Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Big Wall 101

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, finally getting above 60 degrees. I packed up my gear and my partner and went up to Palisade Head to start working on some Big Wall techniques. The wind off the lake kept it nice and cool in the sun, jumping straight on Danger High Voltage. I tried A Feathery Tong, an overhanging, crimpy 5.10d with a huge few reaches that I had never done before. It was fun, but really pushed the limits of my climbing as a lot of the holds were completely out of my reach, requiring some creative technique on my part.
After climbing, we set up Oz- a beautiful 175 foot overhanging 5.12b with powerful moves leading to a long finger crack. I've only worked the finger crack so far, but it would be the perfect route to begin working some big wall techniques. For this particular bit, Oz was plugged with trad gear such as cams and nuts every 5-6 feet. I then rapped to the bottom of the line, clipping the gear as I went simulating me following a leader up the wall. I set up my ascenders to start jugging the line and taking out gear as I went.
Can you see me in my blue helmet?

Here's a better view, where I'm taking a small break:
You can kind of see the red and yellow steps attached to the ascenders. I push the ascenders up and step up on the steps, using my legs and saving my arms. I've done it with one ascender before, but for big wall it's best to use two ascenders and two sets of steps, and takes a little bit of getting used to.
By the time I got to the top of the route, I had gotten more of a stride going but was getting a little worn out!
My harness was also weighed down with a ton of gear, making the last 20 feet even more difficult as I was jugging up my own weight, the weight of the rope, and almost ten pounds of gear. Good practice! :)
I'm a little sore and knicked up today, but working on that made me even more excited for my upcoming trip. :)

1 comment:

Mark said...

Wouldn't Big Wall 101 have routes easier than 5.12b, which is more of a masters level course? Maybe you can still retitle your blog entry with the correct course #? Won't you need to take "Ridiculous Wall" level courses as training for surviving at Yosemite? Do graduates of that level then take the "Pee your pants Wall series of classes while in Yosemite as prep for El Capitan? [surely beyond 500 level classes?]. Are these more difficult than passing your French exam, or easier?