Thursday, January 19, 2012


4 pieces of pro, plus the tree. I jammed the crack and walked my feet up on the left face, so I didn't face the Pinnacle crumbly hold issues.
Leading RatRace, 5.7, TouristTrap

 Apparently some key hold has broken off on the moves out from under the roof. It did feel hard for a 5.7, but this was my first climb at Pinnacles, so hard for me to say. I put a #5 Camalot under the roof, but a #4 would have done as well, further in and up.
Zeth coming up to the RatRaceRoof

This is the route on which I became a PinnHead: rap rap rap with the knuckles on the obvious incut chunky hold, try and budge the tempting clasts (the encrustations that the matrix holds together), then do open palm or rounded fingers on as much of the surrounding matrix as possible anyway; pull up gently, then tap, tap, tap with the toe to test the foothold, place the ball of your foot on it, not the edge, or skip it and just friction on the matrix. If you do use a foot hold, do a very taichi like slow weight shift onto it, and just try and put less total downward force on the rock than your total body weight. I will not disdain a bolted 5.8.
    I will not disdain a bolted 5.8.
ThrillHammer 5.8, TouristTrap. Heady, sporty for a 5.8

5.5 next to ThrillHammer

We couldn't find the base of the route we'd wanted to do: everything seemed to fit the bill - grassy slope, low 5th class through bushes, stacked boulders for first belay under a left leaning ramp. Even saw a piece of fixed pro, which, for next time, means only that some fool has been off-route before you. At least Zeth had the antas to push through on crumbly, shaky rock, then traverse above a large loose pillar without stepping on it!

The second pitch started off with 10 m of low 5th class bush whacking, to the base of a wide chimney. About 5 feet of unprotected stem moves led to a good and solid hand hold 10' off the base which allowed me to bring my feet to the same wall and then throw a jam into the overhanging, around a corner, flaring crack which provided the only escape. I was able to place some pro there, and then lieback, jam and thrash my way up to ... run out previously untrammeled low 5th class on moss-held-together rock on the ridge. Luckily a fall would have led to only getting wedged into the chimneys on either side.
View from the belay.

Note to self: Do not use ascenders on low angle rock.
MSF and ZK at the sunny beautiful breezy scenic broad ledge

We went exploring, and Zeth found this chimney: you could walk/squeeze along the bottom for about 40 feet, gaining about 10-15 feet in elevation till the very back. There was only one point where we had to squeeze through sideways, which doesn't help if you are cylindrically symmetric! From there a pair of ledges, one on either wall, formed from the same geological weakness led up and out at about 30 degrees. Being inside the mountain, on this long, high and narrow ledge, reminded me of scenes from H. Rider Haggard's novel "She". We walked out till one ledge nearly disappeared and we would have needed protection to go out any further.
ZK and MSF in the HRiderHaggard chimney

Xeth - I love the astract shapes formed by figure against ground! I should try it in high-contrast.

Can you tell whether I am looking in- or outwards?
We then hiked SW to the saddle and descended to the High Peaks trail on the west side. Just off it, there was this tempting little summit

Scrambling up.

Not a very good Vrakshasana, but I am wearing sandals and two ropes (which look like fly-wings), and have steep high drop offs to either side and behind.

Scrambling down.

This is for my Catalan friends, and those who are friends of the mountains near Barcelona - cruddy conglomerate with occasional bolts without hangers for protection.
Mont Serrat

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