The weather over the last couple weeks has been pretty rainy and damp. I won’t complain too much since April was almost without any precipitation; the water tables sure can use the precip. My backyard is sprouting up with all the grass seed I tossed down weeks ago. Turns out grass seed won’t sprout an inch without copious amounts of water. The last two weeks has provided that.
So Jesse mentioned he and Adrien were headed north to Rumney for the weekend and said I could tag along. My last trip to Rumney was pretty lack luster, both in my enthusiasm for the place and my climbing performance. I don’t think I even lead anything. This time however I was determined to lead and fall. I haven’t fallen on lead before, well once in the gym, and I think it is holding my climbing back. Adrien had a less than stellar catch a few weeks ago and was also spooked about taking the plunge. The plan was to fix this. …
After work on Friday I headed up, a bit later than I would have hoped but I had other stuff going on. I pulled into D’Acres around 11:30pm and setting my tent up and was in my sleeping bag by midnight. Saturday was a great day and the first which had some sun for many days. Cooking up my breakfast on the stove, listening to the birds, smelling the damp grass, and feeling the warmth of the sun were great.
We headed to the cliff around 9:30am or so and got a good parking spot. Jesse has been working on a route called Neptune (5.13a) which he’s been able to do all the moves but just can’t quite seem to put it all together on lead. We headed over there after a quick warm up on a Metamorphosis (5.8+) and Armed and Dangerous (5.10b). He put in a three good attempts but wasn’t able to come up with the send. The setting was pretty nice. The slightly overhanging wall was bordered by a small waterfall raining down to the right creating a green alcove.
After burning his finger up on Neptune we headed back to the Meadows/Parking Lot walls for a 5.10d called Idiot’s Deluxe. The route is long, probably 80ft or so. The first half is 5.9 or so and is a little less than vertical. After a rest on a ledge the headwall steepens and is sustained for the rest of the route. Adrien took the sharp end and lead up to the second to last bolt. She’s done the climb before so she knows exactly what to expect. From the penultimate bolt she climbed up a foot or two and fell. Jesse actively jumps up and catches her softly. There’s no danger of hitting a ledge so the jump helps in softening the belay. Adrien repeated this a half dozen times each time going up a little higher. As she clips the chains she makes a comment that she should have let go from there–the chains are about 8 feet above the last bolt.
She lowers off and I tie in and say I’d like to climb it to get the on-sight but also practice falling. So I head up and get to the chains. from here I do a “yup I could clip the chains if I wanted” move and yell down to Adrien that I’m going to let go. A quick mental 1-2-3-go and I’m off. Surprisingly it didn’t take more convincing of myself to let go. I think it was easy partially because I was confident in my belayer and I wasn’t really looking down to see how far I was going to fall. I was more focused on keeping the rope between my legs and in front of me. So I fell, a pretty long way. Far enough that I was down breathing out and I didn’t have any more breath to go out so I had to just clench my stomach. Then there it was, the rope pulling me up! Whew! With rope stretch and the dynamic belay I ended up about 25 feet lower than I started. Pretty exciting. So I climbed up and did it again.
We then worked on a route called Flesh for Lulu (5.12a/b) which is a great route. I wasn’t able to get the route clean but I did finish the moves. Great climb. I think I would try it a bit more on TR and then give it a go on lead. Very powerful crux on thin holds moves through some hard climbing to a pumpy finish.
We headed to an area that had a route Adrien had been working on called Sally’s Alley (5.11b). The two of us worked ourselves through the crux and both thought it could go the next day. Jesse worked on an awkward but impressive looking 5.13b called Roaring Silence.
Sunday we headed straight back to Sally’s Alley and gave it a try. Adrien did great but fell at the crux. Which was good in a way since she had been spooked about falling before the weekend. I gave it a try and also fell at the crux, not as far as my practice fall only about 5 feet. I got it another try and sent! It fell pretty good and the crux was definitely at my limit on lead. I didn’t hang the draws myself so I’ve still got a proper send to do on it.
Time went by pretty quickly somehow on Sunday and we headed to Bonsai Wall after Sally’s Alley. I lead Peer Pressure (5.10d) a route I did with Boris on my first Rumney trip. I was pretty psyched to get it clean. It is an awesome route with great moves. Jesse worked on Social Outcast (5.12a) right next to it. That route is super awesome looking. Very overhanging but almost all big jugs, and big moves between them. It is tough to TR because of the overhang so I think I’ll give it a try on lead next time I’m up there. The fall is super clean into nothing.
A great trip up north and got some good climbing in. Looking forward to this weekend which is supposed to be awesome weather. I don’t have definitive plans, but hopefully I can get out!