Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rest Day, Owens River Gorge - Day Four

4 October 2012

It was time to give our tendons, muscles, and skin a chance to recover after two and half days of climbing. Also, we had to go into town to get water and a few supplies (beer). 
Another beautiful morning.
While camping in the pinyons, with mountains and trees all around, it feels beautifully remote. But drive about thirty minutes south, and creature comforts are all available in town, including a more-than-decent cup of coffee, and gambling (or so I hear).
Looney Bean Coffee, on Main St.
After a lazy morning at the coffee shop and a run to the grocery store, we stopped at The Pit campground to pump some water. Not quite as tasty as the Hetch Hetchy water you get from the tap in San Francisco, but cool and refreshing just the same.
I'd been eyeing big, portable water storage containers at REI for a while, but I think I'll stick with re-using gallon jugs because they're much easier to handle, though not as durable. Once their water containment life is done, though, they can become sub-irrigated planters! Now I just need to think some more on how I'll rig a portable garden on/in my little car. Any car-gardening out there?

After re-upping on water, we decided to explore some of the other crags nearby. Ramsel was feeling the urge to do some crack climbing, which isn't as tough on the hands, and I was a more-than-willing second. We found ourselves at Pine Creek Canyon, where vertical dance company Project Bandaloop was occupying part of the crag with one of their classes. You must click the link and see for yourself. You must.

Since the classic Pratt's Crack (5.9) was occupied by Bandaloop, Ramsel set his sights on Sheila (5.10a). It was his first trad lead of the grade. I wish I hadn't forgotten my camera in the car. Since the climb required two ropes to rappel back down, I had to trail a rope behind me, attached to my harness. I also had to clip the trailing rope into some gear for directionals since Antoine planned on climbing up after me. That was a first for me; I really felt the weight of the rope during some of the tougher sections of the climb near the top. Thankfully I was able to make it up. We had some rope management fun at the top as I belayed Antoine up. Poor Ramsel had to sit up there through gusty winds the entire time, and flaked the rope over his shoulders for warmth. After Antoine powered through the climb, we all abseiled down, explored Pine Creek a bit, and returned to camp. A rest day well-spent, I say.

*The Eastern Sierra has so much climbing, it's over-whelming. I'm not even finished writing this trip report yet, and I'm already about to head back to the area. My next post will probably be written at The Looney Bean. Wish me luck finding climbing partners.

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