I was back at Montagne d'Argent on Sunday with Matt, Andrew and Alex. We hit up the Grand Canyon since we really did not have any better suggestions in the group. This ended up working out well for Alex as he tick off his first sport leads on some of the Canyon's moderates, La Belle de Cadix 5.7 and La Cha-Cha des Felins 5.9-.
I haved climbed a good number of the Grand Canyon's "classics" and given my Montagne d'Argent onsight policy I was not sure what I was going to get on at first. After some flipping through the guide I decided to warm up on Combustion Lente 5.8 trad. The guidebook has some obvious typos for this climb; the route is around 20m to 25m in length and not the 70m that is stated. The climb itself is not really that memorable and consists of unsustained climbing. The protection is reasonable and gets better toward the top. Looking for a more interesting climb I turned to Crocodile.
Crocodile is a 5.9+ mixed climb featuring a hand to fist crack followed by a long slab section to the anchors. Again the guidebook gets it wrong on the number of bolts and length. There are at least 4 bolts and a 60m rope is just enough to get back to the ground. The climb starts up some easy standard Canyon face climbing protected with a #2 C4 and #1 C3 over a block and to a large ledge. This is where the fun beginning. I placed a bomber #4 C4 followed by two #3 C4s to protect the fist/hand crack as I moved up. The crack has solid jams and the trick for me was finding a couple key feet out left. I found myself a little pumped after placing gear so I down climbed to a rest position before sending the crack in one push. The top slab section is classic Montagne d'Argent; just hard enough with enough lichen to make you slow down.
Looking for another trad climbing I moved on to Invitation Mixte 5.10b. I climbed this one with one hang once before on TR about two years ago so, yes, this breaks my rule of onsight climbing. I guess knowing where the crux is was helpful but leading was a whole new game. The gear can be finicky in places and of course the best placements corresponded to some of the best holds. Lots of small gear; I protected the crux with a #00 C3 that I did not want to fall on. The mental crux of the climb may be clipping the first bolt at the start of the slab section. Solid climb, I'm glad I sent it.
My last climb of the day was an easy 5.6- gear climb called Madame la Marquise. It is a little dirty but straight forward.