Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adventure Journal: Pickets, Day 3

A light wind flutters over the col as the stove kicks to life in the tent. "Is it four?"
I ask. A simple "yep" comes from Dan. In the darkness we pack our bags for another day in paradise. We hope to climb Pyramid Peak, Degenhardt, Terror, and the Rake, the latter an especially long and challenging route.

Dan climbing beautiful stone on Pyramid Peak

Dan strings up Pyramid finely, making smart route finding choices and using good beta from our friend Wayne. Without stress, Sol and I follow through golden cracks, overlaps, and chicken heads. The climbing unfolds in an unlikely and beautiful manner.

Dan rides the ridge on Day three

"I'll take the rope"
"I've got the rack on me"
"You want to shoulder the slings?"

Myself on the summit of Terror

We break down our system and scramble over Degenhardt. Only ridge top boulder hopping seperates us from Terror. Arriving at the base of the East Face (of Terror) we chose a route through the loose swath. Sol decisevely weaves through the choss up a yellow brick road of incuts and blocks. "No terror on Terror today." The lame summit jokes barely escape our lips before we are scratching down the descent.

"How can we not find a way down!"I say with frustration. "Slings over here!" Sol yells from a gully away. Time is lost as we screw around on what should have been an easy descent. "Should not have made that 'No terror on Terror' joke" I think to myself.

Climbing into the sunset on The Rake

We are finally at The Rake. I know it's late in the day, but I have been saving my energy for this final push. Dan hands me some water as Sol clips cams to my harness. I take off up a wild pitch that ends in a 50 foot runout straight left into a gully. The 5.9 moves make me giddy, but I know the homies at the belay face a dangerous follow. Luckily, we devise a cool rope trick and they free climb safely through the dangerous section.

Dan on The Rake

Without a break I run the rope out 160 feet and place a cam right before Dan begins to simul behind me. Criss-crossing over a beautiful arete I focus on stretching our simul blocks as far as possible. Despite the darkness the climbing is solid and fun. I follow a nice flow through towers and over ledges. The terrain is not complex. Follow the ridge under a rising moon.

Sol on The Rake

"We're there!" I shout. Two headlamps bump towards my stance. Dan hands me a knife and I cut some tat, slinging a pointy horn. One single rope rap nestles us in our wildest bivy yet. Stars burn through the sliver of sky we can see as we chop a snow ledge for the tent. What a cool place!

Dan and Sol on The Rake

Day four on the way...

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