Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday August 12, Draper Red Rock 5.10a

Yes, I worked a 10a. Awesome. I was planning on trying the 5.9 that starts over the boulder, but ended up on the 10a in the cave. I drove up at 7:00 AM this morning, and hiked up, then set my rope up on the anchor that covers a couple of 10's and the 9.

I rapped down, and looking up, this is what I saw - into the 10a cave. I've done this 10a before on toprope, and while I was working the 9, decided to step over to the 10 and work it for a bit.

I'm using a Petzl Microcender now, having used it Tuesday Night on a new 5.8, one I've never done before. I gained a lot of confidence in it, and trusted it enough to let go and drop on it, important for working a route.

Notice in the photo above that I have the rope flaked in a stuff sack, which is what I toss down after anchoring at the top. For a top anchor I'm using three lockers on a sliding-x in a nylon sling. It works, and hopefully will never take a real fall. It's what I usually use for most toproping. I tie a butterfly about 5' up and clip the stuff sack to the butterfly knot, so the rest of the rope is in the bag out of trouble, but hanging to weight the rope to help it feed smoothly.

When I was done hanging around and falling in the cave (ran out of time, since I also had to run 5+ miles and drop by the house for a shower before work) I discovered one minor problem with the Microcender. It only goes up.

Luckily I have a basic knowledge of ropecraft and rescue, so I rigged my Reverso, put on a prussic and footloop and scooched up on the rope to unweight the Microcender, de-rigged that, then lowered myself onto the Reverso and undid the prussic. Was pretty fun doing it on the fly hanging in a cave. Last time I did it was on relatively low angle granite in Alaska during a guide course. I also keep a Petzl Tibloc handy, in case I need to rig a waist loop like I'm in totally deep doo.

When I was on the ground I decided I didn't feel like hiking around to the top in my Acopa Aztec, totally the best trad shoe I have ever used, so I free soloed a 5.6 I've done a handful of times. My DW was a bit "surprised" when I called later to tell her. ;)

Two climbs ago I experimented with a butterfly backup, with butterfly knots about 4 meters apart. It was so totally annoying I just skipped it these past two times. I don't know how I feel about it. I think if I were spending more time working an inverted route, like the bottom of this one, I might consider it again. Not sure yet.