Monday, July 12, 2010

The send!

Two years.
65 man-days
3 pairs of pruning shears.
1 new rope.
10 fixed lines of varying lengths
1 almost-broken shin
Several hundred cups of coffee
Three near-death experiences
80 bolts
7 chopped bolts

None of this was in my mind as The Driller and I, at the crack of ten, left our little car on the Mamquam, giggled as we shoved headlamps into pockets, and ducked into the forest. Ahead of us lay more like a set of hypotheses to be tested: pitch X was 5.10a, confirm or deny; there were too many bolts on Pitch Y, confirm or deny.

It was a sweltering day, and, well let's not screw around-- blow-by-blows are bring, so here's the highlights. The route goes at 11b A0. You could reduce the grade further by French-freeing the first 15m of P3. We FINALLY sent P3. P8-- the "death block" pitch-- is 11a and may want another bolt. At one point as I was madly grasping at no-falling straws, Driller yelled "LEFT SIDE!" and I realised he was telling me where my chalk bag had rotated to. Now THAT is attentive belaying.

P11 went with one #5 Camalot, but may want another bolt. P14 has one hard 11a move (aidable) and may want another bolt. Driller began madly pawing the rest of my precious water as the cedars turned warmish yellow and the skies deepened in colour. The first ascent's great surprise was that P15-- the undercling-- is not only one of the nicest pitches (great position, hanging right over the entire route) but alos the easiest, at 5.8! The final V-slot pitch-- 55 meters-- took everything I had. Dehydrated, exhausted and deeply concerned that we wouldn't make Starbucks' closing time, I injdulged myself with a whole lot of stemming trickery and self-pitying grunts and made it up the awesome 10c pitch.

We topped out at 10pm exactly. 16 pitches, one 60-meter 5th-class scramble in the dark, and one utterly quiet Second Summit, wind whistling and stars mixed with glowing clouds, and the first ascent of La Gota Fria was complete.

I am still too fried to say anything much...except, thanks to the Driller, Napoleon, Mom, Larisa and Jen, and of course...GO CLIMB OUR ROUTE!

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