Sunday, May 30, 2010

Freeing La Gota

As the soon-to-be-renamed Driller and I drove through the mist to Squamish on Sunday, we dismissed a barrage of weather reports that called for rain, mist, clouds and other staples of the Squamish climbing diet. "Fuck THAT," we said, echoing The Filth, who refers to anything other than a shower with his charming brilliant beautiful wife as "piss."

We squelched our way up to the base of The Proj and discussed the merits of bringing a rack and rock shoes. I thought we would finish re-bolting the dihedral, fix the Green Line traverse bolts, climb the bolt ladder, and chop the trees on P8. Then-- since that would only take three hours-- we could free a few more pitches.

We jugged to the base of the dihedral and the Driller set off, trying to see how French-freeable it was. It turned out that, well, "not so much" was the answer. At the mid-pitch flake, which you protect with a nut, the Driller yelled down "hey do we have any hooks?" and of course I said "Do I look liek an aid climber?" But not to worry: Driller got out his nut tool. Then, with the same kind of care that gay men use when selecting the morning's moisturising cream, or that I use when picking my excuse for not leading whatever pitch is in front of me, the Driller set up a bathook move off his nut tool and made the mantle onto the flake. The Driller was actually more like the Thriller with his awesome ball-out McGyverish aid moves.

The rest of the dihedral went fine, and we decided to chop one bolt, and move it a foot lower, and we would liek to remind you, dear readers (all 8 of you) that when YOU get on this pitch, bring a medium nut or two, or a .4 Camalot, if you want to French-free it.

I then had the privilege of trying to traverse the Green Line Ledge, aka The Electric Pepper Grinder pitch. Now Paul Cordy had been on our route a couple of months earlier, and had commented that our bolting was, well, not perfect. As I clambered past my second bolt and clipped the third, I realised what he was talking about. Looking back, this is what I saw:

This is the kind of drilling that happens when you have nothing too hook off, and when your toes are jammed into two feet of munge, and behind you is a 300 m fall to the deck, and you are pushng UP with your other arm to hold yourself on, whileyour drilling arm holds what feels like a bucking, rabid and steroidal ferret, out of sight and over your head.

Now here is a close-up of a Bad, Bad Bolt!

We chopped this one and re-did it. This is what a GOOD bolt looks like, for all those of you who have never clipped one.

The bolt itself should be sunk as far as you can get it. Basically the issue with these bolts was, they were not pounded in far enough, so I loosened the nuts and pounded them in more, and now they are bomber. The key to drilling (other than picking a proper spot, and having a good bit) is to make the hole super-deep, so that if you must chop, you just pound the end into the rock and epoxy the opening.

The bolt ladder saw its first "ascent" today and it works perfectly. I had been a bit apprehensive after climbing the Grand Wall, whose bolt ladder seemed sparser. Ours, is much longer, has bolts closer together, but is easier to get up. You can make "fake aiders" by clipping both a long and a short sling into one biener. The "Wet Like Your Wife" pitch was, well, wet. We added a bolt to the p7 belay, hung the saw, and rapped.

Down with the crowbars, the fixed ropes, the bolt-chopper, the hacksaw, the monster rack, the aiders...there is little work to be done and now it is time to try to climb the thing with hands and feet instead of aiders and jugs. We lefta pink ribbon on the project, and removed a couple of stations, to indicate that the poroject is not yet open. Here is us with the stuff we carried off the route:

On the way back, we pondered the Universe's manifold mysteries, like why our girlfriends want so much sex, and what exactly happened to The Filth and The Yankee in The Valley (apparently they hired a guide, who took them up a route called "Shirking Fear") that caused The Yankee to lose 25 pounds and The Filth to get a sprained ankle and three sprained ribs. No, no, I must confess, that last sentence was half shit-talk: they did in fact get up Lurking Fear under their own power-- awesome job, boys. Other mysteries included, where was Napoleon, who seems to have lost all interest in our route, and how bad-assed waas Driller-- aka Thriller.

Well it turns out there are three, count 'em, three kinds of accountants: chartered accountants, certified managerial accountants, certified financial accountants, and certified business accoutants. The Driller will soon be a C.A., which is the bad-assedest of all three kinds of accountant. How bad-assed, you ask is that? Well he will be able to not only climb the outside of any building, using only nut-tools and slings for pro, he will then be able to climb the inside, and audit you so hard it will feel like a rectal examaination by a drunken Filth. THAT, clearly, is why our girlfriends want so much sex from us.

Oh, wait-- what about me? I'm not an accoutnant. Hmm, another mystery. Well perhaps next weekend, when we start freeing La Gota, answers will come. Stay tuned...

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