Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Aid Weekend 3

Sunday was another day for aid training. I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. First was to get my system for solo-aid dialed and the second was to get some more mileage jugging and cleaning on a traverse.

The solo-aid bit went pretty well. At one point it was actually pretty cool to see the four of us solo-aiding across the entire span of Joe's garage simultaneously. Erick on Astroboy, myself on Trundling, Chris on the Arch, and Adam at Sticky Fingers. I managed to figure out the flow much more quickly than last time and had two pitches start to finish, cleaned, and rapped in about 2.5 hours. Not bad. Easy stuff when every piece is bomber and the falls are clean. For anything else I gotta say that I'd still much prefer a human being at the other end of the lead line.

After finishing with that Henni had half-finished his project for the day: a traverse across the entire length of the Arch... finishing on the anchor for Bone Machine. He'd fixed a cleaning line for me and I got started. I made quick progress thorough the slimy, wet, arch until I arrived at the tat below Gumby roof. At this point, the line traverses approx. 30' horizontally and it appeared as if Chris was either forced to hook considerably, or decided to back clean in order to link pitches. There was as I could see, only 2 pieces for the entire traverse, separated by 10' horizontal stretches between them. Without having cleaned the right gear to re-aid the traverse, my first option was to try to hook through it. Before unclipping my last good directional and committing to the traverse I tried a few hook placements... each one blowing... with the potential to send me whizzing off on a pretty big pendulum. Eff that! Instead I thought I'd use the Gumby tat as a lower-out with the spare cleaning line I had. I rigged it up and after some horrible awkwardness, I managed to get myself on the correct side and weighted the system. Problem was that once that happened, I was dangling in space with no way to get back to the wall to clean Chris's cam back in the crack. Totally stuck, wet, and fried at this point (this had taken me about 90 minutes of struggling) I lowered out and ended up at the Rock Opera anchors.  From there, I bailed. More on that later.

Earlier on in the arch I made the decision to remove an old, horribly rotten pin that was presumably in place since the FA (perhaps 35 years ago). Last summer I'd actually weighted this thing and gotten away with it... a feat which now I can't explain. I decided to give it two light taps up and down with the hammer in an effort to prevent breaking the biner-hole with direct funking. It moved almost completely out. I simply connected a draw to it and gave it a light yank by hand and she flung out no problem. The metal on the eye was rusted thinner than the edge of a dime and the main body of the pin is badly fatigued. It was removed as it was of limited value in place and it obscured natural gear placements readily available. The same could be said of all bolts on this beautiful arch.

Overall I was disappointed with myself for not making it successfully through the problem at hand. Hennigar jugged back up to my high point and re-aided the section back cleaning his gear as he went. The problem was do-able, but I didn't see the solution, and I wasn't willing to accept the risk of the pendulum... even though it looked clean. Clean or not a 15 foot pendulum fall doesn't sound nice. I'd just wish now that I'd been able to invent some other way out of that situation... having bailed doesn't sit well with me today.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Year at Cochrane Lane

Sometime this spring I replaced the log book at Cochrane lane. The musty & molded book from last year has sat in my car's trunk for several months but today I was curious enough to rifle through it. It was an interesting read. The book has hundreds of entries, chronicled at least a dozen new routes, and contained some pretty interesting passages. Here's a few of the entries that caught my eye: 

Sweet illustration Dom. Now I understand.

Sounds like somebody found an unwanted poo!

Wow. No thanks.

Seriously? He continued to sign with this logo for months afterwards.

That was the day I did this:

Swiped gear sucks.... but really... you waited 2 months to go back to get it?


And I thought I was the image of internet douchbaggery... wow!

Open Source Cedar Point Topo


Home sick today with a man-cold! Rather than be totally useless I cranked off another topo with BetaFlash. This one is for Cedar Pt. Again... it's a model... so it is mostly wrong, but hopefully useful. Input/edits welcome. Download the file here:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Open Source Sunnyside Topo

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a neat bit of open-source software called BetaFlash. It's a simple drawing program with standardized elements for climbing topos. Nice idea! I decided to give it a spin.

At the time Fred put out his last guidebook Sunnyside was relatively new and developments were happening fast. There are a fair number of nice lines not captured in the topos. So using my shaky mental image of the crag along with the new routes thread, I sketched up this:

Not perfect by any means... but it's just a model right?

I figure the intent of a topo is to allow you to navigate to the start of the route... the description should tell you what you need to know about the climbing and gear. So the bolt counts are wrong, the rap stations aren't all there, and the orbiting crags (Farside and Darkside) aren't included. But it's a start.

If anyone is interested in improving this work that would be great! You can download the file I was working with HERE and make whatever changes are for the better. I'd also expect this would be a nice tool to use for newer areas like Cedar Pt. and Kingston.


Monday, June 6, 2011


Went to Dover over the weekend with a strong crew from the club. Years of avoiding this place came to an end.  Bouldering is somewhat cool I guess. Managed to send a few problems and took a few pictures. Highlights for me were topping out The Bear, running laps on Orgasmatron, and eventually sending The Wave after about a dozen ugly-looking tries.

It was pretty impressive to see the power that the ocean commands over the blocks at this place. We saw spots where house-sized boulders were picked up and either carried uphill or completely away by the surf. It was pretty unreal. I was pretty disappointed to see Orangutan smashed away but we found a newly created double-arete near the John Doe area which made up for it somewhat. I thought I may have bagged the FA of it but I guess not. It was new enough to still have holds crumbling and breaking off on us... and you wouldn't expect that for a super-aesthetic V1 boulder in a well-traveled area.  Get on it... it looks like this:

Just don't fall.

O.k so I have got my better pictures posted here... but these are my selections:

The basecamp... before we torched the creosote wood!
Brent... Agent Orange - V0 highball

Melissa... Orange Arete - V2 sloper problem

Cara on The A-Frame, a nice V1 crack

Tom, both feet cut loose from the The Bear, V4
Tom. Orgasmatron. V0. This should go on for 300'. 
Pete wrestling with Orange Crush V6. Loving the Jihadi look!
Franca reaching for the better pinch on The Bear, V4