Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pena Blanca Rescue Mission Double Header

Liz is great. Even though there are several half-finished projects around the house that need my attention, she still is perfectly ok with me taking the morning off to go climbing with Bob. Since we only had half a day, we went to Pena Blanca for a quick burn. We warmed up on the Romantic Spy boulder and then walked over to the Garden Spire to jump on the pair of sport routes on the back-side. I led up the 5.10 route Hole in the Wall and got a pretty good pump doing so. The line of bolts is to the left of a crack system, and at the second bolt I was looking at ways to not use the crack system. However, the crack won out, and I grunted my way up the awkward moves using this crack to the good rest stance 15 ft below the anchor. I was pretty flamed from the start, and took a good rest before dispatching the final face-moves to the top.

Bob led the route and made it look easy.

We then set a top-rope on a line just left of the Hole in the Wall route. This line starts off with crumbly holds for 25 ft to gain a finger-crack. The start spit us off a number of times, first from holds breaking off, and then from lack of holds. Eventually, we found a sequence that worked, which climbed a little to the right (almost to the start of Hole in the Wall). Once you reach a good hueco 5 ft below the crack, good holds get you to a decent finger jam, and then its smooth sailing up to the rest-ledge. The final headwall is steep and has tiny holds. We both looked at it and felt around for ways to penetrate it, but ended up using the left-leaning crack to the right.

It was almost noon, but since we were right there, we set a top-rope on the 5.12 route "Fortune Cookie". I couldn't get to the first bolt. I just kept falling off. There were holds, but I always lost my balance. Bob styled it but fell trying to get past the 5th bolt.

Tired enough, we called it a day. Only two hours later was when the call came for a rescue mission at Dripping Springs. The house projects were simply not destined to be. The rescue mission was a pretty serious one, a hiker was scrambling on some slabs near dripping springs and fallen, breaking several bones. It turned out to be a medium angle rescue, with a 300 ft rappel to get the subject off of the slab. The trickest part was finding an anchor, as there were no good anchoring features anywhere near the subject. For those who have access to it, I posted a fuller description at the Hobsonian. It's invite only, but if you really are interested in the details, post something here and I'll send you the full story.

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