Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Wichita Roasting

I don’t know how it happened, I don’t remember when we started talking about it, but Price and I decided to go on a short climbing trip. Sugarite Canyon had been our original goal, but after the weather there looked like it was going to be quite wet, we decided to try out a trip back to the good old Wichita Mountains. We left town at 5:30 and drove Price’s mother’s Honda Accord the short 3 hours to the Narrows parking lot. 

As early as 8:30 it was already uncomfortably hot and by the time we got to the base of The Dihedral, we were wishing the sun would become more secure in its looks and stop trying to look quite as hot. Regardless, we racked up and I lead The Dihedral 5.6 with all but one piece being passive and only using 5 pieces for the 60ft climb. Price followed effortlessly and met me at the chains after following his first trad climb. We rapped down and I started up Crazy Alice 5.8. Since I have done this climb many times, I flew up the two cruxy sections and when I reached the chains after the 60ft pitch, I had placed only four pieces all of which were passive! Price followed, and after some help made it up the odd crux and up to meet me at the top.

We raped down and decided to look for a shade with a bit less sun. Cause after all, no one wants to be looked down upon by a hot person all day. Especially when the hottie is the sun itself. So we packed our gear and headed toward the Lichen Wall. The trail over there was densely overgrown, and since I’d heard stories of how bad the poison ivy was, we were very careful to steer clear of any suspicious looking plants. We arrived at the base of Monkeys Way 5.7 and took a minute to soak our feet in the cool stream.
I started the sketchy traverse out over the water until the route took full effect, climbing in a dihedral to a squeeze chimney far above. The climb was as fun as I had remembered it and I quickly made it to the base of the chimney. I had thought that I would fly through this awkward crux much faster than I had last time because I knew what to expect. It took me a few minutes to squeeze myself inch by inch up the v shaped chimney between two large offwidth cracks. Finally, I made it through and to the chains. Price followed but located an offwidth out right on the face, and was able to bypass the horrible (but awesome) chimney all together. 

We threaded the rope through the chains and rapped down with about 2ft on each end to spare. A short break and some mandatory mandarines later and we were on the trail back to the car to finish the day at Mt. Scott. We drove the 3 miles to the visitors center and bought some ice cold Sunkist before we drove up the mountain to the top of Mt. Scott

We loaded our gear, and walked down the road to the base of Atomic Knee Drop 5.6. Just to break the style of the day, I climbed it using only cams. Price followed, thankful that he didn’t have to remove any more stubborn nuts, and met me at my bomber three piece anchor. We coiled the rope and walked back to the car for the drive home. We kept to tradition and stopped at the Subway in Altus for footlong meatball marinara sandwiches and made it back to Amarillo by about 10 after a great trip to the beautiful Witichitas Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

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