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 roué 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.