SP Affiliation: Craig Peer, Dragger, Kiwifzzz, Misha, Peak Freak, Dankras, Haylxy, Bonita
Other Affiliation: EIR Wrangler, Cathy, Liz, Eric C., Adrienne, Justin, Shirley
When I saw the last line of the description of the approach for this weekend’s climbing adventure, I laughed out loud, but did not fully grasp at the time what was in store. It read: “Phone if you get lost - ask for The Lord Mayor of Partytown.”
It was a weekend of some impressive climbing – not so much for the grandeur of the climbs, but more the spirit with which we climbed, and of course, our very stunning first ascent of “Boas and Tutus” on The Living Room Wall, in Partytown, California.
We gathered an impressive crew of SP’ers and SheClimber’s to do some climbing at Lovers' Leap and at “Partytown”. We were truly an interesting assemblage on this trip – a few solid leaders, a few beginners, one of us with a foot injury, one quite sick, two support crew and myself. The one main thing that all our team members shared in common was their connection to DOA (Decadent Outdoor Adventurers)…
A few notable points of interest to share about our climbs at the Leap. In our two days there, twice we climbed in parties of three, twice as parties of four. I don’t believe we won any awards for distance or speed on those days, but we had a darn good time and were off to a solid start. To the cheers of my teammates, I successfully did my second and third leads – all three pitches of Knapsack Crack (5.5) on Hogsback and the first pitch of Haystack (5.6) on the East Wall! (Great, fun climbs in my humble opinion.) Several of our first-time outdoor climbers also did a fabulous job seconding Deception, Harvey’s Wallbangers, Pop Bottle and Scimitar, (or thirding and fourthing as the case might have been). A memorable moment on the last climb of the second day: the belayer, Cathy, called off from the belay station “Lord Mayor of Party Town, you are ON BELAY!” The crew at the base of the climb was quickly reminded of why we were there - to have way too much fun on the crag! Yes, I can say quite confidently that we had a great couple days of good climbing and top-notch company. And with that, all of us returned safely, happily and hungrily to base-camp.
Ah yes, our beloved base-camp at Partytown, with its lesser-known crag, The Living Room Wall. This small crag offers few crowds, an easy approach, good parking, hot showers, great food, a fully equipped movie room, good wine and a fully-stocked, super-classy wine cellar to boot… I heard rumours that the original route on The Living Room Wall was a 5.10a, though not ever having climbed it, I was not sure if our team was fully prepared for this first ascent…
When we set up camp the first night in Partytown, I was surprised to see that some of our crew had indeed brought the additional gear we had discussed. While planning our trip, there was some talk of pink tutus, pink and black feather boas, high heels and party dresses. From this, emerged our amazing ascent up The Living Room Wall decked out in “fancy climbing gear”.
Yes friends, The Living Room Wall is exactly what it sounds like – a climbing wall in Craig (Lord Mayor of Partytown) Peer’s living room. He and his wonderful wife, who I will call “EIR Wrangler”, very kindly hosted our entire group in their home for the Canada Day (for us Canadians, Eileen, who came all the way from Vancouver for the festivities, and myself!) and the July 4 long weekend. He even set up two portaledges for “big wall training” for a few of us. And yes, we did successfully complete the first ascent of The Living Room Wall on the new route “Boas and Tutus”.
This was truly my first time experiencing a climbing wall in a beautiful living room - you could belay from the couch, anchor yourself to the armchair and have the drink of your choice in hand! EIR Wrangler, our gracious hostess, was the first up for this climb, decked out in the tutu, a boa and a tiara. Myself, I chose my black full-length lace dress (used the chest harness) and pink boa. Misha, who’d been down and out for the last couple of weeks, who could not even get out of bed for the wine-tasting trip on July 4 (yes, he was feeling THAT sick!), climbed the wall, but not without his tissue box on a sling…
The most impressive climbs in my opinion were by Carolyn (Dragger) and Etsuko (Kiwifzzz). The “original route” might have been a VERY soft 5.10a, but let me tell you, in high heel pumps or a foot in a cast, that climb lived up to at least a 5.10a if not higher. Carolyn, being the amazing climber she is, can tell you that heels are not great for heel hooks but are actually okay for edging – go figure! No one thought that climb was possible in heels, but boy, does she rock! And someone thought climbing in a full-length dress was hard? No way. Try climbing with your foot in a cast up to your knee. Etsuko climbed that thing as fast as most of us with two arms and one leg – she blew us out of the water! It was an astounding first climb after her recent injury in the Valley (see trip report “The First and Last Day of My Climbing Season” on May 7, 2005).
So, the suggestion I’d like to leave you with is that when you’re out climbing next, instead of just “going big or going home”, remember to “climb fun” and take a moment to relish in the beauty of Nature around you and the great company of your friends.
I have learned from my friends that my best climbing experiences have as much to do with the company and our fun attitudes, as the physical climb itself. On the FUN rating, “Boas and Tutus” was a 5.11d (C3)! And if you ever get a chance to hang out with The Lord Mayor of Partytown and EIR Wrangler, count yourself in the best of company :) (Ask him or Dragger about the third kind of traverse after the Tyrolean and the tension…) Thanks to the whole crew this weekend!
P.S. This is BTW, my first posting on SP, so HELLO SP’ers! Thanks to the SP community for the great beta, fun gab and fabulous people hook-up!
P.P.S. Our “fancy accessory” climbing was done safely on belay. From the couch.