Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 7-- They had me standing on the Green Line

We got up early cooked for Stovo and Kim. Stovo has this small dog named Nuggett, who brings out what is either his inner gay man or his inner kindergarten teacher. The dog can high-five, nestle in a lap, sneeze etc at will. No Blicker.

We blasted up toward the Green line. Well, "blast" is probably not a good word since I had to learn how to haul. 3 in 1is easy but slow; straight through is hard but way faster. At the bottom of the dihedral pitch, I got on lead and worked up to the highest bolt. At this point, it was tense: you have to belly-flop onto a grassy ledge, without knocking rocks onto Dilly. I did it, and there I was, laying on my belly, all the crap still hanging over the edge, trying not to disturb anything. A whole lot of shifting and grunting later, I started to drill the anchor. I was crammed into the cave-like ledge, and twisted myself into a Gumbie, reaching up and around over my head with the drill. When the bolts were done, my arm was spaghetti. I brought Dylan up and then it was time to head out.

The Green Line is a horizontal band of what feels like sandstone. It is softer and flakier than granite. You have granite above, then this layer, then granite below. The sandstone erodes faster than the granite, so the ledge is a kind of mini-cave. I drilled the first few bolts about 7 feet aparts. It felt excessive, but I was scared shitless. I had no idea how solid the rock under the grass under our feet was, and a fall during the first bit of the traverse would mean a pendulum into the dihedral (read: many broken bones). And drilling was hard. You have to drill the granite above you, there are no holds on the granite, and so you stand up, push UP under the roof of the ledge with your left hand so you jam your body in, then you reach up over your head with your right hand and drill. Imagine holding a 25 pound cat-- twisting and yowling-- over your head, for 5 minutes, and if you drop it, it WILL tear a serious hole in you. That's what drilling this was like.

After six more bolts, I was fried and our batteries were dead. So we fixed, and Dylan descended into the dihedral to scrub, while I started removing munge from the Green Line. The procedure: you reach down to the bottom of the grass on the ledge lip, you peel up, and you throw the whole thing off. We got about 20 meters cleaned up enough to see that it will be easy (5.4) traversing. Likely it will take one more bolt around a small bulge, then we can walk on the much wider right side to the tree at the base of the diagonal corner.

Meanwhile, Dylan got all but ten feet of the dihedral scrubbed. We were feeling pretty good-- next day will see us to the diagonal, the Green line is mostly clean, the dihedral is done, and we left the gardening tools on the Green Line, so less hauling next time. We are hoping to get out on Wednesday.

Day 6-- the Green Line beckons.

The weekend appeared with the womenfolk working and Napoleon socialising. So Dylan and I did what Real Men do...we went gardening. Vertical gardening. Napoleon said he wanted to rap the entire route on Sudnay, but I told him that, since we had Dylan onboard for that day, we should all work the bottom of the route-- the first two pitches need cleaning and gardening. But Napoleon bailed.

On Saturday we took our newly charged new battery and way too much crap up the route. The 55m (likely) 5.11a pitch I think we will split into two. There is a stance about halfway up.

Drillin' Connelly set off up the dihedral while I did some more gardening on our 3rd and 4th pitches. This pitch has no crack to put gear in, so Dylan would drill a tiny bat-hook hole, put a hook in it, attach aiders, stand up, and then drill higher. He installed I believe 8 bolts on that pitch while I dug out a few more roots and some more dirt, and when that was doen I sat on the ledge while the Gri-gri belayed Dylan and I read my book, a history of international organised crime after the fall of Communism.

As we worked, well, as Dylan worked and I shouted up encouragement, we heard yelling coming from a route in our vicinity. "Heyyyy....get to wooooork....lazy fuuuuuckers" Yes folks, it was the elusive Napoleon shit-talking me from the nearest adjacent route. I didn't have a quick witty response, so I merely told him to tongue my balls and wondered why he would rather talk about the route than work on it.

At three the rains came to Whistler and the clouds started moving in. We got super excited: Dylan's highest bolt allowed him to finally SEE the Green Line Ledge. He yelled "it's a cave!" and then I lowered him. I went up to his high point on TR and tried the dihedral moves. I got a few of them. The last 2/3 will be 11+, the first 1/3 seems impossible right now. It will be a blend of full-on friction, stemming and weird body contortions. At the high point, I got a look, and yes, the Green Line is in fact a "recessed" ledge-- the granite above comes down, then there is an incut of about 3 feet into the rock and 3 feet deep, then the granite comes out. Kind of like a letter "C" or better yet a square racket like this: ].

