Sunday, April 26, 2009

A New Face

Jan, Kelly and myself got out climbing yesterday.  We were going to go to the Newbie Squeeze area but we got chatting about the amount of rock we had not checked out in the area yet.  I knew that there were 2 smaller faces that should have been fairly easy to get to.  We found the first after a bit of bush whacking.  It was kinda small, about 20 to 30 feet.  We kept going to the second face.  Eureka...a wall that was about 80 feet high and roughly 100 wide.  There were not many cracks to hold gear but plenty of features on the face.  We found an easy approach to the top by following a ramp and then about 40 feet of technical climbing (5.5ish).  Jan and I figured it would be easiest to climb that ramp to access the top, put in a couple of anchors and then check out the face.  I decided to leave my hiking boots on because the first half was bush and trees.  I got above that area and was starting the technical stuff.  I noticed a large block, about the size of a small microwave oven, perched on several small stones, looking like it was about to slide.  I happened to be just below this widow maker.  After recollecting myself, I climbed below and around it.  This was kinda interesting considering the boots.

I gained the top, all happy about getting a FA (of sorts), not knocking off the block etc, when I noticed the bolts.  That right...the bolts!  There were 2 Fixe Hangers on 3/8 bolts on 
the top of the face.  They looked pretty new,  not far away was some old webbing, maybe two to three seasons old.  I ha
ve no idea who may have placed them or anything.  Everything about the face looked to be untouched, lichen and all.  We set up a couple of rappel lines and began cleaning the face.  Jan knocked off the widow maker block with some pretty cool destruction below.  It was inspiring so I began knocking off some blocks of my own.  100 lb boulders can do some pretty wicked damage fro
m 80 feet.  I began cleaning a different line.  At the bottom, I got to a block that was about 8 feet high, 2 to 3 feet thick and standing on end.  I managed to pull it off.  It only fell about 10 feet.  It sunk about 3 feet into the ground because it landed end on.  The smell of flint 
or gunpowder was pretty impressive as well.

Next time we go out, we will be looking to put bolts on both those routes.  The one we climbed will probably be about a 5.6.  I am not really sure because the widow maker made it feel harder than what it was.  The second line, the one I was cleaning, could be anywhere from a 5.7 to 5.10a.  It has a lot of rail-like features with a couple of blank spots.  I am hoping for a nice 80 foot 5.7 sport line.  I guess we will see!

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