On Saturday I got together with the San Diego Climbers meetup buddies that I usually climb with indoors, and we headed out to New Jack City, a sport climbing field just North of Barstow. The current issue of Ice & Rock (which, by the way, I've really enjoyed) has an article about Owen's River Gorge in which it calls New Jack City a "chosspile". So I had my reservations, but I wanted to see the place for myself.
On Friday I'd sprained my right index and middle fingers by wrenching them upwards from a twisty two-finger pocket towards another hold, which I was trying to deadpoint. I think it's a pretty serious sprain, especially for my index finger, but I hope that if I take things easy, maybe focus on aerobics and yoga for the next week, I should be able to start crimping with those fingers again soon. In any case, I decided to go to NJC on Saturday anyway, after refreshing my knowledge of the so-called "buddy taping" technique which I'd used heavily as a volleyball player in the past.
I climbed a total of 6 climbs, of which I led 4. The hardest lead was a 5.9, which was a real challenge with two bad fingers. The two toprope routes were "step across", a soft 10a, and "route 66", which is harder than its rated 9 at the end, in my opinion. The grades on the routes I led were reasonably fair, I thought. As for the choss issue, I see what the author of the Owens article meant, but I don't think it's relevant. Yes, the edges of the rock break off quite a bit. It's some sort of metamorphic rock that used to be sandstone, and it breaks into little sharp-angled pieces. Nevertheless, none of the bolts seem to be suspect at all. They're all in large solid spots. So, OK, you're occasionally raining little bits of rock on your belayer. So what? Everyone knows to wear helmets around there. On the other hand, I'd sooner fall on any of these bolts rather than the ones in Santa Barbara sandstone. So, yeah, it's not Owen's, but it's not bad, either. You can get as much climbing as you'd get in the gym, and you get to be outside.
Moonlight Buttress, learning to love the journey
2 years ago