Followed up an excellent day of climbing in Darrington with a not-so-excellent day at Exit 38.
Started the day at Interstate with the intention of finally checking out Off Ramp. Before climbing, we figured out the approach to Off Ramp, but noticed it did not have anchors assessable for top roping. So I decided to warm up on Eating Dust as the stump no longer exists and makes Eating Rocks a bit more difficult start than it was previously. I had no issues on the climb and set up a top rope for Steen to climb. She climbed Eating Dust and then we both climbed Eating Rocks. I brought her to the top so I could finish off with Insomniac, but I balked after clipping the first bolt and could not seem to figure out the moves. My calves were noticeably sore from the previous day and after about four attempts, we decided to rap down.
On the ground we were met by Adam, Zach and his girlfriend. They were going to climb in that area while Steen and I checked out something different. We walked over to Kiss of the Crowbar a nice 5.7 route that I had climbed a few years ago with Lindsay. I started up and found it to be runout and couldn't even locate the second bolt so I went left to climb Attack of the Butter Knives before seeing the second bolt. I then made a traverse back to clip the correct bolt and then back tracked to unclip from the off route bolt.
I was then able to proceed upward. However I was still balking. Steen asked if I wanted to come down, but I told her I was going to go for it. As I clipped the third bolt I realized it suffered from the same problem the second bolt suffered from. The bolt was poorly placed and caused the carabiner on my draw to come to rest on the rock's edge. This concerned me as I was afraid of the biner breaking in a fall. The wind was blowing and I did not feel comfortable climbing upward from that point. But I noticed there might be a bypass around the next steep section by going around it to the right. I informed Steen of what I was about to do and went around to the right. After going around and up, I was a bit above the previous bolt and did not feel comfortable trying to get back on route. I then informed Steen of my decision to attempt to walk off to the right. There was a grassy ledge system with some small shrubs that I was able to traverse until I got to walking terrain. I called "off belay" and untied to walk down to Steen.
I apologized for the lack of my finishing and told her to pull the rope and told her I hoped Adam would be able to complete the route to get my gear. It was Noon, and we decided after telling the others that we would sit in the sun on the talus field and enjoy lunch. It was shady and cold near the base of the wall, and not much better on the route, so the less windy and more sunny talus slope provided a welcome change.
After lunch Zach and his girlfriend left to go for a hike while I belayed Adam up Kiss of the Crowbar. He tried to rectify the same issue I was concerned with and did it with adding an additional biner on the bolt. He made his way surely to the top and set up a top rope for Steen and I to climb. While Steen was halfway up a guy came by that was an acquaintance who was hoping to get on the route. I told him I would skip the top rope and he could have it after Steen. Adam instructed me to head to Squishy Bell to see if I could set up a top rope there. I hiked up to Squishy Bell where there was already two parties on routes (which left only one anchor open.) Instead of being the person who holds movie theater seats when others are not in the theater, I dropped the rope and my jacket at the base and went back to pick up my pack. After explaining the situation to Adam, I headed back to wait for him and Steen to join me.
By the time they joined me, I had convinced myself that I would lead Winter Rushing In to set up a top rope for November Glaze. Thankfully, I had no issues leading the route and set up the top rope. Steen followed Winter Rushing In and then all three of us top roped November Glaze. Which is a fun route that has a difficult move to reach the second bolt. After that route, we packed up and headed home.
This was a frustrating day for me as I climbed well the previous day but had some head issues attempting to lead today. Interestingly, I did not have those issues on the final lead, so I am not sure what happened. I guess some times you have off days, or off climbs. I'm going to put it behind me and look forward to the next climb.
Route Profile: Mt. Erie's Zig Zag Route (5.7 or 5.8 II)
35 minutes ago