Apologies for not writing sooner, but the communication links here at Linda's have been rather wonky the last couple weeks. Lots of peoples phones have ceased working properly and the Internet is a constant struggle. Today it seems up to snuff so hopefully I can get this typed up before it all crashes again. The last two weeks has seen the weather change dramatically for us. Previously it's been mild, dry, and sunny with temperatures ranging in the mid to upper sixties. Lately, however; it's been cold with highs in the forties and low fifties with lots of rain, mist, fog, and the dreaded condensation. We tried to go to the crags today, as you can tell, we're NOT climbing at the moment. When we first got to the Motherlode and asked how conditions were, our friend Dario said "the Undertow is dripping...the cave, SOAKED..." We promptly tucked our tails and ran for a different wall, one we thought might by dry due to it's higher position on the ridge, it was moist to the touch as well, DAMN!
The weather doesn't look like it's going to improve that much so I guess we'll just have to make due for the next two weeks. We've both got routes that we really want to do before we leave, routes that we're both VERY close on. My last try on BOHICA in the Madness Cave was a battle of epic proportions. My first try (history: Six years ago I climbed on this route twice, both times climbing with the aid of a small, green laser pointer. My friends who were well versed in the routes movement sat at the base and pointed to the easiest sequence of grips all the way up, as I was climbing i.e. I didn't have to remember ANY of the climbing.) this trip, I flew up the route. BOHICA is NOT my style of climbing at all, there are no real difficult moves, just lots and lots of sustained climbing with little opportunity for rest. My last go on the route, I was climbing like the rock was flypaper and I had wings. I was at the top, staring at the finishing clip, in a matter of a few minutes, I was on top of the world! BUT (notice the capital letters) I didn't complete my ascent. I was so pumped, I couldn't clip. Literally I was so tired that I couldn't let go for three seconds with one hand to put the rope through the anchors. I dug deeper than I ever have before and I TRIED to clip. What happened instead was that I fell roughly 60-70 feet with tons of extra rope out. The fall itself was fun, it's an odd feeling to be in the air that long, but once I came to rest on the end of the rope, the shock, dismay, and overall feeling of failure washed over me. I left the crag with my head hung low :(.
Lindsay has been trying a notoriously difficult route called Golden Touch, right near BOHICA. Her first day on the route, she very quickly deciphered the crux moves and it looked like victory was at hand. As all climbers know however, each route has what we call a "redpoint crux", though not necessarily the hardest moves, they are the moves that seem most difficult on the redpoint or "clean ascent" try. My guess is at this point that Lin has fallen from the redpoint crux of Golden Touch at least a dozen times, only falling at the hardest moves once or twice. Normally this would spur a climber on to try harder, dig a little deeper, in the case of Golden Touch, not so much. The crux hold is an edge, not much wider than a quarter is thick. If you think I'm exaggerating, you can Google the route name and look at what previous climbers have said about it. In grabbing this hold relatively low in the route, over and over and over again, my wife's lovely hands have been reduced to hamburger. We'd been prepping for this route all weekend long, climbing only routes that wouldn't hurt her already fragile skin. When we got there yesterday, she looked strong on the warm ups. I was set to belay her on the actual climb and then take some photos, it was all just perfect. Then...on the redpoint attempt...she filleted...notice I didn't say sliced...her finger tip. The session was over.
Being so close on these routes (and others also) makes all the in climate weather that much more frustrating. We were talking with our friend Brendon the other night and we all agreed that when you're on the road, time doesn't matter. Week days and weekends don't exist any more, they're just days. Climbing days aren't that important either because you have SO many of them...UNTIL you hit the two week period. That's the two week period before you know you're leaving what ever area you're at. We are IN that two week period and we're having to sacrifice valuable days, valuable tries, waiting for good weather. With any luck, we'll have three or four more "good" days before we leave for North Carolina. We should both have very good chances of doing the routes we want to in that time frame. If we fail in that task, you all my have to start sending X-mas cards to Site 14 Lago Linda Place! Be well all of you, hopefully winter's icy grip hasn't tightened yet and you are all still out enjoying some of natures greatest gifts. Adios!