Sunday, August 26, 2012

Heated hornets

Pete, Iris, Andrew and I headed out to Home Cliff on Saturday to climb a few of Gatineau's first generation routes, Peggy and Piton Highway. With haze hanging over the Ottawa river valley it was already feeling warm on the approach across the field; it would hit the mid 30's by afternoon.

 At the end of the field, where the climber's trail cuts into the woods, the NCC has piled a good number of pine logs. They are intended to be used for reinforcing and preventing further erosion of the Home Cliff base. The signs mentioned a partnership with the Ottawa ACC and local climbers, however this is the first I had heard of such a plan. Anyway, I believe the intended plan is for climber to move the logs to the base of the cliff; I'm not sure who is going to do the actual landscaping. As always there seems to be a large disconnect between the people using the cliffs and the powers that be, i.e. the NCC. There is also no mention of this on the ACC website. This should be posted on the Ottawa climbing forum at the very least. I guess I'll get in touch with the ACC.

Pete, being the pack mule that he is, suggested we carry two log on our way to Home Cliff. Sure why not, it is just more training weight. As it turns out they were the first two carried up, I would be happy to carry more if someone would just ask or organize a day to do so. On the upside, with such an initiative, it seems the NCC is looking at long term climbing at Home Cliff. So to all the people who owned the beer cans and water bottle I picked up yesterday, smarten up and take your garbage home.

 I started up Piton Highway first as it was still in the shade. Andrew started up Peggy, his first lead attempt, one he had been meaning to do for years. I really like Piton Highway. Pulling through the crux I headed toward the bolt after exiting the lower dihedral. Easy climbing here, however been 15 feet from the last bolt it is no place to do something stupid. You know, like reach into a crack that contains a hornets nest. Crap. Now, I'm not afraid of hornets but after being stung 5 times on the arms last year I certainly dislike the beasts. As I clipped the draw a hornet landed on the bolt and proceeded to attack it. Clipping the rope I downclimbed 4 or 5 feet and left around the corner onto the face. I stood 5 feet along a ledge, hiding out, until the hornets calmed down. Lucky for me the face is an easy variation of Piton Highway which meant I could give the hornets a wide berth and finish the climb as well.

Also while at home cliff I gave Direttissisma 5.11a a go for the first time. I blew the onsight quickly as I missed a key hold between the 1st and 2nd bolt. I found the route difficult to read at first and the overhanging nature of the climb, plus the heat, drained my strength. There may have been some aiding on draws :). Pete and Andrew gave it a go on TR and with their beta I managed to one hang it on TR later. I'll give it another lead attempt next time I'm there. 

Update: Well it is Monday and I definitely got stung on one arm. I was not sure at first because it did not hurt too much at the time but there is a definite swollen welt that appeared late yesterday.
Direttissisma 5.11a, Photo by Iris

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