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Rad

[TR] Index delivers - the goods 5/10/2008

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Trip: Index delivers - the goods

 

Date: 5/10/2008

 

Trip Report:

I have enjoyed recent TRs where people have shared their climbing tales. IMHO this site could use more TRs, so I wanted to follow suit.

 

Summary:

 

Index stayed dry enough on May 10th to climb:

 

Ultrabrutal (minor wetness).

Tunnel Vision.

Angora Grotto (why the bolts next to the crack?).

Climax Control.

Cunning Stunt.

Morning Star (thanks for cleaning this).

Leave My Face Alone (need 2 ropes or a 70m rope to get down easily).

Zoom.

 

 

A slightly more animated account of a fabulous spring day (sorry, no camera):

 

It was overcast as I waited in a parking lot by the freeway in Everett for Blake just before 10am. Blake doesn’t seem to trust me around his girlfriend, even though I’m happily married with kids, so kept her locked safely inside the minivan. Undeterred, she and I exchanged longing glances and waved enthusiastically at each other through the shatterproof glass.

 

Blake hopped in my car and we headed East on Route 2, hoping the showers would hold off enough to allow us to savor some yummy Index climbs. The fact that the low hills and peaks were not visible did not bode well, but we pressed on ahead. At first, it was just cloudy. Then, just a few miles from the Index-Galena junction, it started. A few drops. Then more. Then still more. I reluctantly turned on the windshield wipers, no longer able to ignore the fact that the rain was preventing me from seeing the road ahead.

 

As we crossed the bridge we talked about whether to shoot through to Leavenworth or give Index a try despite the showers. It sure would be nice not to drive another hour plus each way…let’s just take a look at the Lower Town Wall.

 

The shower stopped just as we stepped out of the car. There was just one other car in the parking lot. We strolled over to the Country and looked at the wall. Now that’s an approach to envy! The opening mantle of Zoom was impossibly wet. Not good. But the vertical parts of adjacent climbs looked better.

 

I lead Ultrabrutal, carefully avoiding a few wet spots. 5.7

 

Blake lead Tunnel Vision, which was in good shape. The skies seemed to brighten a bit. I followed, weighting the rope to downclimb to a rest before firing the crux at the second bolt. Not quite clean. 10d in Sky, 11a/b in Cummins’ online guide.

 

Side note: Blake tells me he pmd Daryl Cramer (dcramer?) and sent some money for a guide. This seems like a good way to see that your money goes directly to the author and not to Amazon/REI/etc. I plan to send a pm to see if I can get one from him.

 

Looking up from Tunnel Vision, I decided to give Angora Grotto a shot, knowing I could lower off or French free if I couldn’t climb the route clean. Both guides list this at 11a. I started out more anxious than I needed to be, but was eventually able to calm the body and the mind. After all, it’s only sport climbing, and there’s no real danger (cue has-been trad-only-climber whiner poster who did ‘real’ climbing back in the day several decades ago).

 

Climbing up on my spray-inducing high horse…

 

I enjoy trad climbs as much as our favorite whiners, particularly when gear placements are solid but not obvious. A great trad climb is a puzzle that must be solved in two dimensions simultaneously: climbing the route clean, and adequately protecting it. Leading trad-onsight is a true joy. I freely acknowledge that it’s more strenuous to place gear on trad climbs than on sport routes.

 

However, I also enjoy sport climbing for several reasons:

1 - You can climb where there are no gear placements available.

2 - The moves are often more varied and interesting on sport routes than on crack routes.

3 - You can lead closer to the limit of your climbing ability without fear of injury.

4 - You can climb more routes/pitches per day than trad routes because clipping bolts is much faster than placing gear.

 

Anyone who thinks all bolt routes are wimpy needs to visit Tuolumne and climb some slabs, or for that matter Bachar-Yerian. Climbing has many forms. Enjoy them all if you can.

 

Climbing down off my high horse and back to Index…

 

I went up Angora Grotto with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised as I got higher and higher. There were some very fun moves over the roof, nice balance moves to the alcove just up and left, and up into the undercling/lieback above that. My spirits rose higher and higher as I approached the anchor. This was my first Index 11a climb and I was very psyched to get it onsight. I know there are harder 11as and even harder Index 10s, but it’s still a milestone for me.

 

Can someone tell me why the 1.5 inch crack at the start of Angora Grotto has bolts next to it? These are absent in the old Clint Cummins online topo and look pretty new. It is a lovely crack that would definitely take gear. You should have the rack from the Ultra-Brutal approach, unless you left it on that anchor as we did when we saw only bolts on the Sky topo. Would you approach from Climax Control? I doubt it. The link from the CC anchor to the anchor at the base of AG is a groove full of dripping green prickers and moss. Regardless, I don’t see the point of bolting next to this fine crack. Did I clip the bolts? Yes, so I guess I’ll burn in hell…but enough of that.

 

Next we TRd the line to the left of Angora Grotto (in Sky but not Cummins). The mantle down low and subsequent crack transitions felt substantially harder than Grotto even though Sky lists this section at 10+. The roof above, listed as 11b in Sky, is much easier. There’s something funny there, but I know I still have plenty of room to improve and much to learn.

