Sunday, June 19, 2011

Index - 06.16.11

Adam and I had planned early in the week to head out to Index on Thursday. Initial weather reports were favorable for climbing, but not ideal. The forecast when we left Seattle in the morning was perhaps even less ideal, but still favored climbing with a predicted partly cloudy/partly sunny day.

Pulling into the parking lot there were low clouds and not much sign of the sun. We walked the thirty seconds to the lower town wall to see much of it wet, including potential starts to routes we were intending to do. I walked around for other objectives while Adam took a party separation. Godzilla was dripping and Princely Ambitions was plenty wet. I met Adam back at the base of Aries crack where I told him we might as well climb since we were already there. We geared up at the base of Aries crack hoping to continue onto Taurus after we gained the first ledge. Or at least we would see if things looked dry enough to continue.

I led off, finding the rock not thoroughly wet, but damp enough to cause a loss of friction. Upon reaching the crux I could not get enough traction on my left foot smear to make a move and slipped a few times. After repeated attempts with my arms tiring I gave up on finding enough friction to move upward. I lowered and we committed to setting up a top rope on the pitch by climbing the gully to the right.

I took the first shot on top rope and was now stymied by my inability to get a good fist jam higher up. After a few attempts I let Adam have a go at it. I told him his smaller hands might be the ticket as the crack was a bit too small for me to get a fist in, and it might be just right for him. Adam climbed on top rope and was surprised I made it as far as I did on lead. Then he worked the crux for a while before finally pulling the moves to gain the ledge. I came up and once again had to work on trying to make a jam work before I finally found the only thing that would work for me. A solid forearm jam/cam with my right arm gave me the needed hold to move up and complete the moves to the ledge. And some people think it is a good thing to be a tall, big handed climber?

Heading into the Aries crux

Once on the ledge I told Adam I'd like to have a go at the rest of Taurus. After getting a short distance up on the following crack, my foot slipped. I repositioned and tried again. I was able to make the next move, but the following moves had less positive options for feet and the crack looked a bit thinner and harder to protect, so I came down pulling my pieces and waiting for dryer conditions.

I told Adam I'd head up Great Northern Slab to reach the rap station. The climbing on GNS was fun and when Adam reached me I told him I'd like to lead the next pitch as well. After some slightly damp moves pulling around the roof, I was on the ledge at the base of the next crack. Somehow I did not see the easy way up and attempted to go up and gain the crack after a few moves by coming in from the left. This involved an awkward move where I was mantling from a horizontal crack while side pulling with my right hand. I couldn't manage the move and told Adam that "I am probably going to fall here." After a few tries I realized I could down climb a few moves and take the proper beginning to the crack and continue easily. That little episode left me a bit frazzled, and that remained with me the rest of the pitch. Although I did feel I climbed it fairly well. I brought Adam up and we rapped.

Adam on GNS

In typical fashion, I try to go to Index when it is a little too wet for Index. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there and climb when it is dry and then I will not feel too sketched by wet rocks and slippery feet.

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