Saturday, September 24, 2011

More New Granite Routes

The new SDS drill bits for drilling 'harder' material seem to work very well in the Cody granite. Inspired by easy pickens, I decided to re-equip an old route from the early 90's. A strange tale this one, it was there in 1993 when I first started climbing and then it wasn't. Without going into too much detail, the route was stripped by the first ascentionist due to questionable rock quality. I have seen (and climbed on) some pretty good routes put in on some pretty shady choss over the years, so I figured stringing a rope into the existing anchor and having a look for myself wasn't such a bad idea. I took the drill for this little recon, of course, and in about 3 hours had equipped and cleaned the longest line at the Island. The top was really good reddish granite which is always quite solid and featured. The bottom third however, was black basalt which is always blocky and hollow. I pried off the offending hollowness and scrubbed the solid core rock to produce an awesome moderate. Big Ben .10d is 10 clips and 95 feet long.

I was lured back to the Single Malt Wall for another slam dunk quick and easy moderate between the Bowmore and the Angels Share roof. I knew the line was there but just needed to look at it up close. It is essentially a second pitch to Glen Morangie or an alternate finish to The Bowmore and goes at .10/+. I called it The Ardbeg which is one of my all-time favorite Islay Single Malts. I climbed it as one long pitch from the Bowmore beginning without too much rope drag and tried to do the same beginning on Glen Morangie but the rope was quite heavy by the end. It is probably better to do it as two pitches when starting on Glen Morangie.

Getting two long but easy routes in made me long for some suffering. No not really. Though many of the lines I want to do in the Lower Canyon require a ground up approach and that is a LOT more work and a very slow process. I launched up onto a short angular fin on the left wall under the big chockstone and was excited to find great slopers and pinches. The route took two sessions to completely equip and clean and produced a unique compression style climb that finishes in a chimney. Climbing it was more difficult than I expected but boiled down to one stopper move on a terrible slopey pinch. I managed to send it on my third try and realized that although it is good engaging climbing the whole way, it really was only the one hard move. The Art of War .11d is a very cool and different route that may or may not be graded right. Its kinda steep and somewhat slopey with an awkward finish curling into the chimney to clip the anchor. Marc and Jason were with me the day I sent it, but I couldn't convince either of them to try it, I think they were a bit intimidated.

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