"How to dispose of old climbing gear"
[This trip report originally appeared on UseNet's rec.climbing newsgroup]
My friend, Mark, is an enthusiastic climber. He is a beginning leader. We've
done most of our climbing on simple routes, though he did get a good dose of
Eldorado multi-pitch routes a while back. Our work schedules are
"night-and-day" - that is, he is a gaffer (showbiz) trying to break into the
union, and I am a 9-to-5 programmer. Trying to coordinate for a trip has been
like spinning two roulette wheels and waiting for the numbers to match.
After hounding Mark for a couple weeks with constant phone calls with one urgent
question to begin the conversation ("Do ya hafta work this weekend?") we finally
had a match.
Friday, May 5, 2000:
"Do ya hafta work this weekend?"
"Great! We're goin' climbin'!!!"
Saturday, May 6:
We leave town late - 10:30 AM. I decide that the drive would be more
interresting if I take the scenic detour through Jawbone Canyon and Kelso Valley
to get to Lake Isabella. Scenic, but no shortcut...
We make a brief survey stop at Kernville Rock. I tentatively suggest climbing
here to maximize the time remaining today, but Mark expresses reservations about
the crowds and the small size of the formation. We move on.
McNally's for burgers!!! Did I hear a "mooo" coming from the kitchen?
Rafters are blocking the road in several places in the vicinity of Limestone. A
bus is parked on the river side of the road, and it's trailer is completely
blocking the south-bound traffic on a blind corner. Yikes!!
As we pass through Johnsondale, I make the decision to go to Dome Rock. A short
approach, and good camping are two of the stronger arguments backing the
decision. As we cruise along CA-190 we notice that most of the side roads are
still closed. The Dome Rock road is open, though. Whew!
The parking area is about half full - about a dozen cars parked hither and
thither. A few people are camped in rediculous spots, including one group that
camped in a small area sandwiched between the access road and the trail. To get
a feel for the location, we take a quick hike out the trail, then scramble out
on a ledge system to some orphan trees on the edge of the dome. The views are
hazy but grand.
Grab the gear and split! We head down the trail, following rubble-strewn
switchbacks and ledges. A flash of red catches my eye - a climber is visible
moving up a line on this edge of the dome. We then see the belayer at a small
The Tree Route is our chosen line. It's late, so we want something easy to
blast before dinner. The start of the route is dead obvious - find the big
ponderosa pine that looks exactly like it does in the Needles guide.
I rack up and get on the route. Within seconds I am attacked by ants! The
crack is a major highway for the little red suckers. I can climb the face moves
(the rock is not steep here) but when I go to place gear, they stream out to
defend the supply line. I climb fast. I place very little gear. I pass the
large ponderosa, then head up and right over dimples and edges up to the second
tree, a small cedar, and set the belay. I bring Mark up, and watch and learn.
Mark is a much more efficient climber, when following, at least. His balance is
much more natural, where I have a tendency to lean too far in on slabs.
It's 5:30 when we start the second pitch. Mark's lead. A nice hand-sized crack
cuts up and left from the belay for about 80' and disappears behind a bulge.
The climbing along the crack is so easy that I have to remind Mark to place more
gear, lest he fall and get clubbed by a big knob protruding from the face below.
He passes the bulge, then starts sending back negative signals.
"This cam is stuck! I can't get the f#(
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