Blah, blah, blah...
Given that Idaho climbing was kind to us two weeks earlier, Shirley & I headed back to the spud state over the 3-day Independence Day Weekend. Our intended climb was the well-reputed Astro Elephant (IV 5.10-) route on the Elephants Perch. We wanted to do this climb three years earlier but after talking to a party (fresh off the climb) in camp, we chickened out and did the Sunrise Book instead. The talk of thin and run-out face climbing high up on the route was still on our minds as we ate dinner in camp the night before the climb last weekend. Armed with AJones’s great beta and having read other TR’s online (cascadeclimbers one and Brad’s TR), we figured that at least route finding would not be an issue.
As Shirley has been leading stronger than me lately, we swapped leads all the way. Indeed, I believe Shirley got the toughest technical pitch of the route (pitch 2, where my fat ass fell on TR) while I got the chest-hair-promoting lead up higher. The climbing was sustained in the 5.9 range with occasional spikes in difficulty. The rock was perfect all the way. Maybe I relaxed a bit too early (or maybe I’m retarded) but I screwed up route finding just below the top (where one should not really mess up) which cost us an additional 2 pitches, some C1 sections and an A0-penji to regain our line. There are likely other mentally deficient climbers like me out in the world as I found some fixed gear on my little deviation. We topped out though our time was nowhere near as fast as AJones & GCutforth mention in their nice TR.
On the third day, we woke up at the ass crack of dawn to catch the 9am shuttle boat and in turn to make Portland before 7pm to pick up Blondie from the doggie motel. A great line and a great weekend was had by all (…well, except for Blondie who was stuck at the kennel with her gimp paw).
Many thanks to AJones for great beta & for mailing us some older published material a while back.