Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Crack Climbing & Sport Leading Instruction #9





This month marks one year that I started on my journey of learning to crack climb. While vacationing in Joshua Tree National Park a year ago, I hired Seth Peitit of Mojave Guides for two days to teach me to crack climb. Not only do I love crack climbing, but I enjoy the process of learning the techniques of crack climbing. Since returning from Joshua Tree NP, I wanted to continue my crack climbing lessons. So every month I drive 70 miles north to Salt Pump Climbing Company in Scarborough, Maine for my lesson with Tino. Tino, the head routesetter, is a "movement guru" and I'm fortunate to take lessons from him. And today I had another super day of lessons with Tino! 

Several months ago I added sport leading to my crack climbing lessons. I find my lessons on sport leading to be really helpful and enjoyable to learn! The lessons give me an understanding and help me get accustomed to the technique necessary in the movement of sport climbing. It includes leading in the 5.6 to 5.8 range and the technique training I come away with has been most invaluable! 

I got my indoor lead cert from a New Hampshire climbing gym several years ago. In order to do so, I had to demonstrate lead and lead belay on a 5.9 route. I lead up to a 5.10 but most times I felt like I was thrashing my way up a route and didn't see any point in continuing. Discouraged, I stopped climbing indoors for a while and that caused me to lose my mindset and an overall interest in sport leading. Learning climbing techniques with Tino has renewed my interest in sport leading/climbing. 

For the crack climbing portion of my lesson, I worked on using and alternating tension in my body in order to climb through the pain and pressure. It was nearing the end of my lesson and I was tired, but super stoked to get up part ways of the overhanging section of the crack! On my next lesson, I'll push through the pain and pressure to climb through that overhanging section and to the top! The one factor that I keep in mind in all my lessons is that technique is uber important in crack climbing as in another other style of climbing. This is what keeps my interest piqued. 

At the end of my lessons, Tino gave me exercises to do to increase my mobility and strength. He also suggested that I keep a climbing journal. So I downloaded the Journey Diary and Journal App, and use that to list all my "light bulb" moments and lesson details to reflect back on. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Warm Up Wall, Farley Ledges - Rock Climbing


Nightfall came too quickly!

Veteran's Day might be our last day of New England rock climbing, so Etha and I headed out to Erving, MA and got in an afternoon of both sport leading and trad leading on the Warm Up Wall! So fun climbing and met a lot of super nice folks at the crag. Special "Mahalo" goes out to Josh who let me borrow his stick clip and showed me how to use it! 








Monday, October 22, 2018

Beginner's Easy Variation - Multi Pitch Rock Climbing



Belaying Nuno up P2 

Congratulations Nancy! It was Nancy's first time on a multi pitch rock climb, and it was a lot of fun to be included on her special day! It was also gratifying to help her experience her first multi pitch rock climb. We climbed Beginner's Easy Variation on Whitehorse Ledge. After we got to the P2 belay at the tree, it started to snow light flurries - and then it just colder! In the middle of P2 I ran into a bit of trouble. 15 feet above my last piece of protection the rope wouldn't budge - it was stuck and I couldn't climb any further. Nuno had slack on his end and said it looked like the ropes were stuck around the corner. I had no choice but to downclimb to my last piece of protection. Then Nuno lowered me to the corner where I removed the pro, unstuck the ropes and flipped them onto the top of the corner. It was fine from then on. But it just kept colder so we bailed after completing P3. We used my 70m double ropes and rapped down in 2. Thanks Nuno for the lead belays and for including me. We'll be back to finish up the route when the temps are warmer.


Belaying Nancy up P1


Belaying Nancy up P2
Nuno at the tree belay


Nancy making her way up P3


Nancy rappelling 





Sunday, October 21, 2018

Beginner's Route - Rock Climbing



At the anchor of Beginner's Route





Well, I sure didn't expect to lead a trad route here at Rumney, but there's always a first time! We headed up to the Parking Lot wall first and Jackie and I both warmed up leading A Week With Pete (5.3). Then Jackie lead the route to the left of it, Shealyn's Way (5.7). 

Photo right: Jackie at the anchor of Shealyn's Way.





