May 7-8, 2011.
Some general musings about the situation at Vantage:
- The camping situation is a free-for-all and the road is really rocky. Also, the port-a-potty was full. No pooping all weekend.
- The sport routes appear to be well-bolted, if not overly so.
- There are a large number of fun-looking sport (and trad) routes in the 5.9-5.11 range.
- There are limited rap stations, which can get very busy.
- Gully #1 involves a tight squeeze, so pack lightly or go over to gully #2 to descend to Sunshine Wall.
- The people we met who’d been there before were very friendly and helpful, a nice vibe overall.
I felt sick since Monday and barely got through the night without sucking on throat lozenges constantly. I was less than stoked to get climbing today.
Since this was an AR student weekend, I was partnered up with someone who I’d mentor for the day. He was in way over his head. He wasn’t comfortable leading 5.6 and he was painfully slow. If it was a real situation with weather rolling in or anything out of the ordinary happened we’d both be in a deadly situation. I lost my patience.
First I followed him up what we thought was Strokin’ the Chicken (5.6) but what ended up being Shady Chimney (5.7). I’m glad I didn’t look at the time because I would have hated to know how many hours of my life I wasted here. I ended up sending him a #4 cam so he could protect the top and finish it. God I hate chimneys.
Next up we got on Chapstick (5.6). This was much better suited to my partner but it still took him forever to place gear. Plus, the extra cluster of dealing with twin ropes (his idea). It was really windy up top so I mangled the throw and opted to rappel first so I could uncluster the ropes. At least that gave me a project to do.
After that learnin’ was done I hopped on a TR’d 5.9, although I hardly felt like I was on route. There was very little crack climbing involved. No matter, at least I got a little climbing in today.
The next day I partnered up with another assistant and three students to find some trad climbing. We wandered around for a bit looking for some routes on Fugs Wall, but I was NOT excited about this. With descriptions mentioning “gear to 10 inches” and many routes with no stars I thought this was a complete waste of time. When we got there, the others agreed and we headed all the way back to Sunshine Wall.
My first lead of the day was a sport route: Ride ‘Em Cowboy (5.9), rated 4 stars. I led it clean although there were some balancey moves that made me think. It was a really fun route. Next I hopped on a TR called Pony Keg (5.9). This was a super fun jug haul with some hand and fist moves at the top.
I encouraged the other assistant to put up some hard sport routes, which he did: Snooze Ya Lose (5.11a) and Easy Off (5.10c). These were both fun and challenging but the highlight by far was Easy Off. I smiled the whole way up that thing and could hardly stop yelling down at my belayer about how awesome it was. Lots of high stepping and ledges and nearly a half rope length long. This is exactly how I needed to end my weekend!