The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
It is currently Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:10 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 1:36 pm 
UW Climber

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:15 am
Posts: 129
I met Brett and we left town 8am, his first time ever to Index. We began climbing at 10am at the Great Northern Slab area. Jonathan was already belaying Chris up the route Great Northern Slab, which is the exact route I wanted to introduce Index climbing to Brett. So I looked to the left and Josh and Sam were on top of pitch 1 of The Lizard, also known as Aries. Since Josh was leading pitch 2 already, I knew I could lead up pitch 1 of The Lizard and then take any of 3 alternatives to pitch 2.

The first pitch of The Lizard is a bit brutal. It's not long less than 35-feet, but what it lacks in length if more than makes up for in its fight! It's a crack. The size of crack is described as fist-to-offwidth. That means you can use your hand in the crack if you form a fist with your palm facing into the crack. But up at top if gets a little wider so a fist jam might not be big enough. When this happens the crack is described as offwidth.

This size of crack is one of the hardest sizes, and for most climbers is the hardest. And climbs with offwidth cracks and fist cracks are to be avoided at all costs. Me? I like them. But this crack has another challenge, it's also an offset crack. That means the rock face on the left side of the crack is not even with the rock face on the right side of the crack. One way to visualize this would be to take two textbooks and stand them upright on the floor with their backs up against the wall. Slide them apart 1-inch, that space between the books is an example of a crack. Now, if one book is thin and the other book is very thick, that is an example of an offset crack.

So, The Lizard has a fist-to-offwidth offset crack. And I've watched leaders, and followers, struggle struggle struggle with this challenge. There are actually established skills and stylish moves that can be used to overcome this, and few climbers have either. It's rated 5.8 but please remember that when this route was first climbed a 5.8 was considered very very very heard, the way a 5.13b is considered now in sporting climbing. Back then a 5.8 was supposed to be very very very hard.

Josh had led up pitch 2 of The Lizard and Sam followed. Rather than build an anchor after that short pitch I chose to keep climbing and I moved left and proceeded up a less climbed route named Sickle Crack. It's a fun 5.7 with unique challenges. Whereas pitch 1 of The Lizard is brutish, thuggish and burly, the Sickle Crack is balancey and finesse.

At the top of Sickle Crack I continue up via Blockbuster, a 5.9 fist crack that almost never sees a lead. I placed 2 cams at the bottom and began fist jamming up the overhanging and arching wide crack. But................... I wasn't feeling the groove and also wondered what Brett would think for the first route of the day.................. so..................... I downclimbed, removed the 2 cams and continued on a 5.5 right traverse, up to the base of Taurus. Josh had built an anchor and Sam was belaying Josh on Taurus.

Sam and I spoke a bit, and I continued climbing past Sam, up the first vertical bit of Taurus and traversed just a small ways right on Taurus. I caught up with Josh and we spoke briefly about several variations. He was looking up at the 5.8 undercling which is the 4th difficult bit of The Lizard, but I encouraged him to stick with Taurus, continue on with his rightward traverse. His rope drag would have been significant if he would have gone vertical at that point. He began his pitch on Taurus, a vertical bit from the belay anchor where Sam was belaying. After the vertical bit the route bends right and then traverses flat right. To leave that route and join onto The Lizard would require a second bend in the rope path, changing from flat traverse to vertical. And, that pitch of The Lizard includes some left movement during the crux undercling. All in all, a lot of rope drag.

So Josh continued with Taurus and finished the long long traverse. Sam followed Josh to the belay. The last pitch follows a crack and is a nice 5.7+

After consulting with Josh I continued climbing upward. I left Taurus and made a reachy grab to the left then joined the stellar 5.6 low angle hand crack of Pisces. I happily cranked up that gorgeous and fun crack to the pair of bolts at its end. That's where I found Jonathan. He and Chris had topped out on the route Greant Northern Slab and were beginning the multiple rappel back down, Jonathan made the first rappel and I found him waiting at the bolts.

We spoke briefly and I kept climbing upward. I climbed to the tree and then aimed left of the main path. Most finish on the nice crack but I enjoy the slab climbing offered on the far left, protected by some tiny pro and 2 bolts.

I was curious if I had any rope remaining. I hollered to Brett, "How much rope? !!"

Brett, "dah duh dah dah feet!"

David, "How much rope? !!"

Brett, "Fift ee feet!"

David, "One Five feet? !!"

Brett, "Yes!!"

David, "Thank You!!"

So I had about 15-feet of rope remaining but I had about 25-feet of climbing remaining. But I like these types of challenges. Brett told me he had a 70-meter rope. I love to combine pitches. A longer rope means more fun! I thought it would be entertaining to climb climb climb until I exhausted all the rope. So I launch upward onto the slab. Slab climbing is already a delicate affair, but with 65-meters of rope snaking its way up over around so much rock this slab felt much more challenging than 5.7

I was just able to make it up past the first bolt, then the second bolt, and up to the pair of bolts for the top anchor. Success! A single pitch from dirt to summit! The first triumph of a 70-meter rope. Brett joined me and we talked about the various difficulties encountered in 70-meters of continuous climbing but the most noteworthy for Brett was that beginning fist-to-offwidth offset crack.

We grabbed our stuff and carefully hiked up the steep loose trail to Winkie Dinkie Cliff. Very few people visit this crag, though it boasts a fun 5.8 crack / layback, a nice 5.10B crack and a wildly fun bolted 5.10A layback flake. The 5.10A is Gorilla My Dreams and it's too fun to believe. The bottom 20-feet is usually damp and makes it a bit scary to get up to the first bolt. But today the bottom 20-feet was unusually damp, it was wet, it was soaked. No way either of us wanted to touch that. So we walked back down to the top of Great Northern Slab.

