Friday, April 30, 2010

Gear decisions on longer climbs

Guillaume, Bob and I hiked out to Farm Rock to take in some moderate trad climbing on some of Gatineau's longer pitches. I started up One Pine 5.4 as a warmup. The climb follow up a corner for a about 10m and then traverses left about 6m to another crack. I found placing gear in the broken rock a tad troublesome. I placed a #3 BD cam in the corner on a double sling before traversing to cut down on rope drag. The traverse itself is not protected so I wanted to get a piece in once I hit the new crack system. However the gear here is questionable. I put in two piece and continue to look for a solid placement. I found a good spot for a #0.3 BD cam about 2.5m higher. I then down climbed and removed the questionable placements because the rope drag was brutal. I continued to climb, putting in gear as I went and at some point I believe I started in on the 5.6 variation. I find the guide book some what confusing. Anyway, I definitely linked the two pitches and near the end I was short on gear. The last bit of climbing is a hand crack which was way to big for the cams and nuts I had left. After what seemed like a long time I found some "hidden" placements for smaller gear and I finished the climb. Note that a 60m rope will get you to the ground on rope stretch only. A 70m rope is much nicer for Farm Rock.

Next up was Wall Climb a two pitch 5.5 PG route. The PGness has been removed by bolts which protect the traverse. Bob lead the first pitch. For the second pitch I did the second pitch of Sev's Route which is listed at 5.5. Although, this is a 1960's 5.5 and is sandbagged by today's standards. This is a solid 5.7. It starts as a thin slightly overhung crack on tiny gear; I put in a #5 and #4 BD stopper off the belay and I did not get bomber placement for a few meters. While climbing it I would have suggested 5.8 but there a number of jugs after the half way mark so maybe it is a 5.7. Anyway, go climb it and decide for yourself. Also, it you are going to bring up two more it is best to top out and skip the hanging belay.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Climb in the CWM while you can

I was back in the CWM, with Matt and Bob, last Friday climbing more trad and some sport while the area is still open to climbing. I warmed up by leading bolt line #1 on the Spindrift wall and sending Jugness on TR after Bob lead it. Next up, was The Reaper a short 5.9 2 bolt climb on a slightly overhanging wall. I sent it once on TR and then lead it. I should have just lead it to begin with but I was worried about clipping the second bolt. As it turns out the bolts can be clipped from solid positions and protect the crux well.

After a snack, it was off the Shpinava Wall on the south side of the CWM. I decided to lead Fruit Tart. A 5.8 three star Gatineau route that moves up a large corner into a roof and finishes on a slab. I started into the climb placing a #0.3 BD cam, #6 BD stopper and a #0.4 BD cam as I went. As I approached the roof I had trouble placing gear that I could trust which lead to wasting a lot of time and second guessing. In the end I down climbed and lowered off my #0.4 cam. The sun had not come around the corner yet so I was also cold. After sitting in the sun it was time for round two. I also put my coat on to keep warm while climbing. This time I slotted a nut above the #0.4 cam and moved up into the roof. I put in a #0.5 BD cam to protect me while I spent, what seemed like forever, fiddling to get a #3 BD cam in. I put 60cm runners on both the #0.5 and #3 to prevent rope drag. Getting over the roof bit was a battle as I felt over the lip for good holds. Once on the outter face I put in a #2 BD cam before rocking over onto my right foot to stand up and finally clip a bolt. The rest of the climbing from here is easy to the anchors.

The last climb of the day was Raikush 5.10c 5 bolts + gear on TR. This climb is beside Fruit tart so it also has a roof to pull. The roof move is not the crux. The crux is on the very thin slab near the second bolt. After working out the slab I sent it clean on TR so I can see a lead attempt in the future. I should also say that between the last bolt and the anchors is tricky too.

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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cotter Crack, first attempt

I went climbing with Guillaume today at the Home Cliff area. I did one-up as the usual warm up and then onsighted Peggy 5.7+. Peggy is a great climb with a real exposed feel to it and is definitely worth doing. Just bring lots of runners or suffer some ugly rope drag. After Peggy, we moved to Cotter Crack. Cotter Crack at 5.10b doesn't look too bad until you realize it definitely overhanging and you've fought with the bottom section. It is a tricky finger crack at this point with not the greatest feet. After fingers, it opens into hands where the climbing is burly but more strange forward. The last 5 feet or so is offwidth. I started this climb on gear but backed off and worked it on toprope. I know, lame.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An uneventful day

Home Cliff was fairly uneventful on Saturday as I spent time on know terrain plugging gear. I did walk over to Cotter Crack and it looks like an awesome line. However, I'm not sure I have enough gear to climb it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Scorcher at Home Cliff

Sunshine and 25 C made the base of Home Cliff into an oven on Friday. I headed out with David, Kate and Bob. My 3 liters of water did not last long. Amusingly, David managed to forget his harness in Ottawa so with Bob's advice he constructed one out of webbing.

To warm up, I lead piton highway, a 5.7 classic, on gear and 3 bolts. It was a bit tricky in the dihedral and for some reason nothing seemed to place the way I wanted. Next up, I started in on Lavender 5.9 gear and 5 bolts. The bottom is gear (3 cams) and the upper half is bolts. I think the crux is between the 1st and 2nd bolt. However, the top bit, just before the anchors was tricky too but maybe because it was a little wet. Also, a some point I missed a bolt and had a 15 foot runout going. After getting down I felt exhausted from the sun beating down.

After some rest I worked on the roof on the Original route. I worked out some beta but it will need some more tries. To escape the heat we moved up toward the waterfall on the left of main corner. I onsighted One Up 5.7 on gear. This climb requires some thought and small gear; I made sure my sequence was good before doing the crux bit.

I never did get over to the Cotter Crack, maybe next time.