Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Long Awaited Outdoor Climb at The Grotto, Nov 30

It has been since early August since I last climbed outdoors, so I was very excited as we made the drive out to Table Mountain early in the morning.  It was a nice big crew joining along as we greeted the horses at the parking lot and made the long approach to the cliffs.  We climbed a bunch of trad routes I had done before, and I finally lead a climb on Ort Wall across the way.  It felt very gym like and easy for a 10b.  Best of all, I finally got a burn on AC Devil Dog after years of wanting to try it.  First, I belayed Cori up it, who finished it, making it her hardest outdoor climb yet.  I didn't feel up to leading it given the insecure nature, so I went for it on top rope, having 1 fall, and slapping a lot of arete edges.

After a while at the cliffs, Chris and I headed up to Welcome Wall to setup an 11b, Uncle Remus.  Chris was rock solid on lead until the last move, where he took several short lead falls.  Upon finish it, he was sketched out by the anchor, which was fine for top roping, but would prove to be sketchy for rappelling due to the very rusted lap links.  As it got dark, I went past lichen covered holds, piles of bird shit, and surprisingly interesting moves before struggling through the crux.  The anchor proved to be as bad as Chris had said, and as I fiddled with leaving a biner and sling to backup the bad chain, I got several face fulls of rust dust.  Needless to say, I was happy to be back on the ground after my rappel.

We hiked out in the dark, admiring the clear skies and stars that we normally don't see in the Bay Area.  We stopped in Oakdale for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that served portions 2-3 times larger than expected.  Needless to say, we had leftovers.