Right at the same time both Josh and Sam were reaching the summit. So I suggested we combine our 2 ropes and make a single long rappel all the way down the south face. This is far superior than doing 2 or 3 single rope rappels down the west face.

After reaching the ground I quickly checked on the route Princely Ambitions 5.9, but there was 1 team just beginning to gear up and another team waiting patiently for their turn. That meant the route was not open for well over an hour. So I led up both pitches of Roger's Corner 5.9 in one lead. Brett followed me up and commented how steep Index climbing is. True that! His 70-meter rope made it down in a single rap from the top of Roger's Corner. The second triumph of a 70-meter rope.

We popped over to Princely Ambitions and the second team's leader was finishing the pitch. I watched the second climber begin the pitch and decided he was going to take some time so I walked back to Great Northern Slab area and saw Sam 2 pitches up. I hollered up asking him if he had the extra gear from last weekend at Vantage. He directed me to his pack where I found 2 quickdraws. These are Stewart's and Steward joined us at Vantage last weekend, so I took the 2 quickdraws and walked back to Brett.

The second climber was nearly at the top so I began leading. I reached the belay ledge as the prior team was rappelling. Brett climbed up and commented how much fun he found it. I led up the second pitch and Brett followed up the wide crack to a perfect ledge to admire the beauty throughout this valley.

We rapped down from the top of pitch 2 to the top of pitch 1. Then rapped all the way to rocks on his 70-meter rope. The third triumph for the 70-meter rope!!! and walked over to Sagittarius 5.10A pitch 1 but there were 2 teams on it. We walked to Japanese Gardens 5.10A pitch 1 but it was crowded. We walked to Godzilla 5.9+ but it was crowded. We walked to Thin Fingers 5.10A pitch 1, but there was a team racking up. So we accepted Tatoosh 5.10B

Tatoosh is a fine climb with several discrete cruxes. I could write plenty about it but I'm hungry so I'll it this quickly. I led it, and lowered to the ground which you can't do with a 60-meter rope. With a 60-meter rope the leader has to stay up top and belay from above and then you make 2 rappels to return to the ground. Brett's 70-meter rope allowed me to return to the ground and get comfortable, belaying his ascent with me resting in comfort. He reached the top and I lowered him. About 1/2 way down he asked to re-climb a challenging chimney section, then lowered down to the ground. Since we had a convenient top rope set up on such a high quality and long route I decided to take 2 laps on top rope.

Jonathan, Josh, Sam and Chris............. tell us about your day!!!!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:26 pm 
Raging Alpoholic
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:15 pm
Posts: 812
Nice TR! I can't wait to get back to Index. Thanks for the final shove to make my next cragging rope 70 meters. I've been debating this for a while now.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:00 pm 
UW Climber
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:43 pm
Posts: 494
Location: Seattle
It was nice running into you guys at Index. Index has to be one of my favorite climbing areas. Nothing quite like climbing granite! Chris, Sam, Josh, and I all headed out from Seattle at the early hour of 7 am. We got to the crag hoping for sun, but got a chilly reception. The sun only showed up later in the afternoon. Chis and I started out on p1 of Twin Cracks, the GNS classic. Chis took the first lead and found out why I never enjoyed the no-hands start with an ankle breaking little fall below you. After that, we motored up p2 and p3 of Twin Cracks and rapped down to set a top rope up on the 10a over hanging hand crack, yeah, you know the one I'm talking about. This was my first 5.10 lead at Index sometime ago and I felt really good on it as I top roped it. It is a terrible way to introduce someone to Index though, seems like everyone flounders on the first go. After that, we rapped down to the 5.8 corner on Aries. We led up this buttery pitch and bypassed weeping Buttlips Chimney (the horror!) to the ledge below the 5.8 roof crack of Aries. I had a lot of fun leading this one, really airy and surprisingly secure coming out under the roof. From here, I saw David fly up the 5.6 perfect hand crack (awesome to know you can go bottom to top in one push). From here, we hitched a ride on double ropes to the bottom and took a break for lunch. At this point, Rogers's Corner to Breakfast of Champions was looking sunny and warm. Chris and I headed up. p1 was gross, the bottom crack was cold and soaking wet. p2 was sunny and airy, I love this pitch despite its decaying sections. Breakfast was steep as usual and gave me a workout, but I made a good lead of it, great way to start the climbing season at Index! From here, we rapped down and set up a top rope on Sugar Bear, a dicey 10c. We joined Josh and Sam at this point and all took turns tasting the sugar. I had led this previously, but found it hard to believe the first time I top roped it. After going up a few more times I'm up for leading it again. Believe it or not, the pro is all there, but thin. At this point everyone was getting tired and we headed home. Today, I went with Lisa for some cragging at exit 38. She's always complaining that I start out on climbs that are too hard for her to lead before she is ready. Ok, today is bunny day with wifey (Lisa pokes me as I write...). We got in 7 climbs in 3 hours, probably up to 10b, although we didn't really know what we were climbing. Lisa would lead up for the redpoint. Then I would lead up for the pinkpoint and clean the rope. Like clockwork. Great weekend for climbing, hope the weather gets better for next!

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:36 pm 
giving spoon
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Daddy
Totally beat after this great day of climbing. I definitely need more practice on climbing cracks, because right now I stink.


Somehow I find Nature knows how best to push the lazy human form from its comfortable life and knock him face down into the living of it.
-J. Hummel

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group