Looking down from the Beginner's Route anchor

We headed to the Meadows and was looking at Bolt Line (5.8) when I spotted Beginner's Route (5.5). So I ran down to my truck and grabbed my trad rack. Part way up the route I thought I may not have enough pro and quickdraws....from here I had to manage placing pro to make certain I had two quickdraws left for the anchor. And at the ledge just before the anchors, there was sooooo much rope drag. I realized then I should've brought my alpine draws along to use. I asked Jackie what I should do and she said to take up some rope and carry it up to the anchor. I was sketched out at first, but the footholds were all solid, so I did what she said and finished the climb. Whew! Definitely an onsight!






Afterwards we headed up the the Crow's Nest where I didn't feel like leading Pee Wee's Big Adventure (another trad route), but Jackie crushed Scuttlebutt (5.6).

Photo right: Jackie at the anchor of Scuttlebutt.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Indoor Drytooling - MetroRock Station



My first time Drytooling
The pieces of black squares under some of the holds are rubber

Was supposed to get some climbing/leading done in Bolton, VT but rain prevented that. So I headed to MetroRock Station in Essex Junction, VT and Jackie showed me some “Drytooling” moves! It’s was fun, intense and hard...just like crack climbing!  I can't wait to try this again, but on some real rock! We also did some climbing with Dry Ice Tools. Unfortunately, we had to cut our climbing session short because the climber's chalk and poor air filtration in this gym triggered my asthma.


Jackie crushing it!




We left the gym and headed to the Outdoor Gear Exchange to ogle over the climbing gear. Their consignment basement is huge! Some old pitons and hexes hanging on the wall. Afterwards we had dinner at the Asiana Noodle Shop.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Laughing Gull - Rock Climbing


Redrock, Gloucester
Pano of Main Crag

Super fun, super mellow day of rock climbing at Redrock in Gloucester with Etha! I didn't expect to climb my second 5.11 slab today, but sure glad I did. The start of Laughing Gull was so polished so I started to the left just under the cresent. Found a really good foothold to gain the cresent. Finding holds at the mid-section was definitely challenging. But that left-leaning crack was a sweet finish. 

Etha also didn't expect to climb a 5.12 today, but she did and she killed it! She climbed the Andromeda Direct Start, without even knowing she was doing the Direct - we both hadn't looked at the guidebook or MP beta on this climb. While belaying her I kept telling myself, "this couldn't be a 5.11!" Sure enough, after she finished the climb, we looked it up in the guidebook and got all giddy when we realized that she took the direct start and climbed her first outdoor 5.12 -- Congratulations!

Zipper was a fun layback. I started up the Zipper route climbing it like a crack, but meh, it's more of a flake climb and I quickly had to layback on it. The climb is fun, but way too short. 



Etha also didn't expect to climb a 5.12 today, but she did and she killed it! She climbed 5.12, Andromeda Direct Start, without even knowing she was doing the Direct - we both hadn't looked at the guidebook or MP beta on this climb. While belaying her I kept telling myself, "this couldn't be a 5.11!" Sure enough, after she finished the climb, we looked it up in the guidebook and got all giddy when we realized that she took the direct start and climbed her first outdoor 5.12 -- Congratulations!
Left to right: Andromeda Direct Start (5.12), 
Zipper (5.6), Laughing Gull (5.11)



Toe Jams was an interesting crack. Etha, who lead Toe Jams and is smaller than me, could get her legs including her knee right into the OW section at the start of the climb. She lead it and then I tried to lead it. I found it wasn't going to be as easy as Etha made it out to be. It was too wide for foot jamming, but too narrow to even get my knee into it. As a result, it sketched me out and I backed down. That's the first (and I'm sure not the last) time I ever backed down from a lead climb. I TR'd it afterwards and still found the start sketchy. Near the top is perfect (for me) #2 handjams and smaller. Perhaps having doubles of #3 and #2 to place at the OW beginning may have lessened the sketchy-ness?



Lots of polished surfaces on a lot of these routes, but it was fun to get out to climb before the rain. We had this crag all to ourselves today. Last time I climbed here was 7 years ago. Hoping to get back soon to get on those routes we didn't have a chance to climb.


The top of the Masters Wall from the top of the Main Crag


Along the trail

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Dome, Pawtuckaway - Rock Climbing



Dome Face Right (5.8)

Another stellar day for climbing! This morning Noreen, Nuno and I headed out to The Dome at Pawtuckaway State Park. At first the weather didn't look promising, but forecasts called for afternoon sun. The morning fog did eventually burn off and blue skies warmed up the slab quickly. It was peaceful and we had this crag all to ourselves. 


