Monday, November 7, 2011

Climbing with City Friends (Lost City)

This past weekend's weather was an about-face from last weekend. You know what they say "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a minute."  Abundant sunshine and warmer temperatures can be spelled with a mere five letters: G-U-N-K-S

If you have followed this blog from the initial weeks, during my cross-country adventure, you may recall that I met 2 delightful young people from New Paltz at the City of Rocks (Idaho) in July and climbed with them.  Here is the photo of Colin and Emily from that time.
Colin and Emily at "The City" in July

Colin was gracious enough to climb with me all day Saturday (Emily had to work) and we had a super fun time climbing in the Trapps.  Unfortunately our plan to climb both pitches of Modern Times kept getting snuffed out by a slow party of 3 on the GT ledge.  We climbed the first pitch, but the thrilling, wild second pitch is what we were aiming for.  We would climb something else, then check back, only to find the party was still there.  I bet those 2 followers never got up that pitch, as one of them made it about 10 feet off the ledge and no further in the time it took me to belay Colin up the entire first pitch. Oh well, Modern Times will be there for us another day.

The spiciest route we did Saturday was Never Neverland.  Pretty sustained smooth face climbing (slabby smooth) and at the 5.10a grade keeps your attention.  Thanks to Colin for leading that one so I could try it on the security of a top rope. Great route!

On Sunday, Colin and Emily invited us to go the the Lost City with them.  Brian and I were both chomping at the bit for this, because this area is not in the guidebooks and is a gem of a place.  There are not a lot of moderate climbs to lead there as most of the established routes are 5.10 and up. But there is a warm up area that had a handful of moderates for us to enjoy and that is exactly what we did.  And many of the routes are easily top roped, so if you cannot lead at a certain grade, you can walk to the top and find or build an anchor and play all you like on the top rope setup.

Colin gave us all a spectating treat as he masterfully climbed a 5.11+ finger crack route Persistence.  The wall is overhanging and the crack climbing is sustained on this beautiful line.  Emily adeptly handled his belay as we all watched in amazement. Brian and I each tied in after the rope was set up. I love finger cracks, but this one was far more serious than I expected and just getting the finger locks scared me since the overhanging nature of the wall could mean my feet could cut out suddenly - which may result in all weight hanging from these finger locks and breaking or straining the fingers.  I'm too old for this shit! It's a shame, but it's true. It just not worth it to ruin a finger and put myself out of climbing business. So I just didn't try too hard.  Ah, youth. what I would give to be 24 again, especially if I was climbing!
Colin sending a 5.11+ finger crack called Persistence at Lost City