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Gunks March 21

March 22, 2010

Brian and I made a late start. We arrived at the Nears a bit after 10:00.  He was considering Fat City Direct, but I was able to talk him down to Fat Stick Direct.  I lead the first pitch (5.8) up to the roof move. I actually found it pretty tricky for the grade and nearly ate shit when I got my harness clipped to a piece I placed in the corner that I was now wedged in.  It was quite the moment:

I’m above the notch, place a cam with a long runner and clip one of my double ropes. I make a few funky moves and now am scrunched in a weird corner unable to move. I try swinging gear around on my harness but can’t be freed.  I don’t have much room to look around but eventually realize that the ‘biner with the rope, at the end of the sling, is clipped to my gear loop and another piece of gear. I try to free it, but have to do so with one hand and no visual. I unclip the rope and feel it fall. I’m still clipped to the fucking sling, crunched and feeling fucked.  I find a placement at my face and plug in a .75 green camalot, clipping the other rope.  Ok, relax, safe, I start moving things around on my harness and isolate the trouble maker. I re-clip the other rope and am free to move on.  I pull around the corner and find the belay station: 2 pitons in a horizontal and one hanging at the end of a cluster.  Fuck.

Brian comes up and eyes up the crux, fishes some gear in close to the lip. He tries a few pull ups, puts in a blue master cam above the roof and hang tests it. He tries a yellow alien and it pops out. He finds another piece, a nut, above the roof.  After a few dozen attempts Brian gets his feet above the lip and is through the crux.  He pulls through the rest of the climb and finishes on the last pitch of Yellow Ridge.

The crux is a bit of a pull, and committing, but not as hard as other climbs. . . as in: I could reach some decent holds.  Exiting the corner however is hard. There is a great undercling with a hidden jug, but I went right hand into it, I couldn’t get out to the corner without falling. I begged for slack but brian refused to lower me down to the rock. The rope was keeping me from getting back to the good holds in the back corner but I was able to pull up on the sling with my right hand and get the jug with my left hand: my back to the rock, facing the wrong way.  I swung my body around and caught the hold on the corner. Embarrassingly sloppy climbing, but what could I do?

We walked back down and signed the Geocache.  I decided to step it down and give Grand Central a go, possibly in one push. The route starts up an easy corner with vertical cracks to place gear to your left. I placed 2 pieces, and slung the small tree at the first traverse. From this corner you go out left and around a nose. Most normal people would break the pitch here and belay. I continued on, clipping the red rope on this face and along the next traverse back right. the holds are good and the feet poor. After pulling around the corner I found the crux.  The holds were a bit wet and aside from the undercammed #4 in the wet pod at the corner, the gear was tricky.  I got a blue Mastercam in the wrong way and a small cam as well. I balanced and finessed my way up to two wet holds facing stupid directions. I put in a Gray Alien all crooked into a flaring downward facing pod.  I climbed up a bit more and into the crux, and tried to get more gear in. Unfortunately I was using brian’s rack wich doesn’t have a 000 C3 nor any micro nuts. FML. I consider hanging on the gray alien but when I grabbed it it came out in my hand. FML. I take a breath, stick the alient back into it’s pod, give it a tug or two (yeah, i’m sure it’s better now), and moved quickly to the good hold.  A bomber .5 C4 goes in and I start moving on easier ground but the rock wasn’t done.  The system I just pulled through was now strangling one of my ropes.  I laboriously pulled up a large amount of the rope and got to a belay stance.  One more tricky move and 20 more feet of climbing are above, but I couldn’t continue with that rope drag. Brian came up and topped out the climb. The last roof move was actually a good bit harder than I thought it would be with a desperate hand-jam and a long throw to a good hold. WTF.

From there I was headed home. We walked down, packed up and I got back to philly just before 9PM. I showered up, got dinner and went to bed.  What a weekend.

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