Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some Golden Showers (5.11a) With 10,000 Restless Virgins (5.10d)

(Photo: Nancy following 10,000 Restless Virgins (5.10d).)

We are well into high season in the Gunks. I need to get my ass in gear.

I haven't set my sights on any big climbing objectives for quite a while.

During my weekend with Adrian in early October, I saw that it was time to ramp things up a bit. We did many 5.10's in a row and to me they all felt good, solid... even casual. After I cruised up J'Accuse, Nevermore, and Welcome to the Gunks (all of them 5.10b), I realized that I was ready to pick some harder objectives.

So when I met up with a new partner, Nancy, last Sunday, I wanted to pick a 5.11 to attempt. I didn't have a particular target in mind but Nancy was thinking of maybe trying the Winter (5.10d), so I suggested I might try one of the nearby elevens at the Slime Wall or maybe even No Man's Land (5.11b), or the top pitch of Enduro Man (5.11c), at some point.

When we arrived it was quite chilly, and we were content to warm up on some easier classics and work our way down to the Seasons area.

(Photo: Nancy leading Son of Easy O (5.8).)

After we had a couple of climbs behind us I decided to go for the redpoint on Cheap Thrills (5.10c). I'd had to take a hang on this climb on my first attempt, mostly because I'd been so nervous clipping the crux pin that I couldn't calm down and get over the roof. When I'd gone back up on the second try it wasn't so bad.

When I tried it again with Nancy, I decided to do the climb as it is described in the guidebook, as a wholly independent pitch, and not to do it by starting on Alley Oop, as I think most people do and as it is described in the Trapps App. 

I began from the ground and found out that I'd skipped some great climbing on my first visit to Cheap Thrills! There are interesting, fun face moves in maybe the 5.9 range as you work up some shallow left-facing corners before the orange face leading to the roofs. There is gear, too, although it is somewhat spaced out and finicky. I recall one micronut placement at one of the corners and a pink Tricam in a shallow, pebbly horizontal that might also take a cam if you work to find the right spot for it.

Once I reached the orange face I felt totally in control, this time, as I moved up to the pin and clipped it. So far, so good. Reaching up to the good holds over the roof, I calmly backed up the piton with a cam and then just had to execute my beta to get over the roof. It went fine, and seemed like it was over in no time.

Cheap Thrills, done in its entirety, is now one of my favorite tens. It is a thoughtful, challenging pitch. I can see going back to it again and again.

Nancy and I walked on down to the Seasons area, but it was a zoo, as I suppose we should have expected on this peak-season Sunday. We kept on walking to Sleepy Hollow, where I hoped to try 10,000 Restless Virgins (5.10d). This is a very popular and highly regarded ten that I somehow have never gotten around to, until now. 

Things were much more peaceful down at the far end of the cliff, though there were some people here and there. I recognized a climber named Alex, who I've seen at the cliffs a few times. I don't really know him at all but he is the sort of climber I aspire to be in the near future. He tackles the 5.12's in the Gunks and works them, getting the moves dialed and leading them when he can, in headpoint style. He has a video of himself on a Lost City climb called Brave New World (5.12a?), in which he is so smooth, he makes the climb look like a 5.6. I tried Brave New World on TR with Andy in July and while we were able to do almost all of the moves, we were both stumped by the boulder problem off of the ground. If I ever figure out this move, I may try to work the route with an eye towards leading it.

(Photo: Andy on Brave New World (5.12).)

The other week, with Adrian, I tried another "introductory" twelve in the Nears called Eraserhead. This one can be easily set up on TR if you lead Roseland (5.9) or Shitface (5.10c) to the bolted anchor. On Eraserhead there was, again, just one move we struggled with, although this time the crux came pretty high on the pitch, just past a piton. If I could get this one move nailed down I could consider leading this one too.

(Photo: That's me at the crux of Eraserhead (5.12a) on TR.)

Alex was down in Sleepy Hollow with a friend working on two twelves, Future Shock Direct (5.12d) and Bone Hard (5.12b). Both routes looked clean, steep, and difficult. I chatted with Alex about Brave New World and Eraserhead. He had some beta for me on the Eraserhead crux that I'm excited to go back and try.

But I digress. There was no one on 10,000 Restless Virgins; it was wide open. Looking at it, I was psyched to do it. It is a beautiful, natural line up a left-facing flake system, capped by a large ceiling. 

