Tuesday, July 24, 2012

COG (Climb of Girth)

Until recently I have been unaware of the latest entry into the climber's vernacular:  MOG.  For those of you not learned in climber speak, a MOG is a man of girth... we'll apparently this last weekend was a COG (climb of girth).  Colin and I teamed up for the Girth Pillar and had a great if not adventurous time.  We made good time throughout our climb even considering the two pairs of boots, axes and crampons that the follower was force to carry.
There isn't any section on this route that is amazing but the entire package makes it worth climbing.  Many (most?) people seem to approach via the N Ridge bypass which makes it a considerably shorter climb and easier due to lack of ice climbing terrain and required gear.  I'm glad we climbed it via the Ice Cliff Glacier but it was a lot of work.  We encountered three pitches on the Ice Cliff that we felt were belay worthy, but if you had two tools you likely would just solo through (but then you have to carry two tools).
Our excitement factor was multiplied by a surprisingly active Ice Cliff Glacier and a rock fall incident that destroyed one backpack and put two core shots in our lead line.  Misadventures aside we rallied and finished the climb in good time and were still friends at the end of the story.

Climbing down low on the L to R leading ramp to the Girth Pillar

Colin jugging up to our hanging belay on the Girth Pillar

Me leading the 5.11 section on the second pitch

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adventures in Meth-opotamia

The climbing at the Index Town Walls is perhaps the biggest draw to the Sky Valley aside from the meth cookers.  The climbing can get you just as high... without all those bugs crawling under your skin.

Jason and I ran out for an after-work session up at the upper town wall.  It had been about ten years since I'd been on Heaven's Gate which is a fantastic sport multipitch line about fifty yards left of Davis-Holland.  There isn't a bad section on this route and developers bolted it very well (albeit a tad conservatively in some sections).  Bring 14 draws, leave the trad rack hanging at the first belay and a single 70m rope will get you up and down.  In my mind this route is on par with Davis-Holland an ought to have a line at the bottom.  

Jason climbing Lamplighter (Heaven's Gate's first pitch).

Jason nearing the top of the second pitch.

Jason on the third pitch.  The route finishes up the obvious
double roofs above with a definite crux at the second roof.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Come to Washington Pass for the Crack

This summer started out right with a great day out and a route scratched from the tick list.  Though Washington Pass has some of the best alpine climbing in the state, I've actually climbed there very little.  Though low lying fruit abounded, Chris and I opted to try Freedom Rider an entirely free route on the E Face of Liberty Bell.  

There should be a line at the base of this route.  After two easy and somewhat loose pitches one reaches the crux third pitch.  The third pitch is either a reportedly scary and runout 10d or an 11b offwidth.  We chose the offwidth and days later I still look like I got attacked by a bear.  

After the crux pitch, the route briefly joins the Liberty Crack route where it surmounts the aptly named "rotten block" then heads off right.  A massive chimney feature leads into Medusa's Roof which is one of the most unique pitches I've ever climbed.  Back-to-foot chimney moves lead horizontally out from the belay then overcome a massive chockstone and follow a splitter crack to the belay.

It was fun to climb with Chris who has spent many days climbing at Washington Pass and had previously climbed all the pitches on Freedom Rider beyond the rotten block.  

Best of all, though we carried rain gear in our packs all day, the rain held off until the precise moment we reached the car.  Nothing better than hitting a weather window perfectly... makes going to work all weekend, in the rain, more bearable.

Chris on the approach (if you can call a 30-min stroll and approach!)

A little spice at the end of pitch two, face climbing between cracks.

Chris about to pull over the chockstone on Medusa's Roof. 

Even the townspeople came out to see...