Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shuteye, Sept 3-5

I've been climbing a lot recently, enough such that I'm not even really unpacking my stuff, and I'm feeling rushed to get blog posts done before another trip starts.  If I don't get my post done before another trip starts, I'll certainly never write it.  I'm going to bang this one out before I head off to Tuolumne this Friday.  Here goes!

Ok, so clearly, I didn't fulfill that previous paragraph's goal.  Yikes.

Sahara picking an appropriately sized branch.

Scott and I drove out to the remote and utterly beautiful Shuteye Ridge area on Saturday morning, caravaning with his friends Rob and Julie and their dog Sahara.  Sahara likes to carry large sticks while approaching climbs, sticks that are far too large for a dog to carry.  The drive continued up rutted out forest roads until we reached a nice clearing below Big Sleep and Crocodile.

Rob on a 5.9 or 5.10a or so at Crocodile

Scott and I started off on a "5.10" at Crocodile.  It deserves quotes because it wasn't a was 11b.  That is not a warmup for me, and surprisingly, Scott took a small lead fall on it.  Crocodile had some nice single pitch sport routes, most of which had sections with loose, abrasive and unappealing rock.  We lead a bunch of easier climbs, and I top roped some hard ones, including a roof with some hilariously loose flakes that will be coming off really soon.  On the way back to camp, Scott and I sent a nice v1 that could be a first ascent.  Ya know, fuck it.  I'm gonna call it "Wide Eyed".  I'm claiming my territory. 
Scott trying the sit start (probably v4-ish) to the uber-classic new bouldering problem Wide Eyed (v1)

Day two started with hazy directions to an awesome and remote crag.  After misreading poorly signed dirt roads, and making wrong turns, we ended up on the way, which entailed major off-roading appropriate for only the most prepared vehicles.  Needless to say, Scott didn't want to break an axle in the middle of nowhere, so we backed up the steep slope, tires skidding and 4 wheel drive kicking ass.

Scott utilizing the Beamer's 4wd to escape the horrendous roads

We chose a 3 mile hike with 2000 feet of elevation gain, which we thought would lead to Grey Eagle or one of the other domes near the main Shuteye area.  It was a painful hike, but luckily we had Emitt along.  He is a funny dog.  He likes to eat cake (a cheap red velvet cake I bought at Safeway) and pounce around in the manzanita bushes like a dog on a pogo stick with a mission to catch small critters none of us can see.  Luckily, he is a laid back crag dog, and sleeps in the shade with we party on the rocks, which was the case when we reached.  We got some more well-protected sport climbing in high on the ridge, but this time the holds were solid and the texture was friendly.

Julie leading a 5.9
The last day started with a stuffed up nose from the excessive dust and dry heat.  Scott and I make the short hike up to Big Sleep and scoped the routes, finding nothing until I spotted a single bolt, which we guessed was for Afternoon Nap (5.7).  It had a wonderful mixture of spicy runouts, solid grippy slab, runnel stemming, dike climbing, and chicken head grabbingt.  The one down side was the lack of protection where we probably only had 20-30 pieces of pro for the entire 1000 feet.  Regardless, the cruxes were reasonably well protected, but it still had us gasping on good rests in order to collect our mind for the next runout.
Me pondering the early runouts on Afternoon Nap (5.7)

I'm excited to visit Shuteye again.  It'd be fun to put up some lines on the untapped rock, which in the Sierras is quite abnormal.  At least now we know why this place is so under-climbed.  Big hikes, bad roads, primitive camping, and long drives all detract from visitors, but it keeps the place feeling pleasantly unspoiled.
Sunset from our campsite

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