It went very well. The opening flakes are juggy (probably 5.8?) and there is gear available at will. The wall is slightly overhanging, so it gets a bit pumpy as you head towards the roof.

When I got to the roof, I thought the main challenge was finding good rock in which to place pro. There are some loose flakes just below the ceiling, so be careful. I got what I thought was a bomber yellow Alien in a downward facing slot next to the big undercling block.

Once I was satisfied with the gear, it was perfectly obvious what to do. I got my feet up and made the reach to the horizontal above the roof. It was easy to get a good piece in this horizontal, and then one more big reach up to a jug essentially finished the crux.

(Photo: Nancy at the roof on 10,000 Restless Virgins (5.10d).)

I think this route is easy for 5.10d-- certainly it was easier for me than Cheap Thrills. Anyway I was really happy to get the on-sight and to feel so good doing it. It was nothing but fun.

With the day slipping away, I figured I needed to try something harder or it wouldn't happen. We walked over to the Slime Wall and I took a hard look at two short climbs that sit right next to each other, April Showers and Golden Showers (both 5.11a). Both climbs seemed to feature some desperate moves on blank, nearly vertical faces. As I examined the routes it seemed to me that I had a better shot at getting off the ground on the one on the right-- Golden Showers. So I decided to try it.

Nancy tried, gently, to talk me out of it. She'd had a strong partner who took repeated falls on micro nuts at the crux of Golden Showers, and who then gave up.

It sounded a bit hairy, but I was undeterred, for some dumb reason. How hard could it be? After all, I'd just waltzed up a climb that was supposedly only a single letter grade easier. The climbs had completely different styles, but still... the guidebook said it was PG and I was sure to figure out something, I reasoned. So I racked up and threw myself at Golden Showers.

The very first move was hard, and height-related. There is a wide horizontal at about chest level and then a blank gap to an obvious little left-facing corner above. Stepping onto the wall, I managed to stand up, just so, to reach the key hold. But I was already shaking, and I floundered with my feet. I nearly popped off but eventually I found a toehold of some kind and stepped up to a horizontal seam where, trembling, I got some gear.

Then it took another tough move to get up to the next horizontal, where I placed two tiny pieces. And another thin step up and left to a semi-rest, where again I could get some placements. I stuffed the thin crack with everything I could here-- two small nuts and a C3-- since I believed I was now facing the crux climbing. I thought the placements were good, but everything was quite small. As I looked up, I could see the next stretch was very blank, with one possible slot for a micronut a few moves above me.

Every sequence on the route so far had been challenging and I was feeling pretty rattled. I found it difficult to commit to stepping above the gear even though, on an intellectual level, I was pretty happy with what I had. The gear seemed so dinky, the possible footholds were so desperate, and I had to step up and balance myself with my fingertips against the edges of a tiny vertical seam. It was frightening, even though I knew that I was not in any real danger at all. 

I tried to move up, but with the gear at my knees I couldn't commit to going further. The move seemed too unlikely. I dropped down on my gear, which held just fine. I repeated this same dance several times, trying to build up some courage. But I never got any further. I didn't want to take a real whipper. I decided to give up. 

I could see that from my stance on Golden Showers I could easily traverse a bit left and take April Showers to the chains. And although April Showers is also 5.11a, the only 5.11 move is right off the ground. Thus when I moved left to join the route I had to do just one 5.10 move up a crack before I found easy climbing to the finish. 

There is some very good climbing on my accidental 5.10++ link up. Call it Golden April? It avoids the hardest bits of both climbs. And the gear is reasonable. Try not to blow it right off the deck!

Having now done half of each of the "Shower" climbs I want to go back and do both of them again. If I can unlock the move off the ground on April Showers then that route should be a snap. And maybe if I can get to my previous high point a bit more calmly on Golden Showers I can get through the next couple of moves and complete that one too. Even though it is "only" 5.11a I will be proud when I can lead Golden Showers. It is a head trip for sure. I found it humbling.

When I got back to the ground, after all that, Nancy suggested that No Man's Land would probably be easier for me than Golden Showers. And I think that's true. Though I've not done the climb, I expect the roofs on No Man's Land would be hard, but not mysterious. Golden Showers is more of a steep slab, a mental strength exercise. It is outside my comfort zone and has more to teach me, I think.

(Photo: Nancy on Art's Route (5.9).)

I hope to get back to the Gunks at least a few more times before our season is over. The big news for me is that Adrian and I are going to spend four days in Red Rocks next month. It's been five years since I was there and I am a completely different climber now. We have some big stuff planned and I can't wait to see what we can get done.

