into a finger crack for a total of 35 meters. The crack protects well with nuts and camalots up to #1. At one point, I had a fight with an over cammed #1 which took both hands to get it out. A tricky maneuver for sure. The hassle to get it out while on lead was worth it though when I place it later on.
While sitting around munching I got roped into belaying another climber on Souris Chauve, a 34 meter 5.10b sport route. I have climbed this in the past so there were no surprises when I ran up it on TR. This is a soft ten with little commitment. Just climb it, have fun.
After some more munching I walked down to a 26 meter 5.6- called Madame la Marquise.
It would be a nice climb if someone cleaned it. There is lots of moss, lichen and dirt.
At the end of the Grand Canyon is a 22 meter mixed 5.10b called Invitation Mixte. The first two thirds is crack followed by bolts up a slab to the anchors. Pete worked his way up the climb but despite a solid effort came off at what we determined later to be the crux. A short clean fall onto a #.3 camalot. Once past the crux, Pete dispatched the upper slab with ease. Up next, I TR'ed and cleaned the gear but came off at the crux as well. This is definitely on the lead list.
For my last climb of the day I hmm'ed and hawed about Titanicomanie. A 5.8 mixed route with 3 bolts into a never ending crack. Ok, it does end but not for 38 meters. After whining about how tired I was I suited up with lots of extra gear. I remember placing four #2's, two #1's, one #3 and a #.75 camalot. I found the jamming at the crux difficult. With sweat running down my arms the wide hand crack put up a battle and was hard on the feet as I cammed them in. I was so happy once I broke through the hard climbing that I ran it out for a little while. This was not for my ego, it just happened. With the easier climbing I just relaxed and made up a bunch of ground without realizing it. At the top there is a blueberry bush and a sweet belay ledge to bring up a second and in our case a third.