The rains came, so we bailed and then headed off to our friends place. But first, hardware. We were out of bolts nuts washers and hangers. Since Valhalla didn't have any, we went to that other source of climbing gear-- Canadian Tire, where we loaded up on bolts and clippers.

We had been prepared to eat A&W for dinner and then sleep under a rock but instead we were fed a fine dinner at our pal Stovo's place and then after showers we crashed in luxury in actual beds. I dreamed of the Green Line.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ready to roll...again

Well I must apologise for no news for 2 weeks now. First, the fun stuff, namely, shit-talking Napoleon, heh heh. No, just kidding, Napoleon has actually been doing real work instead of the usual (propping up Starbucks and chasing women). He and Ben Roy hiked 250m of static line to the top of the (potential) route yesterday. They rapped the v-slot, say it will go at 5.8 or 5.9. They would have actualy hung the 250m of static line on the route, but Napoleon heard that Starbucks was closing and so they haightailed it out of there ;-)

Dylan Connelly and I were set last Sat then of course it pissed on us so we abandoned, then of course itwas lovely that afternoon. This week we have acquired a new battery for the drill so hopefully we can get more than 2.5 holes out of the damn thing. Dilly and I are heading up Sat and Sun to work on it. Napoleon is allegedly coming out on Sunday. Hopefully he can finish what Tony McLane started-- our first 2 pitches need some logging, some crow-barring, and some gardening.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 5: Drillin' Connelly

Fresh from India and Nepal, and newly moved into the world of corporate finance, The Driller was rabid to get on our route today. I was pretty psyched...Dylan has done loads of aid climbing (loads more than me, anyway). Napoleon was nowhere to be seen but the immense lineup at Starbucks (which you can see from our route) suggested that he was probably there getting his 35th coffee of the morning.

Anyway, Driller and I were a bit late getting started due to nearly running out of gas but up we went. We made it to our high point after I stepped in some shit and we sweated through the oddly humid but thankfully not 32 degree weather.

Dylan jugged quickly, and when we got to the ledge at our high point, he launched into aid. Blicker called this one right-- the dihedral we are now climbing will be harder than I'd thought (11+?) likely with no gear. Here's Dylan on the dihedral pitch:

Drillin' Connelly bathooked and 1/8"'d his way up while I slid down the fixed line and did some serious gardening, which basically meant throwing rocks at the ground and ripping out handfuls of dirt. When the first battery died-- after a mere 2.5 holes-- I lowered the Driller to the belay, and when he started to change batteries, I think I gave him a moment of slack. In any case, the battery fell down, smacked my shoulder, and then fell 200m down the face of the cliff into the talus. FUCK! So with drilling activities over for the day, we turned our attention to P3 and the loose rock and dirt.

I managed to kill the huge pain-in-the-ass tree, while showering Driller (now Digger) with many cubic meters of dirt. The horrifying loose blocks that had scared Blicker were stller there, but no match for the Digger.

So we hacked and grunted and got rid of it. Only problem was, we now have off-width sections on our crack, ha. Oh well, we'll manage. At the end of the day, were pretty satisfied. Here's a pic of the crack, cleaned:

Here's a last photo of Dylan rapping at day's end.

At the base we found the dropped battery, plugged it in...and it worked! A bit more scrubbing, a few more bathook and copperhead moves, and we will have P3 and P4 ready to climb, and then we start either traversing the Green Line, or heading up the black & white flake.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Photo porn

Today I must thank Kevin McLane for his help. The good Mr McLane has made a magnificent very high-res digital picture of where our route might go. We can see the end. We can see the start. All we need is to connect the two. We need this pic because...on Sunday, The Driller and I are going to try to do P4 while Napoleon goes and pose-- err, I mean, socialises elsewhere. If we make it to Green Line Ledge, we have options. We will be able to see which cracks are climbable, but we won't be able to see what goes where. So armed with the photo, we will be able to pick a line that is both climbable AND headed ot the top.

I got the pic yesterday and then spent the whole day planning and dreaming. But we have to keep our dreams in check-- until rubber meets rock, you really have no idea where you can go. I am happy to have Driller onboard. First, because he doesn't try to get chicks through climbing, and more importantly because he has loads of aid experience. Also he has balls. And he has been trained by The Filth himself in the fine art of talking shit and drinking beer, without which as we all know there is no climbing.

And no, I'm NOT posting a pic of the route ;-)