Friday, October 14, 2016

2016: The Year In 5.10, So Far

(Photo: That's me on Never Never Land (5.10a). Photo by Adrian.)

5.10 is the premier grade at the Gunks. Everyone knows this. I sometimes refer to the Gunks as "Our Little 5.10 Paradise."

Just take a look at the guidebook and you'll see why. There are so many star-quality tens.

As I've worked through the various 5.10 routes, I've come to realize that the quality of the 5.10 grade at the Gunks runs even deeper than you might guess from reading the guidebook. The supply is all but bottomless in the Gunks, going well beyond the obvious classics. Sometimes it seems that lurking around every corner is an unheralded 5.10 that turns out to be awesome.

Over the years I've done many of the obvious tens. And lots of non-obvious tens. But still there are gaps in my 5.10 resume. I'm always trying to do new routes, and I love climbing 5.10 in the Gunks. As 2016 has progressed, I've tried to fill in my 5.10 gaps.

(Photo: Alec confronting the huge Wishbone roof (5.10+).)

One way in which I've been filling in the gaps is by climbing at Lost City. By tradition there is no guidebook for this part of the ridge. Lost City is known for its hardman top-rope scene, but I have discovered over the past few years that the area isn't just a place to get thrashed on 5.12's. It is also a 5.10 leader's dreamland. Lost City's collection of well-protected, leadable 5.10's is world-class.

You want roofs? In Lost City you'll find the amazing overhangs of Wishbone (5.10+) and Stannard's Roof (5.10-). If you like face climbs, try Texas Flake (5.10+?), or the beautiful Resistance (5.10+), which might be my favorite single pitch of 5.10 in all of the Gunks. Lost City also has steep, technical climbs like Lost City Crack (5.10-) and Black Crack (5.10++), and still others I have done but which I can't put a name to, like the fun roof climb just to the right of Agent Orange, and the one that follows the rap line just to the right of Stannard's. And there are more great Lost City tens, I am certain, upon which I have yet to stumble.

(Photo: Andy following my lead of Resistance (5.10+).)

I have gotten the send on most of these Lost City tens, though not always on the first try. I achieved the on-sight on the Wishbone Roof last year, which I was very very happy about. Both Lost City Crack and the ten next to Agent Orange went fine the first time I tried to lead them this past spring, but they weren't technically on-sights since I'd followed them before. Others, like Stannard's Roof, I've had to redpoint after messing up at least once on the lead. I was proud to send Resistance in 2016, after previously failing. Black Crack-- a real toughie-- frustrated me twice this summer. I need to go back in cooler weather to get it, finally.

(Photo: That's me top-roping Texas Flake (5.10+) in January 2012. Photo by Adrian.)

I've also tried in 2016 to hit some new tens back in the more familiar terrain of the Trapps and the Nears. 

Though I've really improved a lot over the last few years, I am still not above failing on a Gunks 5.10. I am always hoping for the send but I am still more than capable of misreading a sequence, botching my footwork, running out of gas, or just getting scared. When I try Gunks tens, I win some and I lose some.

In May I was climbing with Andy and decided the time had come for me to try Stirrup Trouble (5.10b). The starting move off of a block and onto the face had always scared me off. You have to get on the wall, place gear blindly over your head, and then make a thin move up to a jug. If you fall here and the cam blows, the landing will not be pleasant.

But everyone says the route is a great classic. I had to give it a shot at some point.

I'm sorry to say it didn't go well. I stepped up onto the wall but I couldn't commit to the move. It was impossible to judge the quality of the gear up over my head. I had no idea whether it was good or bad. I kept stepping up and then stepping back down to the starting block. Eventually I decided I wasn't feeling it and I gave Andy the lead.

He confidently stepped up to the blind cam we'd placed, and then slotted a nut under pressure, looking a little bit shaky. I was impressed that he got the nut in, but I didn't have time to tell him so, as he promptly fell on it! The gear held. Then he stepped back up and the rest of the climb went fine.

(Photo: Andy past the spooky start of Stirrup Trouble (5.10b).)

As I followed Andy's lead of Stirrup Trouble I wished I'd been a little bit bolder. The moves were all reasonable. This one goes in the redpoint queue; I have to go back and try again to lead it. It is quite a climb. It's so in-your-face right off the deck, and then the great sequences just keep on coming all the way to the very end.

(Photo: That's me at the crux of P-38 (5.10b). Photo by Robbie.)

