“Fudge this S*** is improbable” Mark, after leading the crux
My buddy Mark and I climbed Guye Peak via the Improbable Traverse (5.8). It was my biggest taste of alpine flavor so far…. Mark said he was feeling a little sick as we climbed the short talus field which led to some class 4 scrambling but said he was feeling good enough for the climb. Mark was climbing above me and rock just happened to fall on my hand. I watched as it left some good sized indents and slowly start to bleed. Then a lot. Climbing on class 4 is never fun in my mind especially when it’s super chossy. The class 4 led us to some low angle ramps which were about class 3 and led into some trees where our first belay spot was. The first pitch is said to be about a 70 foot traverse on low class 5 rock which leads to a small belay ledge called the Lunch Counter. Mark only placed a 1 cam and 1 nut here but it was easy climbing.
At the Lunch Counter we looked at what we had to contend with. The pitch after the Lunch Ledge is the Improbable Traverse. You can do the traverse in 2 pitches but we did it in one long one. Mark led this but the pendulum factor for both the follower and the leader is the same. Mark nailed the crux which was a 5.8 section protected by 2 knife blade pitons and set up a belay at the base of a class 3 and 4 ramp. I followed suit. The first little part of the traverse was the crux for me. Selected Climbs Vol. 1 rates this as 5.7 and SummitPost a 5.6. Maybe it was because I am tall/un-flexible and had to crouch real low below an overhang to do the move but it got me pumped with adrenalin. The exposure on the Traverse felt crazy. Mark thought it was maybe 800-1000 feet straight down it was awesome! After I cleaned the crux I came to a couple mid 5th class down climbing section. This was a little exciting but down climbing on a traverse was umm…. Different. It was hella fun though. When I got to the ramp Mark said he was felling pretty sick now and we decided we need to finish this hill and get out of Dodge.
Mark placed 2 pieces of pro on the final ramp and we decided to just simul-climb it. We didn’t use the rope for the rest of the trip. Selected Climbs Vol. 1 says there’s about 6-7 pitches but you can do it 2-3. We climbed some more low class 4 and 5 in our trail runners. On one section were on we saw a piton. If we could free solo this in tennis shoes why would someone put a piton here? We made it to the summit. Saw another summit of Guye and tagged that one too not knowing which was higher. After some mild route finding troubles and being eaten by mosquitoes we found the hikers trail and made to the Alpental Parking lot. It took us maybe 15 minutes to walk back to the car which we parked at the base of the talus field and got out of there with each of climbing the hardest alpine rock route we had ever done. Mark said before this, the hardest alpine route he had led was a 5.4. Jumping from 5.4 to 5.8 was a pretty sick experience. Nice leading Mark!
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