Tuesday, June 15, 2010

La Gota, freer

The first ascent of La Gota Fria (18 pitches, 5.11b A0 (5.12c) was exactly as we had both imagined. We blasted up the fucker, managing to redpoint both crux pitches, and we fired it in about seven hours. On top, our girlfriends showed up unexpectedly, carrying cold beers and vials of Ibuprofen. The sun hung low in the sky, the breeze was warm, we got a good beer buzz, the ladies carried the gear down...

And then I woke up from my dream.

Actually...we drove through rain to Squamish. We were forced to pull a Napoleon, or a me, and hang out at the coffee shop for an hour and a half while the wind caressed our route like our hands caressed our private parts as we sat staring at our to-be-epic upcoming send, both wind and hands warming things. We managed to pose and spray with some skill in the coffee shop, where we ran into Anders Ourom. Now it was a kind of funny historical accident. Anders is restoring Slab Alley (now 50 years old) while we are trying to put up a new route. You got both ends of Squamish: ancient 5.8, and new-school 5.12+ (the only qualifier here beng that Hamish Mutch could actually climb his route, while Driller and I basically clean and thrash on ours).

We also found some Americans to spray to, and then sprayed the barrista, who-- as if my rippling muscles, awesomely colour-co-ordinated outfit and chiseled visage, along with The Driller's accounting profession weren't enough-- pretty much wet her panties when we announced that we were new routing. That precipitated another woman-mob, from which we barely escaped via the back door...oh wait, sorry, I was back in dream mode there.

Anyway, I promise not to shit-talk any more. The helicopter flew us up to the base of our route, where our gear had been laid out for us and Bhung, our Nepali porter, was brewing tea. OK OK I'll shut up soon.

Driller wanted to free P1 and couldn'tcos the crux was wet. The first 15 feet-- a funky V-slot-- was also wet, but the Driller clambered up the arete to the right of it, at 5.7, and stepped across, so we now have an alternative wet-day start. P1 is 5.10d and easily aided (bolts and #3 Camalot) if the crux is wet.

P2 we decided is 5.9 due to the nice face holds.

P3 AGAIN kicked my ass. Not training is really not paying off.

P4 is 5.10c. Bomber gear, good rests.

P5 is the hardest thing I have ever tried. Massively sequential, miniscule holds, the kind of thing where if you take a hand or foot off to clip, you fall. The top 1/2 of this thing will be 11a or b, the bottom will be 12c or d. Most sane people will pull on bolts for the first bit then free the rest.

We rapped and set a new date: July 11. Till then, we both train like mo-fos-- a bit of endurance is all it will take. "All" and "bit" are like "if"....awfully big small words...stay tuned, folks.

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