Monday, August 31, 2009

The Devil's Dome

Wow, what a couple of days we've had. Katie and I took Friday off and went up to DL to try a couple of things. Katie was psyched about finishing up Anchorpoint so we went up there first. Katie warmed up and looked super solid as she figured out each of the moves again. Pretty soon she was linking into the last "hard" move and she started to move up and into the slab. After a flurry of confusion she was back on the pads with me and had a very confused look on her face.

"What do I do then??"

As we soon found out, her small stature made it increasingly difficult to top the stupid thing out. Each time that she linked into the last hard crimp she'd get to the topout and be too stretched out to do anything. On her last good go she hit the second good hold over the lip but her feet skated and she fell to the pads.

Devastating, to say the least. Neither of us could believe it. We figured out a couple things that might work for next time and packed up to move on in disbelief.

I'd been aching to try the Half Dome project ever since Remo put it up on Mountain Project and I couldn't wait to see it! We made our way up the talus field and eventually found the boulder. It looked even better than the pictures made it seem, although it was a good deal harder looking than I expected. All of the possible holds, save one jug up top, faced the wrong way and looked relatively unusable.

I moved the pads around the somewhat awkward landing and started chalking up possible holds. There are a couple of pinchy, sloperish crimps in the center of the lower face and they looked to be the best bet for the middle line. I chalked up a high right hand gaston and a couple feet and set to work.

It was all rather desperate for the first few minutes as I kept exploding off of the problem. It just seemed really far above me. I moved my feet, at Katie's suggestion, and then a couple tries later I stuck the first move! Both of us were surprised as it came relatively easily with the right body position.

The first move

I was just happy that it seemed to all be coming together!

I set to work on the true crux of the problem, the second move. Starting from the high right hand, the only solution I was able to figure out was a very high left foot, which left me sore for days, and a big lockoff on a bad gaston. There were two holds that looked holdable about a foot below the big jug on the face. I gave it maybe 30 attempts but could never get the momentum right. Every time that I'd get absurdly close my left foot would blow off of the shiny foothold. It seemed to be a very low percentage move.

Locking off for the crux

So close!!!

At the end of the session I started trying to weight the next move and had a hard time just doing that, although it may have been because I was pretty tired.

I am so excited about trying this project again this coming Wednesday. Katie and I are going to head up and I can't wait to give it some more effort. I really have no clue how hard it's going to be but it's for sure going to be a classic.

Oh so psyched on the West Bluff right now!!!

On top of everything that we tried on Friday, Katie and I made it up to the lake last night again. After running into Chris E. by chance at the parking lot and helping him put their canoe onto their car we took off for Anchorpoint.

Name of the game turned out to be devastation!!! I won't go into too much detail but I will say that Katie made it past the "crux" on Anchorpoint 3 more times and even got as far as getting her left foot on the topout slab before sliding down on her tummy in a pretty terrifying fall. I can't give her enough credit for trying so damn hard. It WILL go. Soon.

It was turning dark and I was waffling on whether I wanted to try Alpine Club or not. At Anchorpoint a small patch of cold air came in and I decided that I'd give it a go in the cool temps. Sadly those same temps were not at Alpine Club. I flailed around on it, feeling stronger than ever but still miles away from it. I'm really not sure what I have to do. I'm stumped. I've never had anything feel this close but still so far away. I have a feeling that with cooler temps it'll go, but I'm not sure.

It seems that Alpine Club and I have a Love/Hate thing going on. In the end, I will win. There is no doubt in my mind. It'll go.

And in maybe the most genius moment ever, Katie suggested that we make soup in the Jetboil while we waited for the Ferry. Fantastic! We poured the can into the stove and in about 3 minutes we had hot soup to eat while we rode across the ferry. There are very few products out there that I would buy at retail no matter what. Jetboil is one of them. I'm very happy to be able to represent such a cool, innovative company.


  1. Wow, super impressed with you getting that move on Half Dome Project. So hard!!! Good to see you out there. Rooting for Katie here! ce

  2. Cool pics Steve! Stoked for you and Katie, she WILL send indeed. What time are you guys heading out on Wednesday? I may head out for an A.B.C. session early. I will let you know for sure.

  3. I'm not sure when we're gonna head out. I'll be sure to let you know!! Katie should send on Wednesday. She's just got to rehab her fingers. They got DESTROYED last night. Bloody pulp, they are.

    I'm glad we ran into you Chris!! It was funny and definitely unexpected!

    Hoping for good temps!! we could see our breath as we walked out last night!!

  4. I know what's holding you back from your sends. You are missing your brown mascot! Sooo climb on the day just before the wedding? I am not entirely serious, or am I?

    The Half dome project looks super fun. I better stop eating all these desserts. I just weighed myself, +7 pounds!

  5. omg,omg,omg! I am fling home to do this someday! I wish I woul have looked at it.


  6. Can't wait to show you it Nic! It's really cool! I think you'll like it. The west bluff keeps on giving us gems!! This fall should give us some more!