The cold, overcast morning does not encourage us to pursue our plans to do a local multipitch climb of Lover’s Leap. We go out for a leisurely breakfast, check out the now-closed crags at North Turkey Creek, realize we’ve lost our phones, and return to Dad’s where we don’t find them. We still don’t feel eager to climb, but find the pullout on 285 by Lover’s Leap. It’s still overcast, but warming up, so we decide to lug the gear up and take a look at least.
Crossing eroded and litter-clogged Turkey Creek could be the crux of the route. I totter across on a skinny log, Ann crashes through bushes to find a ford. A minor trail begins by a tributary here – we of course only find this on the way down. Once we’re up and I find the route, the weather seems pretty nice. We decide to go for it.
I find some fun variations on the first pitch where I can protect a harder move or two. There are enough big blocks and ledges on the route that you don’t want to fall in most places, but the climbing is pleasant and easy (5.5). I find bolts at the first belay to my surprise. A party shows up at the bottom and tells Ann that all the belays are now bolted.
Pitch 2 steepens a bit, and offers a more good moves (5.6) and plenty of protection. The last pitch is the icing, a sweet leaning wide finger crack up a headwall, 5.7+. Still good pro, and provocative enough to make me shake and come down for a rest before completing it. Really fun.
The bolted anchor at the top seems kind of exposed, right above the edge of the entire 400-foot face, but I clip into it without much consideration. Ann takes a couple of tries to make the crux, and is happy until she figures out that I intend to make my exit from the anchor unprotected. Why protect the climb at all if you’re just going to expose yourself to a fall down the entire route at the top? I have no answer, and feel sheepish and stupid. I clearly should have just built an anchor in a secure place. I propose that she build an anchor and belay me off, but my sheepishness comes across as humoring her. She throws the rope at me in a fury of expletives and storms off. I exit as carefully as I can.
Our fight doesn’t end up ruining the climb. She, having expressed anger more genuinely than was permissible in her culture growing up, is relieved and ready to accept my apology immediately. It turns out to be a good moment for us, groping our way through a problem together, able to express our flaws and feelings without reserve or regard for the rules of society. It’s our Lover’s Leap, away from the physical cliff and off a metaphorical one.