I consoled myself that day by getting the send on P-38 (5.10b), the route next door. I'd previously failed to get a clean lead of this climb on three separate occasions, always barn-dooring off at the last hard move before the climb gets easier. This time, I hesitated at the move once again, sure I was about to go flying for the fourth time. But eventually (helped by some verbal encouragement from my friends) I made it, planting my toe as precisely as I could and carefully stepping up to the jug.

Now I never have to do P-38 again!

But I probably will. It is a quality climb, with a good crux right off the ground and then awkward moves up the crack. It is a different sort of ten.

On Memorial Day weekend I was out with Alec and Liz, a climbing power couple who've now moved west to conquer desert towers. Despite the sweltering, humid weather, we attacked some harder climbs down at the end of the Trapps at the Slime Wall and Sleepy Hollow. After Liz started us off with Wegetables (5.10a), I took a go at Tennish Anyone? (5.10c). I'd done this on TR once before, but I couldn't remember anything about the climbing.

(Photo: I'm leading Tennish Anyone? (5.10c). Alec is belaying. Photo by Liz.)

It is an interesting pitch, and I get the feeling it doesn't get done on lead all that much. Most people do it on TR after leading Wegetables. Tennish is a safe lead. There is a committing move to get up to the crux overhang. At this move I placed a nut over my head. It seemed solid but it was tiny. The gear for the crux is great: small Aliens and nuts.

I didn't get Tennish cleanly. I'd like to blame the heat. At the crux you have to move to the right, at the lip of the roof, on some poor holds. The feet drop away beneath you. I managed to move to the right but then got flummoxed trying to step up and out. After falling, I worked it out. It is another one for the redpoint queue. It is a quality climb. The crux is good, and similar to my Lost City nemesis Black Crack.

As the summer of 2016 dragged on endlessly, I didn't get too many chances to climb in the Gunks. On one day in late August Gail and I were in the Trapps, looking for something in the shade, when we came upon Size Matters (5.10c). Seemed worth a try.

(Photo: Gail at the crux of Size Matters (5.10c).)

On this one I got the on-sight. There is a hard move right off the ground. You can't protect it, but the fall would be only a few feet. Once you successfully get on the wall, there is good gear for the crux above. The hard part is literally a single step to the left with smeary footholds and crimpy fingers, under a sloping roof/left-facing corner. I was happy to put a send in the bank, for once, but it was no big deal.

As October approached and summer showed no signs of fading I started to wonder what happened to my year. I had accomplished a few 5.11 ticks in the spring but since then I'd done precious little. I'd had some good days at Poke-O but I hadn't exactly torn the place up. In the Gunks my success rate had been decidedly mediocre.

But the weather was finally cooling off and I felt like the time was right for me to start hitting it again. I was pretty much injury-free. And I was feeling very fit, as I'd been religiously doing an Insanity program (much too boring to talk about) and I'd lost several pounds.

I had a Gunks Sunday in late September planned with Gail. I thought it might be productive to head down to the area in the Trapps around Never Never Land (5.10a). Gail had been urging me to lead Never Never Land for years. I had been on it twice, on TR, and hadn't particularly enjoyed it. I thought the crux move at the bolt was desperate and greasy. Also, I thought the route's techy, thin face climbing wasn't my strong suit. I recalled thinking "I hate this climb" as I worked my way up the face.

But it had been years since I'd tried the climb. Maybe I'd feel differently now? I used to be all about the roofs but in recent years I've become much more comfortable with thin face climbing. And, as I thought it over, I realized that there were a bunch of other 5.10 routes near Never Never Land that I'd never done. Why not check them all out?

When Gail and I got to the area, we found the Never Never Land wall besieged by a large group. So we shifted gears and moved a bit left to try Cheap Thrills (5.10c), which was new for both of us. I decided to start (as most people do) by doing the first couple of moves on Alley Oop (5.7) and then moving up and right to the orange face beneath the crux two-tiered overhang.

The guidebook describes Cheap Thrills as having a committing move before the upper overhang. 

I found out that this is an understatement. It is pretty scary.

(Photo: I'm at the first tier of the two-tiered overhang on Cheap Thrills (5.10c). Photo by Gail.)

The climbing up the orange face to the roofs is very nice. Then there is great gear at a horizontal below the first tier in the overhang. After placing two cams, I did a little exploring and figured out how I was going to move up to the next tier. And then it was on. I made the move and found myself fully extended, with two fingers in a pocket just beneath the upper tier and my toes at the level of my gear. There was an old piton off to the side but I couldn't clip it without making another delicate step to the left. 

