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Gunks Aug 18-19

August 24, 2012

Gunks: August 18

Stephen and I left late Friday for a weekend of crushing at the gunks. After a beer at the Brauhaus we headed to the Coxkill parkinglot to find it locked up. Fortunately the lower lot was open. There were a few other dirtbags already sleeping. We set the trunk space up, cracked the windows and slept in the light rain and plunging temperatures. A quick repack Saturday morning and we made it to the Bakery before it opened. We got primo parking up at the trapps lot and started crushing in the ubber falls.
Ticklist for Saturday:
-Dirty Gerdie (Stephen led)
-Rhododendron (me)
-Horseman (Stephen)
-Apoplexy (me)
-Retribution (stephen)
-Nose Dive (TR)
-Double Clutch (both took turns leading)
-Sonja (5.10a/b on Mental Block) did not get this without hanging
-MF (Stephen first pitch, I took the second)
-Boston (my lead)
-Double Chin (my lead)

We picked up some gear at R&S and had dinner at the Otter. We crashed at Hep’s place. Temperatures dropped to 50 or below, so we were especially happy to not be in the car.

August 19: Stephen Lead Ant’s line and we TR’d Ent’s line. John came by and took a TR before continuing with his run. We hiked along the cliff line to Wasp to practice our aid skills. We loaded the EL CAP haulbag with rocks to about 70lbs (my guess). Stephen lead the climb free while trailing the haul line and haul gear. I jugged the lead line. We lowered the bag and I repeated the climb while aiding. I had to step out of the aiders a few times up high but tried to stay in them, making many hook moves along the way.

Following Lessons:
The aid climbing took a pretty long time. Nearly 2 hours per (160ft) pitch. While the leading took about an hour, it took nearly as long to follow, clean and haul. Getting the ascenders at the right length is critical. The Haul bag moved pretty well when it wasn’t stuck on every little roof or subsequent piece of gear. Communication is key when clearing the stuck bag. Communicate before, during and after clearing the bag so the belayer and follower can work together.

Leading Lessons:
The cam hooks work really well, better than I would have though, even in downward facing cracks/flakes. Cams and Hooks should be racked separately. I had them on the same biner as the Grappling Hook and Cliffhanger which was a bad idea.
I made a few really bad mistakes that turned out ok. I climbed out of my aiders while still clipped into the last piece. This was frightening as tried to back clean the aider from an precarious position and realizing I’d fall on to the daisy if I didn’t succeed. Even worse was that the rope wasn’t clipped and the piece was 100% bomber .75 camalot. Fortunately I was able to retrieve the daisy, gaining inches by pulling it up as I reached down to unclip.

The other big error was up at the belay. After fixing the lead line and giving myself 7ft of slack to haul I set up the haul line. I pulled as much haul rope as I could, put it through the mini-traxion and pulled some more. I attached my aiders and got ready to haul. On the first “haul pull” more slack was present and I blew off my stance falling to the end of the rope clipped to anchor. I banged my knee pretty bad and was shaken and surprised. I reset and was able to haul fine. I found hauling with one aider/ascender to be much easier than two.
Again, Communication could have prevented this fall. “Ready to Haul” should be met with a “Haul away” or “NO, Take UP”. If the Haul Bag is still clipped in and not ready to haul the Follower must act quick to prepare the Haul. Hauling communication is just as important.

We bought some more gear, burritos and hit the road around 7:00. What an exhausting weekend.

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