Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Static Point - Lost Charms - 10.12.10

I wanted to get a multi pitch trad climb in before the season really ended. Adam was game for something and we set about a plan. Adam wasn't interested in something too hard, so we came up with a plan to climb Lost Charms. Adam tried to suggest climbs I had not previously done, but I wasn't feeling so great and opted to do something I know and would enjoy.

Unfortunately I forgot how arduous the approach feels for Static Point. But in 90 minutes we were through the wet overgrowth and out of the convergent zone jungle where the sun started poking through the clouds and warming us up. We geared up leisurely before doing the scramble to the Lost Charms tree. Once there I debated about the real first pitch and even considered doing the Pillar first pitch. Last time I was here with Julie, we took more of a Spencer's Spaceport approach to reach the anchor, and this time I wanted to climb the real first pitch.

We looked at the topo, and I eventually set out in an upward direction to the right. I aimed for a seam shown on the topo and was able to plug a tiny nut in before stepping out onto the slab with the seam. It turns out the seam took some gear and I was off. I had to go through some run out sections and eventually reached the fixed piton listed on the topo. From there I ran it out right to the belay on ledgy ground. This was the same station Julie and I were at, but now I believe it to be the correct belay station and not Spencer's Spaceport. When Adam arrived at the belay he stated the first pitch scared him too much and he was not interested in leading. I found that OK, as this route was well within my abilities to lead every pitch, and hopefully not get too mentally frazzled.

I led out, this time on the correct second pitch. It went up the mossy corner and broke left for a large ledge that became a right facing corner. It was easy terrain, which was nice as it was not well protected for the traverse. The corner section was really fun and protected decently. Above that there were a few choices. I went straight up as I thought that looked like the right way. There were a few unprotectable moves on some shallow cracks/seams before reaching some easier knobby terrain just before a big ledge that marks the end of the pitch. I brought Adam up and we had lunch. The remaining pitches would be on familiar terrain.

I hadn't led two of the three pitches we were about to do, and I was quite excited about the prospect. After our lunch break, I headed out on the next pitch, which climbs a blocky corner to the right of the pillar and then heads through a more blank slab before gaining the Bridge Flake. I found the moves easy, and while the crux of the pitch did not protect well, the rest of the pitch did. I didn't have gear for a belay at the end of the flake, and had to go a few steps further to build an anchor for the belay in a less comfortable stance. Adam cruised the pitch on top rope and declined the offer to lead the fourth pitch so I was on my way after we sorted the anchor mess.

The fourth pitch I remembered to be fun, and it was. Gear was a little tricky and I sewed it up where I could, and ran it out when I had to. Mostly it was reasonably protected, and I ran it out on the ledge to the anchor location. I set up another gear anchor, and brought Adam up. He attempted to climb a variation different than mine, but got back on track once he realized the flake he was on petered out. We re-racked, and I was off on the crux pitch.

I hesitated a touch on the lower portion where there are some thin ledges to gain a ledge system that bring you just below the bolt. Once there I clipped the bolt, and eyed my foot placements. About four steps up the slab, and I was able to grab the flake. It seemed so much easier than the first time. I then lie backed around the corner and headed to the next belay. The terrain was not well protected and it was traversing left. I contemplated the easy out of heading to the 5.8 finish, but did not want to deal with the rap route that would lead us to. So I continued with rope drag to the dirty corner for the finish at the chains. When I brought Adam up, he commented about the pitch three section being potentially harder than the true crux, and then we contemplated finishing the route by doing the sixth pitch. Adam told me it was around 4pm and that was all I needed to start rappelling.

The rappelling was a bit awkward as they stations are usually longer than 30m apart, but not even 50 m apart so there is a lot of extra rope leading you to think you can skip a station. Once at the bottom, we snacked and packed up for the uneventful hike out.

This was a fun route to return to two years after my previous climb. I wanted to check out other routes in the area, and now I have a better idea. There is no way I'd be leading most pitches of Online any time soon as the run out is a little unsafe for my pleasure. But The Pillar looked tamable, and I tried to spy The Curious Cube as much as possible, but it was difficult to see protection opportunities. Compared to Darrington crags, Static Point is more run out, and in a fashion that does not make sense to the mind. For instance, the Green Crab Traverse has a .10b crux between the first and second bolt. A fall there leading to bad consequences. Of course, they had to place bolts where they had good stances, and the crux was not a good stance. Lost Charms protects well and I did not mind most bits of run out. I'll return to Static Point, but not too soon, as I do not imagine there are too many other routes I would do there.

My pics are here.

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