Fall Ticks and "Blake-ing"

The blue cord worked better than the pine needles and leaves I tried first.
Not washing my jacket has paid off once again!

 Despite the lack of updates about recent climbing and outdoor adventuring, I have managed to do some fun pitches this fall. Allison and I had a great trip through the Castle Valley, Indian Creek, biking through Arches, and then climbing in Zion.

  • In the Castle Valley, we climbed Fine Jade (my 8th time up the route!) with Clayton and Forest, before staying with Clayton in Moab. From there it was on to Indian Creek where we had a fun time with Garrett Grove and the Bellinghamsters, my friend Scott Bennet, as well as desert-dweller Alf, who showed us some great new routes that Scott made short work of. Forest and Allison also won send-of-the-day Blue Moon beers (courtesy of the generosity of Coors' best photographer, Rob Kepley) by dispensing solid 5.11 pitches first-go.
  • In Zion, I was feeling sick but still was happy to climb Moonlight Buttress with Scott. In deference to subsequent parties, all snot rockets were blown well to the sides of the splitters. This was Scott's 2nd go on the route, and my first time. It was interesting to see body geometry defining the cruxes. Scott fell once, and lowered back to get it clean, completing his send of the route. Oddly, I didn't fall at that spot (standing up off the Rocker Block) which is where he had fallen both times. However, I had a much harder time on the last purple camalot splitter (our 2nd-to-last pitch) where offset ringlocks off the belay frustrated me. Forest and Allison and our friend Jenny hiked to the top and met us with lunch and beers. Forest lowered down and TRed the last 100' 5.10 section, which is probably just about the coolest TRing session one could imagine, 1000' up the wall in Zion Canyon atop Moonlight Buttress. It's incredible to believe that this route was ever rated .12d (let alone .13b) since it is MUCH EASIER THAN THAT! I think all the holds in the corner must be growing with time. The ".12-" purple camalot splitter is the only pitch I think I'd have issue with next time. But as for ".12d"...

  • I managed to climb Beethoven's Fifth, an all-gear line of thin corners and twin seams at Boulder Canyon's old school trad bastion - Bell Buttress (5.12d with some 5.11 or 5.10+R). My pro was an example of "Blake-ing" something. Allison belayed me, and I knew I couldn't pause to fit much in during the wild slapping and pinching sequence (that's what she said...). I  found an old bit of tat in my pants pocket (not doing laundry pays off again!) and used this as a shim, inside a petzl rubber quickdraw-keeper. I was then able to just grab the quickdraw off my harness, reach up, and slot in the wire, without having to re-finagle gear in hand from my tenuous stance. A Leavenworth neighbor of ours coined the term "Blake-ing" last summer to mean, among other things, bizarrely yet successfully improvising your way out of a SNAFU. I think this qualifies

  • I just made a short trip to Trout Creek and Smith Rock with new neighbors and old friend Sol Wertkin. Trout Creek was amazing. Many thanks to Jeff who showed us around and makes an excellent guidebook! Just watch out if you hear late-night talk about the one-armed-weasel. I climbed Alchemy (flailed the onsight, sussed it out rapping, then sent...) and was inspired by many great lines. This place is up there with the Lower Town Wall for the best single crag in the NW! It seems like bouldering/skiing/ice-scratching season now here in Leavenworth, and I can see the snow line creeping down the mountains.

    --- Nuts and Bolts for Moonlight Buttress Free - Onsight Rack:
2x blue alien
3x green alien
5x yellow alien
5x purple camalot
2x green camalot
1x red camalot
1x set of largish wires, no RPs
8-10 draws

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