Ben and I met up with a bunch of other folks at J-tree this three-day weekend. We got rained out today, but Saturday was gorgeous, and yesterday was a good climbing day despite the cold.
On Saturday we went to Feudal wall and Short wall in the Indian Cove area. We warmed up on Donna T's crack on the Short wall (a supposedly 5.5 crack that I thought was much easier than that). Then we climbed Court Jester, a 5.7 off-width, and the Castrum, a 5.10a just to the left of it on the Feudal wall. Finally we went back to the Short wall and sent Toe Jam express and S.O.B. in style.
Sunday was a lot more eventful. We went to the Echo Rock area planning to get on Double Dip, which Chiru had suggested might be a good first lead. Our friends jumped on that first, so we moved a little to the right, to Stichter Quits, a 5.7 slab climb we'd seen a couple climbing. We talked to them and they assured us it was "mellow" if a little run out. So Ben got on it, but didn't have the stomach for it first thing in the morning, so I took over after the first bolt. I led up to the fourth and final bolt before the anchor. I took a fall between the third and fourth bolts, but it was nothing to write home about; tried the move a more direct way and made it. Then I realized the run-out was basically the top 40% of the route, and decided I wasn't really cool with that long of a potential fall. Ben toproped it from the fourth bolt, made the same decision about the run-out and we bailed -- note to self, I owe him a biner -- essentially having made it 60% up the route. Still, it was a super fun lead while it lasted...
We then decided to move to some of the routes further back and to the right from Echo rock. We got on Eff Eight, a 5.8 flaring, left-sloping crack. Ben was making his way up this awkward beast, having placed two cams, when he called for a take and took a fall. The rest happened really fast: the top TCU pulled and Ben decked just to my left as I flew 3 or 4 feet up the rock. The first piece held. I was looking at Ben trying to figure out how he'd landed and what was broken, but he assured me I'd caught him and it had been a soft landing. Then he went, "you can lower now", and that's when the silliness of the situation hit me: Ben was on his ass on the ground and I was locked off four feet off the ground, hanging off a piece of pro that had just taken a giant load and could pull out and dump me on my ass any second... So we put a toprope on that bitch and climbed it, and decided any crack crumbly enough for gear to pull out of qualifies as choss.
Just before toproping Eff Eight we'd seen a guy free solo a crack across from us on the back side of Echo Rock. So on the way back we threw a rope on it and climbed it. That was Finger Food, a 5.10a.
So now having climbed two 5.10a's, I'm forced to say they must be rated that high because of the difficulty in leading them, because as toprope climbs they really don't rate 5.10a in my book...
After Finger Food, things got really cold really fast. We checked out Echo Cove and decided against any of the routes there, and called it a day.
So, yeah, two lead falls on the new rope, one of them 13 feet to the deck after a TCU pulled. And my whole right side, the one that stopped Ben's fall, is killing me. But Ben's alive, which is about as good as it gets.
Moonlight Buttress, learning to love the journey
2 years ago