Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Caballo Lake: Grey Wall

After a nearly 5 month hiatus from climbing, I was finally able to tear myself away from our new baby, Levin, and hit the crags. A group of Las Crucan's were heading up to Caballo lake and I tagged along.

Despite not climbing for a while, I felt pretty comfortable getting back onto the rock. Comfortable is an understatement, I felt like I was coming home. My shoes hurt a little more than usual, my heart raced a little faster, but being on the rock again was like meeting an old friend. Bob Almond and I teamed up to climb the buttress of the Grey Wall (the only bolted climb to the right of the two routes we did previously on this wall). I led the first pitch, a bolted 5.9 (or so). Beyond the first pitch anchors, we saw another bolt about 20 ft up the corner, and it tempted us to try the second pitch. Fortunately we had the presence of mind to bring a long a rack and bolt kit, because that one bolt was the last. Bob led the second pitch in style, finding adequate protection and good climbing all the way up. We made a belay at a ledge 40 ft from the top and I carried up our heavy bolting gear. We debated placing an anchor right where we were, but Bob decided to push on to the top. He placed one bolt on lead (from a ledge-stance) and topped out by a Cholla.

We bolted a rappel anchor at the top, but unfortunately, a single (60 m) rope rappel did not reach the anchors at the top of the first pitch, so we ended up stopping at Bob's lone bolt, and rappelling off of it. By the time we were back on the ground, it was evening and the rest of the climbers were ready to go. Bolting by hand takes up a lot of time. We'll need to return some time and put in a proper rappel anchor at the cliff's mid-point.

Before taking off for the day, Scott Jones and I did a lap up the first pitch again (picture below).

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