Carefully I moved left, using crimps for the hands and smeary nothings for my toes. I admit I was shaking pretty badly as I clipped the pin. It wasn't easy, but I got it done-- I did NOT want to fall! Once I had the pin clipped, I was very relieved, but I had to work to calm myself and shake off the flop sweat. I was still clinging to little crimps, with crap for the feet, and I had to get over the big roof!

There were good holds above the overhang, thank god, but there were a few different ways one could approach the roof problem and I tried a couple of them before getting worn out, admitting defeat, and dropping down on the pin.

So much for the on-sight.

(Photo: Placing gear to back up the piton on Cheap Thrills (5.10c). (Click on the photo to enlarge.) You can see where the last gear is, beneath my feet. Photo by Gail.)

Once I rested a bit, I stepped up again to the pin. It was so much easier the second time. Then I backed up the pin with a cam and got over the roof without much trouble.

Cheap Thrills has good face climbing followed by a very good roof problem. It is tough for 5.10c! The idea that it is the same grade as Size Matters seems a little silly. Even though I didn't get the on-sight, I was gratified that I really went for it. I intend to go back and get it soon. It is now at the top of the redpoint queue.

And by the way, if you try Cheap Thrills and decide you can't commit to the move up to the pin, it looks like it would be pretty easy to escape left along the good horizontal to Alley Oop's finish.

(Photo: I'm heading up J'Accuse (5.10b) after slinging the tree. Photo by Adrian.)

It was two weeks before I got back to the Gunks, on Columbus Day weekend. I planned to climb with my old buddy Adrian. We were going to have two days in which to play, which is extremely rare for me. I suggested we go back to the Never Never Land area and that we do EVERYTHING. I was feeling good and wanted to go for it.

After we warmed up a bit on Saturday, I went at our first target, J'Accuse (5.10b). This is Never Never Land's less-popular sister climb. It looks unsafe from the ground, since it begins with a blank face, with no apparent gear, below a high bolt. But I knew that people often protect the opening moves by girth-hitching a sling around the small-but-sturdy tree right next to the wall. I found it easy to shimmy up the tree and attach a sling just above the tiny branch.

With this unusual gear in place, I started climbing. The moves were fun and well-protected. And it went well. I got up to the bolt, clipped it, then made a couple of thin moves to where the climb eases off. It's all great climbing and once you get gear above the bolt there is good (if spaced) protection to be had for the rest of the way. I really enjoyed the climbing style and was proud to get the on-sight. This route isn't easy.

(Photo: Adrian at the bolt on J'Accuse (5.10b), leading it through my pre-placed gear.)

After we were done with J'Accuse, I figured Adrian would lead Never Never Land. But since he'd already led it a couple of times before, he offered it to me.

It was time.

And it too went off just fine. I think this climb is a tiny bit dicey right off the deck, since there is a hard move past the first horizontal, and the slot for gear is shallow and flaring. I got an Alien that I thought was probably okay. But I'd use caution in the early going. After the first hard moves, there is good gear and a bolt, plus two or three pitons, along the way. I felt that overall the protection was good.

(Photo: That's me on Never Never Land (5.10a). Photo by Adrian.)

And I enjoyed the climbing too. I was struck by how similar Never Never Land is to its neighbor J'Accuse. This shouldn't be surprising, since they are only a few feet apart from each other. But I can't understand why one of them is so much more popular than the other. To me, J'Accuse is the better climb. Both routes have cruxes that are similar in difficulty and style but the one on J'Accuse is more pleasant: it isn't so slippery and polished. 

I came off of Never Never Land on a high, and I wanted to keep it going. I decided we should do Nevermore (5.10b), a climb which starts up the first fifteen feet of Triangle (5.9-), but then ventures to the right on a blank face and then up through a bulge. The initial climbing on the face is 5.8 R, but the 5.10b crux above is well-protected.

Adrian is not a fan of unprotected 5.8. His position is entirely reasonable. I respect it. But for some reason I seem to thrive on runout 5.8 climbing, so I was happy to give Nevermore a try.

(Photo: I'm just past the runout 5.8 part of Nevermore (5.10b). Photo by Adrian.)