 

We rapped to the ground and I rehydrated after taking off my sweaty helmet. Blake kept his stinky shoes on, thankfully, but I didn’t return the favor. The skies were still cloudy but we hadn’t had any more showers. The temperature was perfect. Cool but comfortable.

 

Blake lead Climax Control with one fall. Nice job. We pulled the rope as I wanted to save my energy for Cunning Stunt. I lead Cunning Stunt onsight, placing a stopper and cam to back up the rusty pin. Sky calls it 10d and Cummins calls it 11a. It felt easier than some of the other routes we did. Still, it was harder than any of the Index climbs I’d lead before Angora Grotto.

 

I then TRd Climax Control. I pulled through the crux, redlining, but couldn’t stay in control on the balancy stepup/mantle above that and teetered off. I now understand the route name. This one is worth coming back to do (11c in both guides).

 

Blake then lead Morning Star, a 5.8ish crack chimney, and continued to the Zoom p1 belay. MS has been cleaned up nicely since I saw it last year. Thank you.

 

Despite some wetness down low, Leave My Face Alone looked really good and Blake was kind enough to let me take a crack at it. This route goes up a corner/flake system to a small roof. Getting over the small roof and onto the upper face involved excellent moves that required some thought. The upper face is outstanding. It has a fabulous position and requires you to link amazing small square edges that get smaller and smaller as you approach the top. This climb really engages the brain as you get higher, which is always fun. The crux for me and Blake was the last ten feet to the belay ledge, which was quite devious and sequency. I set up on a sloping right sidepull, high-stepped into a tenuous smear, crimped a tiny left hold, and lunged for the final jug, whooping with joy upon catching it. In my view, this was the best climb of the day. This route is 11a in both guides. I was very psyched to climb it onsight. I know grades mean little, and 5.11a is only moderate in the Layton book of grades, but for me this is a breakthrough. For almost two decades, 5.11 was a psychological barrier, an impenetrable ceiling through which I thought I would never pass. Free the mind and the body will follow.

 

Unfortunately, our single 60m rope didn’t reach back to the Zoom belay so we played some downclimbing games, always protected, to get there. I refused to set up an intermediate rap on a small sapling, though a new sling indicated someone had recently done just that. Note: a 70m would probably reach, or you could climb on two ropes. Neither guide mentions this.

 

As we started rapping down Zoom a small shower blew through the valley. By the time we were down it had stopped. We TRd Zoom and headed off to wash the sweat and dirt off our faces in the bracing waters of the swollen river. This time Blake didn’t spare me the unquenchable stench of his shoes, but I was too high on the day to care.

 

Not bad for a late start on a rainy day…

 

We only saw two other parties on the entire Lower Town wall the entire day.

 

Thanks for an excellent outing, Blake, and for letting me lead some great pitches.

 

Coming soon: Cruel Shoes, the Grand Wall, and the Black Dyke!

 

 

Gear Notes:

Rack, draws, and tea in thermos.

 

Approach Notes:

Step out of car, walk 100yds East on train track, set down pack, climb.

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A great trad climb is a puzzle that must be solved in two dimensions simultaneously

 

Well said. :tup:

 

Thanks for the great, TR, Rad. Looks like you guys racked up some exciting mileage that day.

 

As any of us who have been humbled by even the "easy" routes there can attest to, Index doesn't give away its goods. She makes you work for it. ;) So, well done, guys!

 

I added a new lead to my meager Index repetoire last trip--the 5.8 second pitch of Princely Ambitions--and it put a smile on my face the whole way home. The first pitch of Princely is still a bit out of my league(pyschologically, at least, as I'm a little spooked by that blank-face side-step move and the thin pro on the hand-traverse), but the second pitch was ripe for the picking. Started with a couple rattly hand jams and skittery feet, but once I got into the flared section with the solid hand jams I was stoked for the O/W moves awaiting. Fun stuff up there.

 

 

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I think a 70m rope is really handy at Index.

Sorry about the smelly shoes Rad...

Good job climbing, was a good day. Way to keep it together on top of "leave my face alone" after the roof was not the crux afterall.

 

Those bolts on the first half of Angorra Grotto should not be there, but it is still fun.

 

What's the real beta on the new climb just Left of Angorra Grotto?

 

Does one NEED a 60m rope to get off "Hairway to Stephan" or p2 of Kite Flying Blind?

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Nice job Sherri! I've never done p2 of Princely. You're right that the crux of the first pitch of feels pretty committing, but at least the gear is at your face when you start the mantle/step-up. If you want a good 5.8 testpiece lead all of the pitches of Aries/Lizard at GNS. Between fist crack, thin crack, a chimney flare, an undercling, and a hand crack it's got just about everything. If there's no one around you can TR the whole line with 2 60s on the chain anchors of GNS.

 

Hey Blake, if smelly shoes is your biggest flaw I'd say you're doing pretty good.

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If you want a good 5.8 testpiece lead all of the pitches of Aries/Lizard at GNS.

