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first ascent [TR] Harrison Bluffs - FA Wildcat (32m 5.8) and Surprise Fall 6/16/2011

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Trip: Harrison Bluffs - FA Wildcat (32m 5.8) and Surprise Fall

 

Date: 6/16/2011

 

Trip Report:

So I haven't really been doing any trips lately, I have an upcoming deadline to graduate and I've been spending the last 4 months working on that. But hell, it's spring, you can't think about school all the time. So I've been going over to Harrison Bluffs for the last month or so and cleaning a new route, a couple hours at a time.

 

Not the hardest or even the best route at Harrison, this rig takes a slabby buttress rising out of the forest. A boulder problem start leads to a curving handcrack to a small ledge and then a featured slab to the top. Nothing too hard, one boulder move and then mostly 5.7 with a three move 5.8 crux on the upper slab. Hopefully a good warmup/moderate route as Harrison has to date been lacking in those (at least ones that stay clean - a couple of easier routes put up in the 90s are fully overgrown).

 

So anyways I got this thing all clean last weekend and did a no-falls burn up it using my Ushba on the fixed line to check out the moves and figure out bolt locations and number. At the time it seemed totally cruisable and I thought about just soloing the FA and placing bolts later but it was the end of a 5 hr scrub session and I was out of water so I just went home instead. Hmm.

 

Went back yesterday and Ushba'd up the fixed rope again placing four bolts and doing the moves one more time. Normally I bolt on rappel and it was interesting to try this bolting-while-pseudo-toproping approach, the drill weighs less than I thought it would but it's still more involved frigging around than it is on rap (mostly with respect to keeping the hot drillbit off the rope and/or the legs after the hole is made).

 

So Shaun showed up and belayed me while I sent the rig, except that things did not go as planned. 25m up the route I stand on a good foot ledge right below the final bolt - a ledge I have stood on with full body weight several times now and which appears to be totally monolithically solid) and am about to clip in when my feet do a Wile Coyote spinning on air dance and I can't hold on and I'm airborne. Suddenly I'm taking a 10m slab fall. WTF? And Shaun mentions he had to dodge a big rock.

 

So when I reclimb the route on the next redpoint (WTF, two redpoint attempts on a 5.8?) it does turn out the big foot ledge below the last bolt is suddenly 50% missing. A brand new scar. Somehow that super solid ledge broke off under full body weight. And this is granite that appeared 100% solid during my last month of scrubbing attempts...

 

The rest of the route goes fine and we climb a couple other routes nearby before the rain starts but, I'm thinking back now, FUCK ME I'm glad I didn't decide to solo that thing last weekend! I'd be in the hospital for sure and possibly even dead. :o

 

We ended up calling the route Wildcat btw due to a bobcat that was prowling around the base while Shaun was waiting and I was bolting.

 

Gear Notes:

3 or so cams in the hand size range (0.75 to 2 Camalot) and four bolts.

 

 

 

Approach Notes:

Park by the golf course and walk in on powerline road 5 minutes to the crag trail. This line goes up the slabby right side of he arete forming the right end of the Wayback Layback wall.

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ya gotta have pix for the tr or it no-no count, senor - if ya got nothing, you can always do before n' after shoots of yer 'nards? :grin:

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cleaning.jpg

 

Here's a shot from the cleaning process a couple weeks ago. Most of the moss carpets peeled off easily. The dirt and roots in the cracks took the most scrubbing to remove. At one point I actually just waited a week for a heavy rainstorm to do some of the route washing for me.

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Schweet! Everyone owes you a debt of thanks for both the cleaning and breaking off all the marginal rock!

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