head'n out and setting up campIt started how most trips do everyone meeting at a pre-chosen location close to the route out of chicago. Everyones' one time and ready togo except me. I'm running late because I had some work troubles right at shift change.(never fails when you have plans) So, I show up 2 hours late and we're packed up and driving. Everyone was very nice and understanding of me being late and just happy to be on our way.
So, for the last three months I've been eating healthy and training for the tower because this would be the longest trad. route I've done. I hadn't eaten fast food in three months or longer I really don't eat much to begin with. After lunch and dinner at fast food joints my stomach was turning and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.
It was a group of seven and the plan was to have three groups. One group of three and two groups of two. We were going for the durrance route starting at the approach pitch up through the route and to the top via bailey direct. every where I looked the ratings varied but all were under 5.7 or at 5.7. Our biggest concern was the weather because it was a big ? Our weather reports off of the weather channel said we had a 50/50 chance of showers.
After arriving at our camp site around 5:00 am we slept in the car and waited for a better time in the morning to set up camp and cook breakfast. We got set up, had breakfast, and our gear all together by 9:00 am at the parking lot ready to go.
the approach pitch
The group made it to the start on the approach pitch and the weather looked really good. It was sunny with a few clouds in the 60's and a little wind. there was 1 party ahead of us so we got our stuff set up. I lead the approach pitch made the top in a timely fashion and realized a mistake. I left my pack down below with everything but my trad gear.($%) So, I hauled it up and tore a few holes in my pack on the way up.($%) I grabbed what I thought I would need and left it again and this time forgot my fleece jacket. I was able to manage without but would have been nice.
On to the leaning column. Now my partner Mike was leading and the wind kicked up but, still very manageable. The clouds started to build but, isolated.
the durrance crackLeaning tower went off well and I was up to lead the durrance crack. I was a bit nervous looking up at this crack and seeing the walls around it nice a polished.($%) I was really looking forward to great friction. I climb a lot at devils lake in Wisconsin which is quartzite rock.(no friction) I sucked it up and up my man pants on and started up thinking I'm in over my head crossed with relax you climb hard stuff than this and before I knew it I was at the bolts.
Mike came up and traded leads and it was pretty uneventful till the jump traverse. I tried a couple of times to use the bathroom before we headed off from camp. I drank coffee, ate a fiber bar, and tried jumping jacks but, nothing. SO, several pitches into it I gotta shit and I can't hold it. Mistake #2 and #3 didn't use the restroom before and #3 no toilet paper or blue bag.(@#$%^&&^$%#@#%$%^) I'm sorry to all that had to pass this site but I had no other options. I squatted in a crack with a floor and did the deed. Still squatting, I'm thinking what to wipe with??? My partner Mike was telling my to use my shirt but, I had a better idea!!! I had an orange, so I used the peels!! It worked great and made my hand smell fresh and poop free. Mike at this point was yelling to squeeze the orange over it to cover the smell. I put a large rock over it so no one stepped in it. This crack would now be known as the shit box.
The weather was ok at this point but, could be better. We would get periods of rain and it snowed once on bailey direct. We topped out late but, once on top we saw the weather was awesome. All the cloud were clearing the sun shining nicely.
the way downAs with all trip up something tall your not done till your off the rock. After everyone made it to the top we took our photo and started our rappel train. I was enjoying the rap down and then at the end by the jump traverse I we found out that we threw the ropes right into the shit box($%) Lucky they were clean thank to the rock I placed over it. The smell hadn't gone away and since Mike and I were the first group everyone got smell it on the way up and down. By the time we got to the last rap station it was dark with no moon. non-mistake #1 I did bring my head lamp so we made down without any problems.
we made back to camp for a beer and something quick to eat and to bed we went. We learned some lessons and had a good time climbing. In the future I will not due this route again. The rock is nicely polished from eveyone and there mother going up this route. The newest version of the guide book rates this route as 5.8. Not sure if that 100% accurate but, I'll go with it.