Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sunshine Wall - 03.18.09

Ian asked me last week if I wanted to get out to the desert for some climbing. I told him I'd prefer Leavenworth, but that the Frenchman's Coulee might be our only option due to weather.

Ian has a project of doing all the routes on Sunshine Wall, so I figured I could help him with that.

We headed over to Sunshine Wall with no specific game plan. Once on top of the coulee, we opted to do a 5.6 gear route which I believe was called "Chapstick." It was perhaps one or two stars in the guide, but was fairly uninspiring. Although it was nice to finally get on a gear route out in Vantage. I'll probably try to lead it the next time I am there.

We then moved onto a 5.10a or b route that was "in your face" for the first three clips then mellowed out with easier holds. Probably some of the trickier climbing of the day was the first three clips on that route. Next, we moved over to Bushido (5.10b) that was more strenuous than having technically difficult moves. The route is about 95' high and dead vertical, if not a touch over-vertical in places. Big holds through most of the route with one section of thinner moves somewhere in the middle. Once again, Ian led this in fine form. I believe I took once in the thinner moves area, where I could not find a place to move my feet.

Finally, we finished on a 5.10c. It was a shorter climb. Which is something both Ian and I needed after the strenuous Bushido. This climb did not look difficult from the ground, but we were intent on finding why it was a .10c. Ian led off, and took a fall about three bolts up. The route wandered back and forth across the arete, and was difficult to follow the route because of it. I climbed the route on top rope and had the same difficulties. Ian and I worked out the route, then he re-led it without falling or taking. I took another shot on top rope, but still had some difficulties and hung about three times.

Overall, the weather was great. (Although not too great considering I had worn black pants with long johns.) It was probably in the mid 50°s and sunny most of the day. (Only the second time ever I've used chalk while climbing outdoors.) There was a light wind, but mostly at the tops of the climbs. It was fun getting to follow Ian on some harder routes that I wouldn't have the opportunity to climb otherwise. It was also nice to finally get on a gear route to get a feel for how the rock takes gear.

On a final note, I had some difficulty cleaning anchors. It wasn't my own fault exactly, but the design of the anchors. I don't understand why someone would go through the trouble of having two nice stainless bolts and Fixe hangers, only to use a crummy hardware store lap link to attach the chains with. This doesn't make sense. Furthermore, the lap link takes up too much space in the hanger, and makes it difficult to get a carabiner in there, let alone two. My big anchor cleaning screw up occurred when I attempted to attach my personal anchor to one of the hangers on top of Bushido. This caused it to get stuck. I had great difficulty in removing it after that point. I was planning on cutting my personal anchor and leaving it there. Ian told me to hit it. I didn't hit it, but yanking the chain in multiple directions finally got it to a point where I could free it. I understand a lap link costs about 75 cents at a hardware store, and a climbing quick link costs at least $5, but it makes so much more sense to do it right the first time.

Pics are here.

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