This past weekend was a prime opportunity to return to Linville for some more work. Two days, no distractions, mid 70s, and zero rain. First up, Paradise Alley, a 5.8+ "not for the aspiring 5.8 leader."
Linville Gorge was in prime Mountain Laurel blooming season. From the top of Dopey Duck, we could see over Tilted World wall, spotted with pink blooms. Quite a site on both fronts. That's a steep wall. Having not climbed up that side of the canyon before, we went in prepared. Thus far the route descriptions have been adventurous at best. Sometimes two opinions are better than none.The first pitch is the crux, and Todd wanted it. Just fine. The going was slow. For 5.8+ this route get a little wider than I'd like it, and it was wider than Todd liked it either. And the right side of this corner gets up in your face pretty quick. I had to hang even cleaning it. Just don't have the fitness to climb pumpy stuff yet. Its early in the season, no?
Job well done, Todd got a well deserved break at a decent belay station atop the first pitch, and sent me on my way (not pictured....as always). The going was easy, though I was never quite sure I was on route. The easy climbing in Linville is VERY easy. So easy that lichen gets to stick around. You are often climbing on lichen covered buckets, unsure of exactly where you are. Eventually I landed us a pretty nice ledge. Big enough to call and check in with Katy before her WORS race.Technical aside; been climbing with the Alpine Cock Ring as my new anchor choice. The A.C.R. for short.
Three piece system, self equalizes, quick to set up, redundant via clove to the strongest piece, extension limited by shorting the longest leg with an overhand or 8 on a bite. If one piece blows, it looks like this:I'm happy with that. Other benefits, completely unmistakeable hot point, room for 3 carabiners (leader, tag line, second), and the cordelette COULD still be used like a standard set up with pre-equalization, or just wrapped around a tree, cut to do something interesting, and you have a rap ring at your disposal. Not bad.
Todd drew p3, a 5.7 romp up an overhanging wall with huge holds.And the route has more great ledges to give up. Including a great diving board overlooking the gorge atop p3.
More bad pitches for Robb. I drew this crappy choss pile for p4. It was supposed to be 5.8. I think it had 4 feet of 5.8, followed by 5.nothing. It did have the cool opportunity to step across a chasm 200 feet up. The first 3 pitches are actually on a buttress detached from the proper wall. Finished it up with little or no trouble. Communication is a little non existent on wandering, windy 4th pitches, and Todd got a loop of rope stuck around some crap rock and had to take a fall. I was 100ft away with no idea what was happening. I set up a huge leash on the anchor and walked down to see what was going on; found Todd hanging above the chasm looking non plussed. Route in the bag, we enjoyed some cold beverages we had hauled in. Saturday Done.
Okay, Sunday. A shorter version, because we really don't have any pictures. This problem needs to get fixed. The third pitch of Contruction Job, 5.9 offers some pretty aesthetic climbing. And I did it with the camera in my pocket. Its up there in the sandy brown rock, and the roofs above it, ending on a small ledge beneath the diving boards at the top. This photo shows mostly the first pitch.
The technical crux was the arching dihedral moving through the lighter colored rock. A couple thin finger moves up the arching crack, some balancy footwork stepping across some blank rock to a crimper, and then continuing on above your gear to some good holds and solid gear. After that, its some hopefully quick moves up very steep roofs. The holds that mother nature has left up there are unbelievable. Cutting your feet off into the air, above your gear, and not really worrying about; priceless. Easy terrain with enough gear, but the overhang, and exposure makes it amazing. I want it again, just going to have to find someone else who wants to go back. Todd got to second all the fun.While he was up to that, I got to hang out and watch vultures ride thermals on yet another great A.C.R. anchor.Exhausted, both mentally and physically from the third pitch, I headed home for a little recovery. I say a little because monday at 7 a.m. was another CrossFit class, followed by an early shake down of the new Cicli Polito ride. More on that later. No rest for the wicked.(and Pisgah Works now has wool available. New wool hoodies; nights are still cool, plus, you know you'll want one when fall rolls around again.)