Nuno setting up top rope


Nuno start, Another Face (5.7)

Noreen on the Pine Tree Crack (5.5)

This crag is perfect for a hammock!


Left: Start on the Half Moon Crack (5.7)
Right: Making my way up the crack in the short corner.



Looking down from the finish, Dome Face Right


The Dome overlooks the marsh that feeds Round Pond


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lower Slabs & Upper Cliff Pawtuckaway - Rock Climbing




Besides having crack climbing goals, I also have goals for climbing steep slab above the 5.8 grade. Today I got a chance to climb my very first 5.11! On a whim, I climbed Thin Face, a 5.11, one pitch route on the Lower Slabs at Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire. It sure was balance-y, finger-y and lock-offs came in handy in several sections, but the climb was so fun!. Slab climbing, what's not to love! *grin* Joined good climbing friends Noreen, Nuno and his son Daniel. We started at the Lower Slabs and then moved to the Upper Cliff. I tried The Horn and it was tough. Had Noreen lower me from the top to see if I could jam the right leaning crack. It's also a bit overhanging! Think I'll stick to leaning cracks on a slab! :-P








Monday, August 6, 2018

Salt Pump Climbing - Indoor Climbing





Noreen and I spent several hours climbing at Salt Pump Climbing gym in Scarborough, ME. Originally we were supposed to climb at the Lower Slabs at Pawtuckaway but with heavy rains for the past 2.5 days and the crag being under tree shade, we cancelled and did some indoor climbing. This gave me a chance to work on the wide crack and Noreen a chance to climb at a gym she's never climbed at. 

In addition to top roping some of the other climbs in the gym, I did 3 runs on the crack route. My second time I made it half way up the crack before having to stop to rest. Working on building more stamina to finish the route in one sweep. Also, I noticed that if I didn't place my feet well, it was painful. If I placed my feet well, there was just pressure. I have to look at where I'm placing my feet, and purposely place them so that the rubber on the side rand makes good contact with the rock surface. I'm learning that It's really important to calculate just how deep or shallow to place my feet in the crack so that I don't experience any pain, and do it as quickly as possible. Having a really great pair of crack climbing shoes (Butora Altura Green) also helps! 
A short clip of my climb on the wide crack


Same climb, another angle - before my iPhone fell over! LOL!


Noreen crushing the 5.9 Pipe Master

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Rose Ledge - Rock Climbing




rose ledge, rock climbing

Met up with Nuno for some craggin' at Rose Ledge in Erving, MA. The last time I climbed here was back in 2015 and I don't remember the hike up to the Main wall at all. Today Nuno and I did some "extra hiking" to get to the crag. ;) But on the way out, we found the trail to be straightforward after all.

Surprisingly, there were no crowds today and Nuno and I pretty much had the Main Cliff to ourselves. Couple of boulderers hiked past, a couple climbed Guillotine, and then left. And there was an AMC group that hiked up to the Amphitheater and back out. A quiet day great for Nuno's first time climbing at Rose Ledge!

Nuno's first experience climbing at Rose Ledge

Greeting Crack (5.4) at Introductory Buttress



Main Wall
Top Left: Tennessee Top Right: Marie Antoinette -Guillotine
Bottom Left: Beginners
Bottom Right: Double Helix - Pumper Pillar - Off Width



Approach Directions:
Park in the lot and pay $3 in locked box on tree. 
Walk uphill to the left fork in the road with a yellow gate. 
Take this paved road uphill until it turns right. 
When the paved road turns right, look left and there should be an opening in guard rails.
Continue through opening in guard rails and follow gravel road slightly right and uphill.
Continue uphill through woods.
Follow until you come to the Rose Ledge trail junction.
Turn right at "Rose Ledge trail" sign. Tree behind trail sign has red blaze and "snowshoe trail" signs on it.
Trail will take you to Introductory Buttress on the left.
Continue along trail to the Main Face.

YouTube Channel - Hawaii Girl Adventures

Check out my YouTube channel at:  Hawaii Girl Adventures I will eventually be phasing out blog posts and be posting videos of my climbing, h...