Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Second Roasting of the Witchita's

Noon on Monday I was at roasters just passing some time when Casey and Hillary came in to study and enjoy some of the great coffee. We started talking, and Casey threw out the idea of going climbing for a day and a half in Oklahoma after his test Tuesday. I didn't really have anything to do so I hastily agreed to this wonderful idea. 

Wednesday afternoon Casey and Hillary picked me up and we raced toward the Witchita's to climb for a few hours while there was still sunlight. We decided to warm up on Atomic Knee Drop. Casey and Hillary soon fished the climb and threw down the rope (I didn't feel like climbing it since I had done it two days earlier). I racked up while they walked down and prepared to climb Atomic Elbow Drop 5.8 (which we didn't know anything about). The climb, which looked really cool from the ground, turned out to be a huge disappointment. The only fun part was about 15ft long and the rest was not fun looking at all. So after I climbed through the short 5.8 crux I decided to just down climb the entire route (only 25ft). 

We coiled the rope and headed around the corner to climb Roof Crack 5.10. Casey started up, but after placing a cam above the roof, was unable to climb past it and lowered down. I tied in to try my hand at it and climbed to the base of the roof basically on top rope. At first, I attempted to climb out the roof and get past the cam which was ridiculously in the way of getting anything close to a good jam. Getting my hand in the crack without pinching the rope was hopeless and I was forced to have Casey take. 

I assessed the situation for a moment, then had Casey give me some slack while I pulled on a cam a bit lower in the crack. This allowed me to unweight the problem cam and retrieve it. I lowered a few feet and proceeded pulling out of the roof and onto the face using some bomber hand jams where the cam had been. I continued to the top and Casey informed me that he did not intend to follow. 

This posed a bit of a problem because it meant that the only way to clean all our gear from the route was going to be for me to rappel past the overhang to the base and hike back to the top to pick up the rope and whatever gear I used for an anchor. 

I threw some gear in and started rappelling. The anchor I was forced to use threw my weight far right of our route making it quite hard to swing over and retrieve the gear. After a few minutes, I made it to the ground will all our stuff save the top anchor and the rope. 

By then it was pretty dark, so I asked Hillary and Casey to collect my pack and stuff as I ran around to the top of the climb to get the anchor and rope. I along the base of the cliff to our packs and thoughtfully grabbed my headlamp from my pack as I scurried up the slope to the top. I quickly scrambled across the top of the cliff jumping from boulder to boulder until the use of the headlamp was necessary. Finally I found the rope and began pulling up both strands. After about 15' the rope got stuck and there was nothing I could do to free it. I tried and tried to yank the rope outwards and free it, but all my attempts proved useless.

My only option at that point was to rappel down again, free the rope, and either ascend the rope or take the long hike back to the anchor. I threw on my reverso and carefully started down the cliff. Almost completely dark at that point, I rappelled past the roof and struggled to free the rope which was deeply caught in a crack. I pulled the rope out and flaked all the rope beneath me onto a sling so it would get caught a I ascended back to the anchor. It was a bit of a struggle to get over the roof, but I made it past and back up to the anchor. 

Not wanting to have to deal with coiling the rope there, I just scooped up the rope in bunches and hoped that it wouldn't get too tangled.  After cleaning the anchor, I stated scrabbling up the giant boulders to get to the truck parked somewhere above. By that time, Casey had found a light and had come looking for me. We met up and we navigated through the massive boulders and the large crevasses between them, at times jumping as far as 6th over crevasses big enough to ruin your day for sure (this was harder for me since I had to use one hand to carry the clump of rope at all times, but still having my climbing shoes on made the scrambling easier for me than it was for Casey). After a few minutes we met Hillary at the truck and drove down to Camp Doris for the evening. A quick meal later and we were all in our tents attempting to ignore the blazing heat along with it's horrible humidity. 

The next morning, we awoke and headed to The Narrows. My suspicions a few days before were confirmed when Casey also noted the mass amounts of poison ivy everywhere. Basel was a bit less careful with it than we were so I spent the rest of the day avoiding him like the plague. Casey started the day on Crazy Alice which Hillary and I both climbed on top rope. With the top rope already set up, I decided to go ahead and try to climb Dr. Coolhead 5.10 (very slabby).  I made it after falling many times and was very glad to have climbed this scary R/X climb on top rope. Casey gave it a few goes but kept slipping off the polished crux (it was a bit hotter when he tried so that prolly had something to do with it). This meant that I would have to climb something in order to retrieve the anchor and rappel the route. 

So I used this opportunity to re-climb the crux of Leap Frog 5.10a which I had done a year before. The climb was as fun as I had remembered it, though it was much easier this time. After i rappelled, Casey grabbed the sharp end and started up The Dijedral in order to access The Flying Nun 5.9 which we hadn't done before. I followed this super fun climb an we simul-rappelled back to the ground. Due to the heat none of us were motevsted to climb any more so we packed our gear and heade out. Just before we got back we encountered a baby rattler on the trail. After shooing him off, we reached the truck and ate at Subwy in Altus before heading home after a great trip climbing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
I love life and aspire to be all I can be in everything that I do.