Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Climbing at Owens River Gorge - Day Two

2 October 2012

Though I first opened my eyes around sunrise on Tuesday morning, I turned over and slept more. When I awoke, Ramsel, Antoine, and Monkey were already awake. Monkey scampered up to my car door and I opened it, still tucked into my sleeping bag. I felt immediately happy just being outdoors.

I apologized to the boys for sleeping in, and they said they figured I needed it. It must have been eight thirty already, which to me is late by camping standards. Which means I slept around 12 hours, because they told me they got back from Bishop at around 8:30PM and I was already asleep. There's something kind of wonderful about that.

After  breakfast, we set off for another go at Upper Gorge. While ORG is known as a sport climbing paradise, there are lots and lots of opportunities to plug traditional protection, and Ramsel had just that in mind for his day.
Racking up.
We started at the Dihedrals, where there would be morning shade and cracks to climb. I warmed up on Gangsta Lean (5.8), a long, fun route. 
I got sweaty between the first and second bolt.
The route traverses left. Love the long routes at ORG.
While Antoine went off with our new friend Trevor for his warm up,  Delicate Mechanism (5.10b), Ramsel showed me how to make tape gloves for my first crack climb.
My first tape gloves.
He lead Not Proud Enough To Name (5.8) and Pumping the Slots (5.9). I found that I really enjoy cramming my hands and feet into cracks and using torque to make upward progress. After the two crack climbs, Ramsel flashed Delicate Mechanism. I top-roped the route to clean it and had a tough time negotiating the slab and removing the quickdraw under the roof. I was much more interested in crack climbing, so I cleaned Trevor's lead of Life During Wartime (5.10a). I had a lot of fun pulling nuts and cams out of the wall while finding good hand and foot jams.
Riparian vegetation. 
I wrote in my notebook that I lead a 5.10a sport climb that day. I had to rack my brain to remember that I climbed something Antoine put up-- a route with a bouldery start that wasn't in the latest guidebook and isn't on Mountain Project. It's a southwest-facing climb around the corner from Delicate Mechanism and to the left of Mildew Encrusted Shower Stall.  Perhaps I blocked it out because I fell at the start probably half a dozen times, even when I stood on a rock for assitance. I finally traversed in from the left because I just wanted to hurry up and climb it because I said I'd clean it. I was frustrated with it and then annoyed with myself for feeling frustrated. The rest of the route went fine, thankfully, but my sport climbing confidence was shaken.

I didn't take many photos that day, but I did get one of this cute caterpillar:
There were a few of these funny, fuzzy little things crawling up the vertical face of the wall, and every so often I'd see one float down to the ground, lay stunned for a second, then start crawling right back toward the face again.

A few months prior, I had been quite comfortable trying 5.10a/b/c routes. Now I found I was letting myself be intimidated by my unfamiliarity with the area. I was spending more time afraid that I had regressed than seeing how much I might improve. Why not challenge myself at least a little more? Be more like the caterpillars. Besides, unlike them, I had the advantage of a rope and a belayer if I fell.

The climbing day was done after Ramsel and Antoine fought their way up Mildew Encrusted Shower Stall (5.10c). While I had enjoyed my introduction to crack climbing, I didn't feel ready to tackle an overhanging offwidth crack like that.

We hiked back up and had a mellow night around the fire. As per usual, one beer was enough for me. I slept early and heavily that night.

*Just realized the Glossary of climbing terms on Wikipedia may be helpful.

No comments:

Post a Comment