Again it went well. The initial runout when you leave the Triangle blocks is unavoidable. There is no gear on the face. You can place a piece at the Triangle blocks but if you fall from the first moves on the face you will slam sideways into the blocks. But you can test the holds before you commit to stepping out there and once you go for it the moves are reasonable. It isn't too long before you can get some gear.

There is also a good slot for pro right before the crimpy crux, which goes up and left through a bulge. It is good climbing but relatively brief, after which you wander to the right past some scary detached blocks before moving up to the Never Never Land anchor.

I was psyched to put away another on-sight ten, but in the final analysis I didn't think the climb was that great. The good climbing was over quickly. I might go back again to try the variation in the Trapps App called Never Better, which moves left after the crux instead of right and adds some additional difficult face moves into the mix.

As we finished Nevermore, we decided to head off to the Mac Wall for some climbs that Adrian wanted to do. And, honestly, I had every intention of doing whatever Adrian wanted to do for the rest of the day. I was pretty happy with the day so far. But then as we walked down the carriage road I could see that Welcome to the Gunks (5.10b) was just sitting there, open.

I felt ready. I had to do it. Adrian was fine with it.

(Photo: I'm between the first and second roofs on Welcome to the Gunks (5.10b). Photo by Adrian.)

This was another 5.10 I'd always been afraid to try. The climb features several roofs, but the mentally challenging parts come in between them, on poorly-protected slabs. I'd done the route on TR all the way back in 2010, and about all I remember is that on that occasion I fell a lot. The climb seemed hard and scary. I posted at the time on mountain project that my hat was off to anyone who would lead this thing. 

But now? I wasn't worried. I took the rack from Adrian and dove in.

I thought the initial slab was kind of heads-up, with non-trivial moves and no gear. Then the first roof was well-protected and really fun. At slab number two (the 5.9 R section) I thought the big move to a jug was reasonably safe. The next move after that, to some slopers, is where you want to be careful, for the sake of your ankles. But it didn't seem like a big deal to me, and before I knew it I'd placed gear and surmounted roof number two. I was still waiting for the route to seem hard, but it only got easier after that. The final two overhangs were nothing but fun. And I loved the ease of lowering off of the new bolted anchor.

(Photo: Adrian at the first roof on Welcome to the Gunks (5.10b), with a couple of raindrops on the lens.)

I'm not going to lie: I felt amazing after leading Welcome to the Gunks. It was my fourth 5.10 send of the day, and all four of them were on-sights, or climbs I did on top-rope so long ago that they might as well be on-sights. It was one of my best days on the rock. Gotta love the high season! 

On Sunday morning we awoke to misty rain. It quickly stopped and Adrian and I headed to the Nears. We took it easy for a good part of the day, but eventually I wanted to try something new and interesting.

We selected Disney Point (5.10d). This variation on Disneyland (5.6-) goes left when Disneyland goes right, and heads out a diagonal rail under a huge roof. When you reach the "point" at the end of the rail, you have to figure out how to get up onto the face above.

(Photo: I'm up atop the cliff, waving, as Adrian climbs Disney Point (5.10d). He is about to embark on the crux flake, out to the point.)

As I led up Disneyland and turned left to approach the roof, the route appeared more and more intimidating. But when I got there, it didn't seem too bad. I was able to place gear halfway out the traverse before committing to the moves. 

Once I decided to go for it, things got pumpy in a hurry. As I heel-hooked out to the point, I had to hang in there to place a piece. And once I was satisfied with the pro, I had to diagnose the exit. Unfortunately I went the wrong way at first. I was able to hang in, shake out, and try again, but by the time I found the slopery exit holds I ran out of steam and fell off.

(Photo: Adrian headed into the crux section on Disney Point (5.10d).)

It was my first fall of the weekend. I wasn't too upset, though I'd almost had the send in the bag. After falling, I started the whole sequence over again from the beginning and I got through it without a problem. So I sort of got the redpoint right then and there, although I didn't hang out to place gear on the second try. I still have to go back and do it cleanly in one go from start to finish.

I loved Disney Point. It is short, but it is also as exciting as climbing gets. The route is a hidden gem, buried in the guidebook as a one-star variation.

(Photo: That's me, feeling dog-tired at the end of our weekend but knocking out one of my favorite tens, Birdcage (5.10b). Photo by Adrian.)

With autumn finally upon us, I am really excited about what's to come. I feel good and I'm climbing better than I have all year. I haven't really picked a "project" for myself but I'm sure something will soon present itself. 

Until then, there are still plenty of tens, both new and old, with which I can pass the time!