This week Scott and I met our friend Garrett in Indian Creek, where we climbed for a day at Way Rambo wall (Scott's ringlock skills earned points for onsighting the crag's hardest route, Slice and Dice, while I earned a solitary point for the subsequent TR flash). We all then headed to the Scarface wall, where I lead some fun routes I hadn't tried before, onsighting The Cleaner and Desert Vuarnet (more points) and Garrett got revenge on the classic 'Scarface'. Scott worked 'Death of a Cowboy' (or vice versa) and Garrett made good on his promise to tackle the sustained wideness of Big Guy.
Following this, Scott and I headed to the Castle Valley, where we hoped to link up Castleton Tower, The Rectory, The Priest, Sister Superior, and The Convent in one day. We wanted to start on the North side of the ridge, and walk/climb our way South. The second plan was to start on the South and work North. However, without being able to bring bicycles (I rode the Amtrak home) and without meeting any climbers to help out in a car shuttle, we resorted to starting and ending at one spot and traversing the whole ridge twice.
|The Convent (L) and Sister Superior, from beneath The Priest|
By 7am we found ourselves atop the ridge, and I began the first pitch of Fine Jade as the sun's rays first hit the Rectory. Temperatures in the parking lot (1000' lower and much less windy) had been well below freezing at night, and my hands were instantly numb. After barely making it through the first pitch without feeling below the wrists, I had the worst episode of screaming barfies that I can remember. I was shouting so much that Scott thought something was seriously wrong with me (well... something new) and he offered to self-belay the pitch if I'd fix the rope.
The instant and seemingly-irrepressible urge to vomit my instant oatmeal/instant coffee breakfast all over the cliff did slowly pass, and I brought Scott up so that he too could have a bout of the 'barfies'.
|Garrett on Way Rambo... not the Convent|
Jah Man before we again found ourselves trudging along the crest's constantly-eroding terrain.
With every footstep slide out from beneath us, it felt as though we were being chased by gravity, and only through continuous forward movement would be prevent being pulled down the hill in either direction. The trick was to sprint between 'islands of security', which could have taken the form of plants, large rocks, or any other rare object that offered temporary stability.
Scott and I seriously contemplated the no-water and no-windbreaker headlamp-ed attempts of The Priest and Castleton, but eventually decided to head down the ridge to camp and re-hydration.