Two weekends ago, I took a break from climbing to shoot photos for a wedding for some fellow climbers in Richmond.  It was nice.  I managed to not climb for a whole day!  (I gym climbed on the way back.)

I just finished up those wedding photos and am ready to blog about my weekend at the red!

The forecast was a little doom and gloom – high 60s and sunny saturday and then mid 40s and rain sunday.  Since when did a forecast like that every stop me?  Well…since the Red is only 3 hours away – hardly.

I joined my facebook buddy Ian Kirk and his GF as well as my GF Lauren for a day at the Chocolate Factory.  We made the mistake at first by climbing in the sun.  After doing a few warm-ups including a second go send (I tried it several years ago blowing my onsite) on “Grumpalump” 11d, I jumped on and was happy to onsite “Snozzberries” – 12a.  These two routes along with “Fat Man” 5.12c climb a typical 20-30 degree overhanging pocketed wall.  These routes are shorter by RRG standards – maybe 50 feet or so, but they were awesome!

As the day warmed, I decided to try “Fat Man” 12c onsite.  I managed to onsite the route all the way through the crux – which is a short rightward traverse on some pretty bad slopers, but I got flashed pumped and fell on the last move going to the anchors!  I got some beta, which ended up being bad beta for me and once again – fell going to the anchors! ugh!! by this time, the slopers were disgusting and we decided to run around the corner hoping to chase some shade.

Fat Man 5.12c  Photo Ian Kirk.

I really was having a bad day….not only not sending “Fat Man”, I decided to try “Gobstoppers” 12c onsite.  I managed the onsite all the way to the LAST HARD MOVE – making it through both of the hard cruxes, only to miss a hold 5 feet from glory…I got back on the route again after a rest, forgot my upper crux sequence and biffed it again….totally a bad day of climbing :/

Gobstoppers 5.12c climbs this incredible arete at the Chocolate Factory to the right of the warm-ups Oompa and Lumpa.  The route starts right off with the hardest crux – a difficult match move and a dead point to a decent hold, then a little-to-no feet traverse to a mantle and a ledge rest.  From here, two bolts of climbing up this incredibly perfect face leads to the final crux – some really thin crimper grabbing to a decent hold.  I did all that onsite, but fell on the next move – a sorta blindish move around the arete to some good holds and a stand-up move.  From here, its pretty much butter, though there are a couple actual rock climnbing moves.

I went to bed thinking – man what a bad day right? But I redeemed myself on Sunday.

Rachel Avallone – Table of Colors 5.13a

Rachel Avallone – Table of Colors 5.13a

The forecast said the weather was going to get worse as the day went on so we got up super early and headed to Left Flank.  I have done every single sport route at Left Flank except “Stunning the Hog” 12d and “Table of Colors” 13a.  So I had my work cut-out for me.  I had previously spent some time on “Stunning the Hog” last season but I’ve been training hard this season and I am significantly lighter (I’ll blog about my training here soon.)  I went up the route bolt-to-bolt remembering the moves and hanging the draws – You want a double draw on the 3rd and 4th.  I was able to do all the moves easily and lowered off – immediately pulled the rope, then fired the rig.  IT WAS EASY!  I couldn’t believe it.  Training is really paying off for me.

Psych was getting low.  It was really starting to rain (though conditions were perfect) and I decided to see what “Table of Colors” 13a was all about.

I did the route and its actually pretty easy up to the crux.  The crux itself, went down easily for me off the hang (though its not that pumpy getting there.)  The crux move involves a long move off a good left hand pocket to a slimper, from the slimper, with feet up, you go to a decent crimp and that’s it.  I’d say the move is equivalent to 1-5-9 on Half-Moon Spacing (this is campusing) except with feet.  There is one more crux at the top – a punch move off an undercling, but I don’t think this move is any harder than 12a.  I honestly can’t wait to get on this thing again!!