On our way home from Wildrose Canyon we stop at Great Falls Basin to get a couple of climbs in. The air there smells a bit like cat urine, an odor we have noted before in the desert after recent rain. This time we connect the odor to a particular plant that flourishes in the area, which we refer to as pissplant.
We start on Psycho Killer Pillar 5.9, a climb I’ve been curious about for a while. The approach turned out to be the crux. We attempt both the awkward direct chimney and the crumbly slab, and opt for the slab where Ann belays. I pass a bolt whose hanger has been removed as I climb it. On the pillar, a first bolt has been added, but it’s a little too low to provide much comfort. But the climbing is pretty easy to the next bolt. I understand the next protection used to be a fixed piton, which has been replaced with a bolt. After that is a runout, and I imagine the pucker factor would be doubled if the big fall potential were above an old rusty piton. As it is, I wish I had a small nut to slot in the thin crack above the old piton placement. Once the next bolt is clipped, I relax. The climbing is enjoyable, but the rock quality is poor. Holds feel grainy or thin. I stop at the first anchors. There’s a short second pitch with two bolts, but it doesn’t look all that enticing. Ann follows very solidly, and we rap to the top of the initial block/slab approach. Now that first bolt comes in handy – I use it to belay Ann as she downclimbs the slab. For myself, I drape some rope over a bolder and give myself a backup rappel as I do the block chimney downclimb. It goes, but not gracefully.
Next we head right to Loomy Toons, 5.10a/b. I had struggled on this on TR on my first trip here. Now it feels good to lead it solidly. This is a decent climb, but hasn’t been entirely cleaned yet. Ann breaks off a handhold and takes a surprise fall following me. Also, the bolts run a little left of the easiest climbing. But I enjoy it. Ann struggles a bit, but finishes with determination.