I put this on ST, but it was on page 2 and heading to infinity as it's a climbing related thread and they all want to discuss politics and complain about random things. It was also a shakedown cruise (part 2) of the new Cilogear mfg Big Wally backpack, designed and improved to be optimized for rock climbing from the old excellent Ray Olsen design.
Here's some pictures Kyle Silverman took of Ujahn him and I doing the GFA of "Bride of Wyde". I named it Bride of Wyde because you don't actually get forced to do some of the classic wide moves like chickenwings: which is a good thing as the route leans to the right and would be sick hard. Lots of grunting is still called for, both Kyle and Ujahn had cloven hoof slips while following, which only gave me some small measure of satisfaction as they are both in so much better shape than I. Wearing the kneepads may be aid, as I got a couple of good spots of knee baring in there someplace. I have crappy knees though, so it's nice to keep them that way and not to have to downgrade them to :"total crap knees".
I swung by and borrowed Cilogears new prototype Big Wally backpack before we left. Here's the gear with Cilogear's pack to the right in my living room. I wasn't suppose to be doing this route this weekend anyway. My wife had decided to have a get together on Saturday to celebrate my son going away and told me Thursday I had to get home early to help out. We'd been planning on a real serious project for weeks which had to get scrapped for this deal instead. Of course I tried the usual whining and complaining but it fell on deaf ears. I was pretty good with this one after the fact though, and she was happy I was uncommonly home by 2pm! That other projects will stay there until I'm ready anyway.
The pry bar got made by an old friend Keith Litchfield 30 years ago or so when I was doing concrete construction and it still get's used in rockclimbing route prep. Keith lives in Ballard now, and surprisingly popped into my house the other day with his family after 6-7 years absence to say hi etc. The water bottle is a liter and a half sized, and the drill is the biggest cordless Bosch 36v to give you some idea of scale here.
Here's the lid, still big but in fact better as Graham has improved on the original.
Then I have to get my climbing shoes, ice axe and pistol still in the basement and are still yet to get loaded. I chose to leave the pistol in the car for the climb, I already had too much weight. Side note for Ron, this is a Wilson Combat Protector in stainless steel, oh baby, it's as smooth as butter on the trigger! Groups could be tighter *cough* cough* , but I suspect it's the shooter, not the tool.
Here it is in the basement with the lid open. All that stuff in the top picture except the pry bar is inside of the pack, the axe and shoes are about to get stuff inside but not the pistol. Plenty of room left, I woulnd up taking a rope and putting it on top to top it off. I was real real heavy at that point. Ready for some serious ankle breaking talus walking.
We'd seen this last year. The wider, near body width line of the right.
It's a real obvious line, but I didn't have gear then and didn't want to top rope it. Just getting to the top would have been a mini expedition any way. Over the winter I bought the gear I thought I'd need (and then some), Silverman was cracking up as he was pointing out that the #4 Big Bro, the only one which wasn't used on this route, still had a sale price tag on it: $76.00
Let me start by saying that I've always found offwidths and squeeze chimneys very distasteful. I've done a few anyway, mostly due to stupidity I believe. That 50 classics in Lovers Leap, Travelers Buttress, for instance, was downgraded 2 stars in my mind due to that squirming thing you have to do to send the route. Part of my issue is that early on I'd never owned any wide gear, #4 Friend being the largest cam of mine. Later I bought some Chouinard tube chocks. So I never really did any wide stuff. It's very physical and not graceful, and I don't like the movement necessary to get it. I've done up to 5.9 but it tended to be runout, which is another issue as well as it's then usually a scary proposition.
I spent the winter accumulating the gear for this climb. It was not too long ago I realized I still hadn't sent, or even tried it yet and year was winding down! I fully expected to be falling on this route, but hidden holds and and odd side pull or hold inside the wide worked the magic
and cruised it with the usual grunting. That’s why I over protected it. That and I'm a twat. Got tired of carrying those heavy cams, so when I got to the wide I plugged them in anyway, and they were close to each other, although they were really not needed.
Ujahn belaying, all pics by Kyle Silverman.
At this point I realize I have a lot of weight!
Didn't have to pull any roots.
Note Olvesky follow though on the knot.
They say kneepads, tape and shoes are aid....no tape, left it behind in the car on purpose:-) If there is a star of this show, it's the Cilogear pack. I had hopes that Russ would have cranked this out years ago, but he didn't. Hopefully Cilogear comes out with a full on production of it. Graham only let me take it out for a shake down so that he could get some feedback and iron out the kinks. He had some things he was going to improve, one was that he didn't like the shoulder straps. Well, my original Big Wally has damn awesome straps, so I was prepared to hate these. Furthermore, that prybar, last month at another cliff, had worked me so hard that both shoulders are still in pain, fortunately, the left one is coming along and that was the side that was getting crammed into the crack and doing the most work it seemed, but the right one still screams. Looking at the pics, I see it got utilized more than I thought. I'm typing on Ibuprofen right now cause it hurts so bad (insert endless old people noises and complaints here about that). Picking up and swinging a 50 some odd weight pack isn't any easy thing to do in full bloom and health, and although I do give the nod, by a slight margin to my old Wallys straps, these were pretty damn good. I also put all my stuff on top of the hip belt Graham had tossed inside, and found the belt only after the fact. So add that positive into that equation. With a hip belt there will be even less weight onto the shoulder straps. Graham has a bigtime winner here. The material on this pack will outlive you, I don't care how young you are.
Here it is with all that crap in the first picture, wide cams, bolt gun, hammer, aiders, 2 sets of jugs, coat, harness, shoes, food blah blah blah blah blah, and a 60m rope inside of a Metolius backpack style rope bag strapped on top as well.
This pack is the shizz™. Maybe that should be the name?
Anyway, since I didn't kill myself, here's some totally random thoughts. I'm thinking I could have done this in better style. It's easy to get cocky and talk excrement just sitting at a key board and typing though (*cough*and drinking some wine*cough*cough). But I'd have left the fucking boat anchors on the deck and just run it out. Chuck Pratt's probably somewhere pissing himself laughing at my weakness. Sorry Kasper, the valley giants were way overkill for this route, I could have plugged the #6 and fired ...we'll, maybe if I wasn't such a puss*y. For some reason this site turns the word P.u.s.s.y into Twat? Hmmm, maybe I am a twat and not a P.u.s.s.y. I shouldn't be mentally preparing to fail either, I ran up this fucker and then both my buddies, who sport washboard abs and are 20+ years younger were sucking O's anyway as well. (OK, I worked hard too) My main thought is that I've always hated wide stuff cause I never had the pro for it till recently, and avoided it for that reason. Not climbing means no experience and no experience means you are a beginner at it, not an expert. Something difficult to wrap ones mind around when you've been climbing on rock for over 35 years. Now that I'm old and heavy, that's another reason to hate the sh*t I guess.
Still, I'll probably seek some of that crap out, to see if the enjoyment I experienced just walking up and firing the Bride can transfer over next time to another route.
Later all, climb safe.