 

Thanks, Rad, but homey's not quite ready to lead da Buttlips. :mistat:

 

 

2nd pitch of Princely is neat and worth doing, IMHO. It's certainly not in the "classic" category, but interesting enough(and different in character from the 1st pitch)so you get a little more bang for your buck while you're already up there.

 

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There is another pitch obove that one too Sherri. If you stay on teh bolted line curving right it is hard 10. But if you veer left at the crack, it is 5.8/9 and ends at a small tree. But if no one has done it for awhile, it will be full of dirt.

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Coming soon: Cruel Shoes, the Grand Wall, and the Black Dyke!

 

 

I would highly advise against the latter variation. Serious Choss. Of the four pitches that lead off of bellygood the only one of quality is the one that doesn't climb the dyke.

 

 

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There is another pitch obove that one too Sherri. If you stay on teh bolted line curving right it is hard 10. But if you veer left at the crack, it is 5.8/9 and ends at a small tree. But if no one has done it for awhile, it will be full of dirt.

 

Thanks, Bug. Good to know. I'll scope it out next time. :)

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Big Ben,

Thanks for the tip. Is there anything else you'd recommend to extend the fun? I'm not sure we're up to the Roman Chimneys yet.

Rad

 

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Sherri,

Now that you're feeling solid on hand jams you're probably ready to lead the Nutcracker in Yosemite. It's popular for good reason, though you may need to climb it by moonlight to avoid a crowd.

R

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... though you may need to climb it by moonlight to avoid a crowd.

R

 

You've got a way with words, Rad. I can see why Blake was hiding his girlfriend from you. ;)

 

 

I haven't been to Yos yet, but it's encouraging to know that there might be some routes in my league when I do make it down there. Thanks for mentioning that. (I'll bring my headlamp for the moonlight send.)

 

Watching and reading about you guys pulling on the hard stuff out there at Index is good inspiration for us up-and-comers. :)

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I'm surprised the bolt thumpers didn't dump on this thread.

 

Perhaps they have all been weaned from their whining ways and shall join us in the liberated age of enlightenment and free love!

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Big Ben,

Thanks for the tip. Is there anything else you'd recommend to extend the fun? I'm not sure we're up to the Roman Chimneys yet.

Rad

 

I've heard of people finishing off the last few pitches of Millenium Falcon. I believe it checks in at 11- or something. Sorry to disuade you from attempting the dyke. Perhaps it isn't as bad as I remember. It was a long day for me at the time. Did freeway in the morning and then Grandwall through upper black dyke later that day. One other thing I recall is that it is quite difficult at times to find the bolts on the route.

 

Good luck!

 

 

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Princely Ambitions is my favorite Index climb. The first time I led/climbed it, my head was reeling. Just thinking about that hand traverse has me sweating. :)

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On P.A.: how long has that loose flake you can bend back and seems like it could break been like that? i also like the step to the right just before the hand traverse. harder than hand traversing would be standing up and walking the traverse! ;)

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harder than hand traversing would be standing up and walking the traverse! ;)

 

Isn't that how it should be climbed? :sick:

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Lately I've been doing the traverse with hands for most of the way across, then manteling up near the corner. First time, I tried it by manteling up at the beginning and walking it, but that felt less secure to me--like my center of gravity was being pushed out from the wall.

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harder than hand traversing would be standing up and walking the traverse! ;)

 

Isn't that how it should be climbed? :sick:

Seriously, I have never done it as a hand traverse.

I pull up and put my left foot in the low spot. Then there is a balancy move to reach a positive left facing hold up and left and viola, you are standing.

The walk across is not balancy at all imo.

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harder than hand traversing would be standing up and walking the traverse! ;)

 

Isn't that how it should be climbed? :sick:

Seriously, I have never done it as a hand traverse.

I pull up and put my left foot in the low spot. Then there is a balancy move to reach a positive left facing hold up and left and viola, you are standing.

The walk across is not balancy at all imo.

 

That's about what I remember. The fun thing about climbing is that there is no right or wrong way.

 

"There's a million ways to go, you know that there are..."

Cat Stevens

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Lately I've been doing the traverse with hands for most of the way across, then manteling up near the corner. First time, I tried it by manteling up at the beginning and walking it, but that felt less secure to me--like my center of gravity was being pushed out from the wall.

 

:) Both times i've been up I actually split the difference and mantle at about the 1/2 or 2/3 point. Worked hands to about the 1/2 way point and then hook a heel/knee to get in a piece of gear, then finish it out. The pro in the crack is really pretty good Sherri! Just make sure you have 2 blue TCU's when you start the traverse and you should be golden :tup:

The second pitch is also a nice get :tup:

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On P.A.: how long has that loose flake you can bend back and seems like it could break been like that? i also like the step to the right just before the hand traverse. harder than hand traversing would be standing up and walking the traverse! ;)

 

That loose flake has been there for at least five years.

 

My first time leading it (in someone else's rock shoes because I forgot my own), I stood up and walked the traverse back left, because it seemed easier. I've climbed the route st least ten times since and have done the hand traverse every time. :)

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