Desert Climbing with the Crag Baby – Part 2

May 30, 2011 at 11:14 am

Geeze, this is what I get for taking too long to write the second half of this trip report. Memorial Day? Shelf Road? That seems like a million years ago.

Kate climbing desert limestone - yum!

On Sunday, the six of us packed up and headed back to The Bank. Mark and I were interested in trying more of these new routes at the Piggy Bank. But as we walked up to the base of the wall, we could hear the crowds, see ropes on every climb, and even hear a few other babies already crying. We decided we could produce enough chaos on our own, and so went looking for other areas in the vicinity.

Mark makes this look easy

We ended up heading to the middle of the long Bank wall, and (after waiting a while for the other party to finish) we hopped on From Russia with Love (5.9+) and B/C (5.9+).

Both climbs were fun, and I enjoyed the thin, technical moves on From Russia a bit more than the powerful overhanging jugs of B/C. Mark was thrilled by the fact that he still felt strong and very confidant on the rock, even after not climbing since the previous August. Hooray for CrossFit!

G's tent set up at a windy, sandy crag

The weather on Sunday was nice, but hard on everybody’s systems. A dry, but cool, wind gusted around the canyon, blowing sand in everybody’s eyes, and making G a little fussy. Babies can clearly tell when they need to increase their fluids, and G drank 4 or 5 big bottles during our day out. He napped in his tent which we covered to keep the wind and sand out, for almost 2 hours that afternoon. And while he wasn’t the sweetest, happiest, baby all day long, we all managed to have a fun time.

Doug, Mark and G at the crag

After we all took our turn on the two 9’s, we packed up and hiked a bit further down the cliff to find a new 5.8 Doug had scouted. I’m still not sure of a name, or even a good way to describe where it was on the wall. We should probably invest in the New Shelf Road Guidebook. There has been so much new development in the last few years, that Shelf is starting to feel like an entirely new destination.

Mark settles G in his tent

The 8 was fun, and covered in sharp, hard, black limestone. We all took our turns on it, and enjoyed the meandering and interesting route. I cemented my day of disappointing efforts by not even finishing this one. I bailed on the upper crux, about 10 feet below the anchors.

After two days of climbing straight-forward moderates at Shelf, I had yet to finish one without falling. I suppose my time off from climbing was a bit rougher than what Mark went through, and the extra 20 pounds of baby weight were not helping.

Kate pulling the little roof on 'From Russia with Love' (5.10a)

Regardless, I felt thrilled and very accomplished as we hiked out that evening. We had just spent our first full day climbing with the baby, and it wasn’t that bad! True, climbing wasn’t as easy at it had once been. I was exhausted, and the pounding headache behind my eyes was a reminder that I was spending a lot of energy taking care of G, and not much taking care of myself. That evening, we gobbled down dinner, drank a ton of water, and G and I collapsed asleep together at 8p. On Monday, we would pack up and make a leisurely journey home. But that night, the baby and I enjoyed the best reward of a day in the desert sun: quiet, deep, satisfied, sleep.