Daily Archives: April 16, 2014

A Roadtrip to the gunks: Climbing! First Trad of the 2014 season!

Standard

A beautiful Sunday, 06-Apr-14

 

Daniel, Erin and I woke up… not early, but not late.  After a quick breakfast and packing up / cleaning the Hostel, we were tearing down the road towards what we expected to be a rather empty parking lot.  But instead…

Butt tons of people.  Seriously, how were there so many people climbing?  I mean, I know that it was perfect and amazing and gorgeous out, but… it was raining the day before!  That means I get the whole wall to myself!  No!  Stop climbing and having fun!  Give me back my walls!

 

Ribs (5.5 PG)

Pitch 1 = Daniel took the lead here, and I’m glad that he did.  While the moves were clean, everything was just… kind of thin.  Not positive, and a lot of sloping holds that would have kept me shaking.  So Erin followed him, and I cleaned the gear while making my way to the first belay ledge.

Pitch 2 = From the ledge I led onward, into a route full of pumpy and slightly overhanging moves.  It swung up on huge blocks, with many fair placements, and a lot of exposure… basically exactly what I love climbing.

At the top of the route, we set up an anchor and prepared to rappel down on our double-ropes… when another team came up from the right.  We helped them clip into our anchor, saying that they could drop down our ropes first, since they only had a single rope that would require two rappels.

Then another team showed up from the left.

And then a fourth team came in from the right.

And then a fifth team rappelled down onto us from above.

Seriously.  Our belay ledge was POPULAR.

 

Black Fly (5.5 PG)

We’ve done this one before, and it’s somehow always sketchier than it should be… a single pitch, and I took the lead on it.  Overall it was clean, but I had a bit of fun with the route-finding about halfway up, and hit a real nasty patch about 10ft from the top.  It was good though, and I’m glad that I took the lead.

However, we ran into trouble on the top rope.  Erin took the second ascent, and took a short fall about 3/4 the way to the top.  A short fall… but just long enough for her foot to get caught on a small ledge.  Sprains-ville, population: Erin.

The solution to this problem was, of course, to give Erin a bit of time to self-evaluate, and make sure it was actually a sprain.  Daniel burned up the climb quickly to get the gear back, and I did a bit of first-aid on the offending ankle.  From there – escape from the crag.

Escape revolved around me moving very quickly, and Daniel being burly.  So we both won in this situation.  Hell, Erin won too, because she got to get carried out by Daniel.  Who was also carrying his own gear.  And my gear.  And Erin’s gear.  Like I said, burly.  While he was flexing and grunting though, I was trail-running to get the car, and then driving at speed to meet up with them in the upper parking lot.  Like I said, moving fast.

Sum total: Enjoyment for all, and Erin was recovered safely.  Just in time to get dinner at the Gilded Otter…

 

A roadtrip to the Gunks: Hiking and exploring

Standard

Saturday, 05-Apr-14

 

Since Saturday was slated to be a rainy cool day, Daniel found us a hike to check out in the area.  It’s strange, but we realized that while we’ve all been to the Gunks dozens of times, we’ve never done any normal hiking… well, this is a perfect time to fix that, right?

Hike #1 – The carriage road below the Trapps

More than anything, this was a quick recon mission, to see how the rock looked and to get a feel for where we wanted to climb the next day.  We’ve all been in this area a dozen times before, though we did push farther to the right than we normally do…

 

Hike #2 – Bonticou Crag hike

Sadly, this crag is not open for climbing.  Sad, because damn this would be good for climbing.  Huge split cracks heading up the sides, with lots of interesting roofs and ledges and trees all over it.

The approach we took was short – maybe 3 miles hiking.  Since we didn’t have heavy packs it went quite quickly, with Daniel, Erin and I taking our time and enjoying the scenery.  The scramble up to the summit was a bit more interesting though, with more than a few amazing views as we clawed our way up roughly 300ft of rock slide.  My takeaway?  Damn I want to climb this… or at least do some bouldering… hell, even camping in some of the small caves would be fun!

After hitting the summit and having a bit of lunch, we headed down the long way home – it was still early, and we really didn’t have any other plans for the evening.  We checked out Spring Farms on the way down, talked about the San Francisco housing market, and generally enjoyed the outdoors and the amazing views of the mountains.