Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Local Projects and Octano-no

A quick update on the Octagon: the BLM has identified a potential archaeological issue presenting an access problem. Hopefully this is a temporary moratorium and will be sorted out soon. Until the situation can be resolved climbers have been asked to refrain from visiting this area.

Due to this obvious redirect, my attentions have shifted back into bolt mode on the home front. The Granite in the lower canyon has been nagging at me to establish more lines, so drill I must. I am not seeking out the fractured protectable weaknesses but the steeper face lines requiring bolt protection. I have one two pitch line which is now fully bolted and a single pitch line as well. Both climbs seem to be of good quality but are still a little dirty as this billion year old basement rock tends to be. Hopefully a final cleaning mission on each line to remove some dust and dirt and clean the exfoliated 'potato' chip sections and they'll be ready to go. Properly cleaned Cody granite routes tend to be popular as evidenced by the traffic at the Island, so I'm hoping this new crag and its lines will be well received too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Visit to the Octagon

With my good friends Kevin and Alli leaving for the Red River Gorge soon, I wanted to get one more visit to the Octagon in while I still had tour guides. Its amazing the amount of work Kevin puts into each one of the routes he has established there, and there are quite a few now. The cave has 7 routes now, all with fixed chain link draws. Many of these lines have multiple anchors due to length and varying difficulty. One of the newer unfinished routes is nearly 45 meters long. It has an anchor after 10 clips of 45 degree tugging, and a higher finish 10 more clips and several roofs later. These king lines will check in deep in the 5.14 range.

Fortunately for me the grades start at 12c in the cave proper and slowly work their way up granting me some possible future sends. I ticked off another Prelim Wall route, one which I had tried before on a cold day. American Psycho 12a/b, starts with a dyno and climbs gently overhung shelves to gain another dyno right at the end. It seems to be easier for taller climbers as the grips are generally widespread. I had tried two climbs in the cave on a previous visit, the Dean of Mean 12d and Mini Shark 12c, and had my sights set on the Dean for this day. Alli had sent her project Rush 13b and was checking out Mini Shark. As I sat and watched, I got so jacked to give it a whirl, I changed my plans and hopped on it. It reminded me so much of the lip traverse boulder problems we have in Cody and things went relatively smoothly. The 35 foot long Mini Shark is just a precursor to Muscle Shark 13+ and The Thrashing Machine 5.14, which look amazing!

The Dean of Mean being the real goal for the day was a struggle even though every single hold is enormous. I was spent by the time I reached the only testy move which is near the top of the climb. A half-assed jump for a slopey jug left me swinging from the end of the rope. I figured I was done and was going to call it a day when Kevin urged one more go. This time I was much more confident and felt relaxed at the top. This time I hit the big sloper all the way up to my wrist and began an agonizingly slow slide which unfortunately never stuck and after what felt like ten seconds of slipping, I was in the air again. I'll definitely try to exact some revenge next time and then move on to Fight of the Night 13a. Here is a video of Kevin running a lap on this crazy jug haul.