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TR: 50th Anniversary Party on The Mace!

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In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first ascent of the Mace, by TM Herbert, D Rearick and R Kamps, a few folks from Flagstaff decided to have a celebration on the summit. We knew it was on a Sunday, cuz Yvon went to church instead of bagging the FA of the first Arizona tower. So we settled on April Fools day, even though it is a safe guess it was probably Easter Sunday.


Josh Cross offered to re-walk his 90-foot unrepeated highline between the Mace and the Middle Mesa, but he needed to fix lines on both sides to set it up. Tom Grundy and I volunteered to climb "The Pirate", a 3-pitch .10d, that "doesn't see much traffic". Once complete, we were to fix static lines for the slackline crew to jug to set up the line. Josh and his friend, Jen did the easier Mace, but he highly recommended The Pirate.

Given that the only other climb was "Welcome to Sedona" an .11d offwidth, we had not much choice.


This would be my first desert tower. Ever.


ARRRRRRR!!!! skull




Getting the gear together:




The view of the gap from the base:



Tom assessing the equipage:




The route looked not too difficult, but gear was spicy, and a constant rain of dust and pebbles told me it was not a clean route. Tom midway up the first pitch:




Following, I found purchase on the sandy walls difficult, but fortunately there were features to use on the faces. The whole climb is flaring, with rattly pods of cupped hands, thin hands, and usually (due to the flare) in a place where your body is wedged in further than you would like. I broke a hold following, and was pumped head to toe when I got to the belay. With cramped hands, I told Tom: "Nice lead - I hope tat was the crux pitch!"

He said not much in response to my hope, grabbed the rack and set out on the next lead, struggling slowly through the thin chimney...uh-oh...







I followed, cursing and sweating in the chimney as my feet scrabbled madly on the loose wall. When I saw the quickdraw above me, I grabbed it without regard to ethics, thank you very much. The climbing proved to be exhausting on this very long pitch, always throwing you out of the flare, fighting to stay in. The thing is dead vertical too, sapping energy with few rests.

I arrived DOA at the belay, and was glad the last pitch was short. It didn't look much better as I watched with a slow dispair:




As I took a picture of the surroundings, I saw the evil beast (on the right) taunting my every effort skull :


Finally, we reached the summit, after a final kitty litter pitch (the rock deteriorates severely above the red band of rock):



We fixed the static lines, and made the easy double rappel to the base.







No activity for us, but the slackline crew was to set the line for Sunday. Much-needed rest day. :cry:



At the crack of noon, we started up the trail. Tim had brought a barbeque, elk steaks, hot dogs, tofu pups and all the trimmings. As well he had the makings for margaritas, including salt, the proper glasses, and lots of ice. Doug had sushi makings for 10 in his huge haulbag (it weighed at least 80 pounds). Mind you, he had his knives, cutting boards, and everything to do it fresh on the top! :chebit:. Rodney brought a bucket of chicken, and we were all hauling too much beer. :brew:


We had all decided to forgo climbing, and just jug the fixed lines on the Mace. After all, we were there to party, dammit, not to climb! :P


After the 25 minute approach, we saw the first glimpse of the highline, with Clay working on it:




Tim making the notch with his load:


Doug following, with his pig:



Rodman decided that a suit was in order for this event:





Doug hauling the first pitch:



...and jugging the second:




The first folks to the summit:



Views across the highline of Clay adjusting the system:






Josh discussing rigging with Clay:




Doug hauling the pig on the second pitch :mistat: :









Working the tensioning system, and getting it tight:










Note closely the area where the 11mm static is running over the rock:




...because 2 minutes after I took that picture, the system exploded with Josh, myself and Clay within a foot of the rigging. We all jumped back, and Josh groaned and fell to the rock.


He had taken a shot to the calf, leaving a nasty welt and muscle contusion. He was in a lot of pain, and we were all concerned and really freaked out.


The damage to the line:




Fortunately, the margaritas were arriving, which helped to calm our jangled nerves. Josh doesn't drink much, but I gave him first aid stuff to deal with his burn.




We find the source of the failure: a well worn 11 mm static!





...and the resulting damage (the gri-gri was ruined):




Josh, in the background, in a lot of pain:




Still waiting for the margaritas, we discussed re-setting the line. Clay goes out to retreive the damaged system, as more folks arrive:




Finally, the 'ritas are ready! :moondance:





After a while, Josh says he is OK :tup:, and we go back to resetting the line:










Everyone gets some food from the grill, and Doug goes to work on the sushi:





Once the line is set, Issac decides to try the daunting walk. He tests the line, and tries to get used to the mind-numbing position:









Amid, cheers, he gets a little ways out on the line before falling:






SUSHI'S ON!!!!!!!! :chebit:




Clay gives it a try next, and gets just over half of the way across before rattling off:







Tom ( who I climbed The Pirate with) gives a final run at it, getting a bit short of where Isaac got:






I then did the 90-foot tyrolean traverse across the line to set a summit register for Middle Mesa, and got some pictures of the crew:






Unfortunately, Josh's injury prevented him from walking the line. Get well soon, My Friend!


The sunset and the rise of the full moon were the perfect ending to an amazing weekend...



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So it would appear that the yellow safety line is attached to the very line you are walking on, the very same line that failed ten minute before with no one walking on it. Now you fall and point load the line which is under a tremendous tension. No thanks!


I'd want to be clipped to a separate line that is dynamic and not under tension.

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There is an 11 mm dynamic taped under the double webbing, as well as a grab loop draped under the system.


Nothing in the slackline failed. Failure was only in the tensioning system.




edit: the sushi was dangerous too! :nurd:

Edited by MisterE

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I am not fugu certified. Besides... I have other ways to kill my good friends. A neurotoxin would be far to simple.


The uni was very good.

Edited by Douglas La Farge

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Hell Yeah E! AWESOME TR!!!

Looks like you found your element down in the desert with the other hippies and weirdos. can't do that in the 'Ham!

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I was zombiefied from a trip to seattle and back after school and needed to spray.

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Holy crap Mr E. I did not know which Tom it was until I clicked the link on your other post. I know or knew Tom Grundy when he lived in Ptown. And climbed a bit with him. And his shots show Julie was there as well. I guess we know the same people.....small world. Looks like a killer time. Great job.

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Good News! Clay repeated the walk both ways on Monday!


Congradulations! :rawk:


One more picture with the full moon:



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Hey E, 50th anniversary ascent of the Mace? Does that mean you were a teenager when it was first climbed? :D

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