Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Motherload of Climbing.

I have stories to tell, but not time yet to tell them. In the meantime, the pictures snapped from the four cameras that made the journey are rolling in and ready to start telling the tale. This story is the fine line between rock scrambling and free soloing that started to dissolve somewhere along the way.

Most of the day was spent going up and down large rocks, rock walls and gullys. At each cliff edge, whoever arrived first would inevitably get the yell "is it doable?" We took a rope but never used it and by the end of the day, our bar for "climbable" became a lot higher than when we started. When you are climbing without ropes, it is essential to never panic and to always be 100% focused once you have left the ground. Oh and don't look down or stare out into the white abyss either. Don't think too much either. Seriously. You will freak yourself out and it will take all your friends coaxing you to start climbing again.

One thing you quickly learn is that going up is much easier than coming down so once you commit to a climb, it is wise not to need to turn around and retreat. This means you find a way to keep going up, until you can go do further and you will have your summit. Then you just have no choice but to find a way down. Once you commit to a steep wall which is passable up but in no way passable down, the tingly sensation of excitement and dread in your stomach warns you that there is no turning back now. This was so much more heightened when you could only see the immediate climb in front of us due to the white blanket of fog. It was an indescribable feeling. Nervous? Who was nervous? I always worried more about getting off each summit than getting up them.

Most of these pictures are from Martin, who carried his very nice and very heavy camera the whole day to bring us high quality shots on the go. We appreciate the effort by the skinny Bulgarian toughman.

Tom was an early billy goat leading most of the climbs in the worse conditions.

Martin tops out with nothing but white behind him.

I down climbed this wall and which was a little nerve wracking to say the least. Shortly after, almost got stuck on a rock which started to break off the wall... freaky.

Sarah was a master navigator, and the only one that seemed to have an internal compass built in even in complete white out.

Notice there is not a lot of vegetation...except cactus. We had competitions to see who could put their hand in more cactus on each climb...this was not a family friendly activity.

Angel is a little monkey...watch her scamper. This was actually a very steep climb with deep exposure to the great white abyss.

Sometimes going sideways on a 5 inch ledge is harder than going up and down.

Finally at the top of peak 2 after five hours of work. I don't look tired or anything...nope not at all.

I promise to get to the stories at some point, before they get pushed out of my head by anatomy cramming.

*I just had a visual of stupid anatomy drawings getting pounded into one ear while beautiful memories of hike were shoved out the other.

3 comments:

DEANNA STOPPLER said...

Nice pictures. How did the knee hold up? Was it hot (you had a long sleeve on)?

Mike S. said...

i miss hanging out with you guys... not that i'd do that climb though :)

la chaser said...

Knee was good...no issues. Wore the brace and by the end, by other knee seemed more sore than the surgery one. It wasn't hot at first, but it was super muggy so always seemed warm. I am not used to humidity. I mostly wore the shirt because of the bushwacking and climbing on rough rock. Every form of plant on these mountains as some form of thorn or needle sticking out of it for protection.