Sunday, October 14, 2012

Climbing at Owens River Gorge - Day Three

3 October 2012

On the third morning, I finally began to hit my car-camping stride. I started back on writing each morning, though I reduced my output from three pages to one page. Must spend less time navel-gazing when there's breakfast to cook and gear to pack and walls to climb.
Dirty windows.
I didn't want to have to deal with cleaning my french press, so I planned to drink yerba mate instead of my usual coffee each day. I did, however, make an extra-large serving of coffee with condensed milk (cut with regular milk) for early Monday morning drive, which I nursed for a couple of mornings' worth of writing.

While I look with interest at wagons, vans, hatchbacks, and trucks with shells (I notice them a lot more nowadays), I'm pretty happy with my little car. I make it work.
Writing desk.
Headlamps are wonderful.
That day, we headed down to Central Gorge, which has a longer, somewhat sketchier approach than Upper Gorge, but it was definitely worth it. We added a few minutes to our approach because I worried that my car (converted back into a passenger vehicle) would not be able to make it through this hole-y zone on the way to the parking area:
Down might be okay. Up, not so much.
Obeyed all rules but the last.

Down the gully.
Well-kempt squat toilet.
Stinging nettle looks a little like mint.

Nettle likes being near water.
Owens River.
We started out at Great Wall of China, where I warmed up on Enter the Dragon (5.8), China Doll (5.8), and Child of Light (5.9). Antoine, who is a 5.12 climber, remarked that the 5.8 was too easy for me. I rejoined that I climb better when I warm up well, which is true-- but his comment added to the already-brewing feeling that I wouldn't make the most of the trip if I didn't challenge myself further. 

Antoine had put up Tsing Tao (5.10b). I hadn't planned on trying it, but for lack of a 5.10a nearby, I decided to just go for it. I surprised myself by flashing it. It was the hardest climb I'd tried to lead during the trip so far. Then, we made our shade-following migration to the Pub Wall.  There, I took my first lead-fall on Abitarot (5.10a). That was a good reminder that 1) ratings are more guidelines than rules, and 2) falling is okay. After splashing around in the water, I lead Abitafun (5.9) and finished by top-roping Hardly Wallbanger (5.10c). 

And, then, Antoine top-roped Abitafun barefoot and chalkless.
The next day would be a rest day. 

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