Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Climbing With Marc

One of the constants of a climber’s life is the search for partners. In this, my second climbing life, I have had very good luck finidng people to climb with, largely thorugh the internet. Some of the best have been Jean and Annie (see post below about the Magic Purple Cam), Peter, Carolyn, Don and Jon. Marc, Las Vegas/Red Rock local, is another really good, solid partner. When he and I climb together things just seem to go smoothly and efficiently. On my recent, second trip to Red Rock (November 7-17, 2008), we did three excellent routes. He wisely insisted we start early. He picked me up each morning at my hotel and always brought route photos and beta from Mountain Project. We climb at about the same level and seem to like the same kind of routes: long trad moderates. We are starting to talk about our very different world views. I really enjoy the time I spend with him.

Our first climb was Cookie Monster on the Mescalito formation. It is a three pitch 5.7 with some very good climbing. From its top, Marc found a way to climb up a nice face to the bottom of the last pitch of Cat in the Hat. I led that last pitch, which finishes up rounded friction holds, past a very controversial bolt. It is rated only 5.6, but I was sketched on the run out above that bolt to the top. Marc agreed it was though. In all, though, it was a typical Marc and Bill climb: smooth, efficient and fun. He took these pictures.

Photos from the top: Marc belaying; Bill leading; Bill following.

Bourbon Street, an 800 foot long route on Whiskey Peak that, Handren grades 5.8+, was our second climb together. That little “plus” worried me and Marc. So he brought along a couple of rope guns, Mark (avoid confusion by noting the “k”) and Nathan. See, Marc is always prepared. Mark and Marc made one rope; Nathan and I, the other. The whole route is quite good, but the first two pitches are the best. We swung leads. I took the first pitch, so Nathan would get the second, which is the 5.8+. That pitch turned out to be very fun, but not terribly hard. The crux is a finger crack about 15 feet long. I got some of the best finger locks ever in it. They felt very secure, and together with small foothold on the adjacent face, made the climb something I would be very comfortable leading. Here are some photos Marc took of the climb.

Photos from the top: The brave mountaineers at the top of Bourbon street: Bill, Nathan, Mark and Marc; Bill leading a corner high up; Nathan and Bill at a belay; Mark Leading the 5.8+ finger crack.

For me, the best thing about this climb was the feeling of accomplishment from doing a long rouĂ© near the limit of my ability. Most of the places I climb in the Northeast simply don’t have many routes this big. I felt I had really gotten to the top of something.

I have wanted to climb Purblind Pillar (950 feet, 5.8) on the Angel Food wall since seeing some climbers on it while I was climbing Group Therapy last February. On Saturday, November 15th, Marc and I set out to do it. As we walked in and started up I was focused on the size of the route and a feeling of adventure generated by tackling a big objective. Again, things went very efficiently. We swung leads, each getting one of the two 5.8 pitches. We started the climbing at about 8 am and were on top just after 12 noon. Four hours! Looks like we are ready for even bigger and better climbs. Marc took more great pictures.

Photos from the top: Bill (2), Marc, Las Vegas seen over the Calico Hills.

1 comment:

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