10 November 2009

Mt Audubon

We had the intestinal fortitude, I just had problems with the intestines. Shooting pains most of the day kept me from the summit. Dan didn't want to go alone. So after doing the fun parts we descended. Was rough turning back so close to the summit and with the difficult parts dispatched. But my pain threshold was reached at that point.

Oh, and the fall on to the spire of rock, bruising me, didn't help matters.

Still a great day in the alpine, even if the wind tried blowing us off the Southeast Ridge a few times.

Dan could have used his ice ax and we both could have used our crampons. Next time, I'm gonna cut down on the garlic.

03 November 2009

Front Porch

Dan and I hooked up for a mellow 4-pitch 5.2 in the Flatirons. We got more than we bargained for.

A joke at the base but could have been a harbinger of the day of climbing??

Dan led the first pitch up the east face, south side of Front Porch. He got a piece right about his stance here. Then his next piece was about 80 feet up. Thankfully it was mellow climbing.

After that Dan went a little off-route. He climbed up another 20 feet to underneath a roof. He slotted two cams and then got stuck. Mellow climbing it wasn't anymore. So he downclimbed to his last piece and then a little more to a mellow pseudo-ledge traverse and then up and to a belay tree.

I padded up after him and got to the roof. Once there, we both realized what a terrible traverse with some serious consequences I had ahead of me. I clipped into one of the cams while Dan quickly climbed up above him and created a directional piece that was at least at equal height to my traverse.

Once done I had two choices: either traverse high on some tough stuff or downclimb and follow the way Dan went. I started the downclimb but it just didn't seem right to me. That was going to be about 50 feet of rope out. At least up high the tension of the traverse wasn't going to have the rope pulling me out of whack and with only 30 feet of rope out.

Deep breath and I did the high traverse which included at least one smear of faith. I'd say it went about 5.9.

I got to the anchor and we switched gear. I started going up the slot but I was slightly spooked. Not from what was ahead of me but from what I just completed. Dan noticed I was still breathing pretty hard and asked if I was alright. While I wasn't consciously spooked or scared, my body was telling me differently.

I downclimbed to the anchor and gave Dan the gear back and he led up the slot. Following I realized it was the best choice. Stuff that looked hard while on lead was much more doable. The pitch was awkward with a lot of stemming across a chasm, chokestones, tree humping, chimneying and I did get a chicken wing thrown in for good measure.

We had climbed well over 300 feet in our two pitches and the climb itself was 400 feet. Though we took a long ass time, given the lower part of the route was amorphous, and the upper pitch was grueling.

We escaped from there, glad to call it a day as Dan had to be in Denver at a certain time.

Still a day out climbing with good company is a great day.

However, the consensus was, "5.2 my ass". And put an X next to that number grade.