After months of waiting Paul finally lead Dol Guldur (5.11). He has been scouting and climbing this route quite a bit. He made many of his after work sessions on the route, often top roping over ten pitches on the route in a single session. Paul had been waiting for me to take some shots of his lead so it waited a little longer than anticipated.
The day started off clear and crisp, perfect fall weather. Once getting to the parking area we were disappointed that the gate to go to the top is closed after Oct. 31. That means we had to hoof it up to the crag. It didn’t take long for us to warm up since we took the steep, short route to the top. The hike up for me was a little more difficult than normal because I had my static line, which is heavier than my dynamic and I had some home made stilts I was planning to try out. The stilts were to push me away from the rock to get a better angle for photos.
It turns out there is some truth to the rumors that the amphitheater stays warm during cold weather. There was very little wind and with the sun it was very comfortable at the base. We set our ropes and Paul warmed up and did some pro placement tests. After a couple trips up Paul was ready and I jugged up to a good vantage point just to the right of the route. Unfortunately my stilts did not perform at all because of lack of strength. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board for those. This pictures did come out well though. Paul did another run up after the initial lead so that I could get some additional angles.
Lauren and I did get to climb a bit. She worked Dol Guldur a bit while I did Squirrel Cage (5.9). I was able to finish the route after some trouble. I wasn’t able to climb it like a true crack though. My crack skills are nearly non-existent.