Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Conness and the Crest

We still wanted to go for a big climb. The SW Face of Conness is a 1200ft. 5.10c. The approach is hard to nail, the pitches are long, there is a 50m offwidth, in other words a handful. We took off at 5am, doing the first bit in the predawn light. With the thunder of Dana still on our minds we proceeded carefully as a few errant clouds blew through.

Andy on the summit plateu headed down to our face.

The SW Face from the notch. The route heads through the steepest part in the center. Long story short we took too long to reach the start of the climb. Made it to within 20ft of the end of the offwidth... just three pitches from easier ground and had to make a difficult decision. Bail, or push ahead and chance a forced bivy 1000ft up. The last 20ft of the offwidth were difficult, and 20ft from extremely questionable bolts from the 1950s. We bailed. It stings a little bit but we were drinking beer by 10pm instead of hanging from our harnesses in the icy wind.

Two days later we went for an easy day on the Mathes Crest. Extremely easy, a good day on exposed terrain. With beers waiting at the car.

A Hard Rains Gonna Fall

We woke up to dark clouds and the knowledge that the Dana Plateau is not a good place to be in a thunderstorm. We just hoped we could make it out before the inevitable afternoon storm.

Andy on the plateau above Mono Lake.

The striking Third Pillar of Dana.

Sporting the Lawrence of Arabia look... you know... without the sodomy.

We agreed that we would bail when we heard thunder. That happened one monster pitch from the top. After five or six scetchy raps, we were back on the ground below the plateau just as an impressive bolt struck down near us. We ditched our gear and ran for cover. After a half an hour we climbed back up to the plateau and ran for the cars. The best part of dissapointment is how good the beer tastes afterward.

The Incredible Hulk

Perfect rock. I don't need to say anything else.

Andy running up easy ground at the start of the Red Dihedral.

Andy climbing on the summit ridge complex.

Tunneling to the top.

The Incredible Hulk not looking lame. The Red Dihedral is on the right skyline of the Hulk.