With a few of the students off from school, I decided to make an extended weekend and get some climbing in. Five of us would leave Seattle on Saturday and climb throughout the weekend. Steen would leave, and we would be joined by Sam, Andrew and Tony on Monday. Andrew and Tony would only stay the day, and Sam and Adam left on Tuesday after climbing which left only Sal, Kaeli and myself to climb on Wednesday.
Saturday I was billing as the fun day, and then there would be instruction from Sunday through Tuesday with another fun day on Wednesday. When driving out, Kaeli and Sal suggested they would like to follow trad lines on Saturday to get some practice at looking at gear etc. So after we set up camp at Bridge Creek, we decided on Domestic Dome as our first stop of the day.
I led up B.S. which I still feel is stiffer than its 5.6 rating. (Perhaps why it is called B.S.?) I then watched as everyone other than Sal had difficulty making the crux clean. Once at the top of B.S., I led Kaeli and Steen up Underachiever and Adam led Sal up Connie's Crack. Underachiever was a pretty fun route with some cracks and flakes leading to a 5.8 slab finish. Unfortunately someone stole the second bolt off the slab and I used easier ground to avoid the run out. Once at the top we attempted to hike up to the Rare Earth area. This proved harder than it should and I cursed the maps in the guidebook for making it look easy. After two hours or so of wandering around, we decided to head back to Domestic Dome and do the opposite routes that we had done earlier. To our dismay, a single rope rappel did not make it from the Underachiever anchors to the base. Adam and I were successful at changing it to a double rope from halfway down although our stance was not great and we had no anchor. Once we were back at the base, Adam and Sal top-roped Underachiever while I led Kaeli and Steen up Connie's Crack.
Day 2: Instruction at Mountie's Dome
Sunday started a bit darker and cooler than the previous day as we headed to Mountie's Dome to practice gear placement and mock lead. Kaeli and Sal did great and near the end of the day started their real leads. Steen got some practice in as well, while Adam and I got our practice of climbing in boots and trail runners. We also had a two manned pink tricam removal session. We had light showers throughout the day, but the sun came out for when the real leading started.
Day 3: Instruction at Roto Wall
Sam met us at the campground and then we had a short drive to Roto Wall to start climbing. Sal and Kaeli finished their leads and went on to climb the 5.6 on the slab. Sam worked on gear before eventually getting in his mock and true leads. Andrew and Tony arrived a bit late and did ground work before eventually getting in a few mock leads of their own. Once everyone was finished, we headed to Alphabet Rock to top rope Dogleg Crack and Hind Quarters. Since Adam and I had climbed Dogleg the previous week, we only climbed Hind Quarters. I was bummed that I slipped early on the route but successfully climbed the crux.
Day 4: Climb!
Our intention for the day was to climb R&D and then head to Ground Hog's Day to complete that. However, with five people, it makes for slower and more difficult climbing. We got a fairly late start for R&D, and were doing the Cocaine Connection variation. For a Tuesday, there was a surprising amount of people looking to do the route. One party stopped by while Adam and Sam were on route and decided they did not want to pass us. Kaeli, Sal and I had a party on our tail from below the chimney, and when we got back to the base, there were two parties on route and another team heading to the start. Lots of traffic for a Tuesday in March.
Sam and Adam swung leads on the climb while I played monkey in the middle and Sal and Kaeli swung leads around me. I did lead the second pitch of Cocaine Connection, but it was mostly a traverse as the rope drag of two 10mm ropes became too much for me. Due to my short pitch and other difficulties, we ended up doing the climb in six pitches. This was good, as it gave both Kaeli and Sal more opportunity to swing leads, and place gear. Everyone did great, but it was late in the day when we topped out. Adam stated he was going home with Sam, and Sal, Kaeli and I headed to the campground.
Day 5: Castle Rock
If Adam had stayed, the idea was to be the two of us swinging leads with the students on Midway and Sabre. Since it just three of us, I was monkey in the middle again as we climbed Sabre instead of Midway since it seemed a bit cold when we arrived. I had my shoe tear through on a crack jam near the bottom of the first pitch, which led me not to trust it too much for the rest of the climb. I also got a curved nut off the route too. The climb took a long time, and we called it quits after our "summit".
Overall it was a fun time. I did not get too much leading in, but that is what happens when you volunteer sometimes. I also didn't take too many pictures as I was concentrating on the instruction etc. The climbing was fun, but I was getting a little tired by the last few days. Hard to keep up inspiration during that time period when climbing routes I have already climbed. One way I found was to climb in approach shoes or boots for a different challenge.
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