In which, Kate tries to put as many pictures in one blog post as she possibly can.
I decided I needed a short break from working on my thesis, so Sunday found Mark, Dylan and I at the Palace in the Poudre Canyon. Most of the photos from the day are up in the gallery.
The river was low, and Liv’s foot was looking healed, so we decided to bring the doggie along. She did just great the entire day, rock hopped across the river with the rest of us, hiked all the way up the hill, and then promptly fell asleep in the bushes. I was proud for being able to make it all the way rock-hopping across the river that morning without getting my socks wet at all. Yes, the river is getting very low.
Cheerleaders Gone Hippie (5.9+) – Dylan lead up this one as the warm-up and it was interesting and nice to see and feel all of the differences from last year. Dylan red-pointed the climb with little worry, though did end up backwards in the crux, trying to clip behind his head. Mark climbed for the pink easily, and then I TR’d it without any problems. I think this route would be a lot of fun for me to lead some day.
So I wandered off to look for some pictures as the sky clouded over, and Mark and Dylan discussed the next climb. By the time I got back, Mark was getting on the 5.11b direct start to the climb just to our left.
Check Your Six (5.11b) – The route looked hard, and Mark was warning that falls were imminent from the minute he left the ground. Sure enough, you think about falling and it’s bound to happen. Slightly above the second bolt he took a short lead fall with the main consequence being an increase in anxiety and the waste of energy required to get back to where he was. By the time he was trying to find a stance to clip the fourth bolt, his strength and endurance were tapped, and he took a nice big whipper.
Despite the blood and bruises, Mark was fine, but done for the day. It’s really hard to climb when one of your strongest fingers is oozing blood all over the rock. Dylan pulled the rope, and decided to climb the slightly easier non-direct start to the route in order to get his gear back.
Check Your Head (5.10b/c) – Dylan seemed nervous and a little shaky after Mark’s dramatic falls. I tried to make him feel better by building a little trad anchor for me to belay off of (in case he were to fall), but it ended up being unnecessary as he slowly and methodically put up a brilliant redpoint on this very long route.
Afterwards, it was my job to clean it, and I was a little nervous. Again, the last time I climbed this route, I didn’t make it to the top. Didn’t put it in the blog post either, did I? The diagonal nature of the route had really scared me the last time I climbed it. This time I sucked it up and worked my butt off to climb the whole thing. I can’t say I didn’t over grip. And at one point I was about to fall and I instinctually grabbed a quickdraw. I may have cheated and hang-dogged a bit, but I made it all the way up, cleaned the route, and came down feeling proud of my accomplishment.
Before leaving, Dylan hopped on Check Your Six while the rope was still through the anchor. He climbed it cleanly, showing us all how 11b is done. By the time he came down, it was late, and time to head home. Mark was no longer limping, but instead was calling for Boulder Chips. We packed up and headed home in the gathering darkness.