Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To the Leap!

Trip Report – Lover's Leap
July 2009
Guest Blogger: Kenneth Davenport

Our good friend Kenneth and some of his fellow climbing buddies headed up to Lover's leap this past month. He spent the time taking a newbie on trad, and climbing some sweet 5.10 climbs. They experienced all sorts of situations, and it seems like they had a blast doing it! The Leap always brings an adventure with unpredictable weather, lines at the routes, stellar climbs, and more. Below, Kenneth describes their adventure in his own words-

The infamous stretcher

On Friday evening Chris drove up and got a campsite- however there were still some available on Saturday morning. Joss, James, Sarah, and I arrived late and bivvied.On Saturday Chris led Pop Bottle with Joss and myself following, then we futzed about figuring out whether to do Haystack in the hottest part of the day with two parties of two ahead of us already. We ran into a Seth (with dog Annie) and a Chad who work at Marmot, and we discussed options for short climbs.

Kenneth climbing

We all went to Surrealistic Pillar and I decided that I wanted to lead it. It was fun and challenging, but I bootied a UK nut on the way up. I went way past the first belay and ended up on top of a choss pillar. It turns out there were spots to build an anchor either there or 50 ft of down climbing below. The sky was looking bloated, and Chris decided that if it started raining she would not climb. She let Joss go, and by the time she got up to where I was, we were getting horizontal rain. With zero percent chance of precipitation in the forecast!! I rearranged the anchor with minimal cams and nuts and leaver biners, and we rapped off. Joss was a little nervous since she'd never rappelled before but I walked her through it. We auto blocked her setup, gave her gloves, and with Chris giving a her a fireman's belay, she got down safely. I pulled one of my cams from the anchor and left a solid .75 C4 and the bootied nut, and rapped down.

Chris climbing

When we got back to camp we ran into folks Topher knew (and we recognized from the gym). The Marmot dudes also came by with a couple sixers to share. I passed around the bourbon and we sat under trees to chillax, lament, play with Annie, take pictures, and set up tents before heading to the Strawberry Lodge for dinner. Cooking outdoors in the rain didn't sound appealing at this point. By the time we were finished eating however, the rain had stopped.

Who wants to boulder?

Chris and I woke up early Sunday to retrieve my gear off Surrealistic Pillar, and we found a party of three ahead of us on it at the first belay station. We hollered at 'em that we needed to bail yesterday and left gear, and not to touch it, and they acknowledged. I let Chris lead the first pitch, since we now knew where the first belay was. It was a heady pitch and Chris took her time but nailed it. Joss showed up for moral support and a photo op while Chris was setting the anchor.


I led the rest of the climb, bootied my own gear (humming the Final Fantasy battle victory music as I did so), down-climbed back down the chosspile, watched a lizard of a climber leading an impressive-looking .11something nearby, traversed around the arete, and ran the hell out of the last 150 feet of 5.5 dike-hiking. I think I set 3 or 4 pieces and slung a horn though. I barely had enough rope to build an anchor in a safe spot at the top.

Kenneth busting a move

After topping out we went back to camp, packed up, ate avocado, brie and tomato on flat bread, moved crap to the car, and hiked up to the Main Wall to look at stuff. James and Sarah tried an 5.11a sport route on Tombstone Ledge and lobbed off a couple times before calling it done. Before that they'd talked me into leading a 5.10a sport route called Arctic Breeze. I flashed it and Chris, Sarah and I ran laps on it afterward. After the long hike down, we bade farewell to Chris and headed to Z Pies before the long drive home. YUM!**

Lovers's Leap by Joss

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