Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday April 19 Lead Rope Solo Draper Red Rock

Took the kids out to the Draper Red Rock for a bit of family fun. DW wasn't with, so I decided to lead rope solo the 5.6 at the far left side. I haven't done it in a year, so felt a little rusty and figured "what could possibly go wrong?"

First of all, I only had a minimal set of trad gear, and unlike some of the low level climbs at American Fork Canyon, there are no bottom bolts (I should take gear up and fix that if I knew no one would chop it). So with only a 3" crack to work with, and a max 2" SLCD, I decided to just tie into the first hanger.

I climbed up solo to the first bolt, set a Screamer on two lockers tied to figure 8 with a tail that reached to the ground. I had a GriGri pre-rigged on the rope, and I did a tension test and was reasonably satisfied.

I worked my way up to the 2nd hanger, and had a little trouble with the GriGri locking up, so I pulled a bunch of slack up and let it fall over the rope so it wouldn't snag on me again. I clipped into the 2nd hanger, and up to the 3rd. Where I suddenly discovered I was a moron and had the rope fed backwards into the GriGri. I clipped my daisy chain to the quickdraw and settled back to hang while I straightened my mess out.

After getting it set right, it was even worse at hanging up and locking, so I pretty much soloed the rest. If I fell I would probably go about 15' or so, and this part of the rock is probably about 85 degrees - a little less than vertical. It would hurt a bit. From not climbing outside in a year, and not climbing in the gym in about 5 months (training for mountaineering ate up all my time) I was pretty wasted when I finally set my top anchor.

I switched to a Petzl Reverso 3 (I like the green one) for rappelling off the free side of the rope. I didn't have much friction, so I put a biner on my leg loop. I probably could have wrapped it a couple times too.

I cleaned my way down to the first hanger, where I discovered one of the sources of my snagging - the free loops I'd pulled up had gotten behind the Screamer, and were wedged in tight. I upclimbed a bit to free them, and then continued to the bottom to rest for a second. Awesome. I still had rope tied up at the Screamer, so I climbed up solo to it (it's only about 12' but in a crappy place to stand), clipped in, undid the rope, set up a full rappel (both sides of the rope in the Reverso), stowed the Screamer, then rapped down feeling much better with the friction of both ropes.

I then sent up my 6 and 9 year old boys on toprope for the next two hours while the 3 year old begged for a turn. I didn't bring her harness, so no go (she'd fall out of the boys harness as she's smaller than it is).

Oh, well, first time out and all, it was great practice in rope and gear management, and I think I won't be repeating these mistakes again.