Crystal Wall Before the Rain

Inspired by some blue sky visible through the window when we wake up, we rally to Crystal Wall. We scope out the Palace too, but the river looks higher than we want to deal with. It’s a little windy and cold.

Ann has some trouble with cold fingers, but manages to redpoint the 7-bolt 5.7 on the southwest side. She reaches the anchors just as the sun does, and things improve. The wind dies down a little, and Doug and Liz appear in answer to our morning invite.

By the time we all do a lap on the 5.7, conditions are fairly pleasant. I’m inspired to try an onsight of a six-bolt line up the arete to the right of the 5.7, and just left of the route I nearly decked on from the second clip last time we were here. It looks hard, and I guess that I’ll probably have to bail off it also, but I feel like trying. The moves to the first clip are overhanging and bouldery, but there’s a great hold by the bolt. Some small but positive edges after that give me a good stance to clip the second bolt, which I find greatly encouraging. These kind of edges, invisible from the ground, continue to appear through most of the route like surprise presents. On the steep and fairly strenuous terrain, it’s great fun to keep making these discoveries. Only at the last bolt does a good hold fail to present itself, and I opt to move around the corner rather than try the final thin face. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled with what felt like a solid 5.10a pure onsight. Ann and Doug both enjoy a whirl on it before the clouds and raindrops come.

Not quite ready to submit to the rain, I get on the route I bailed off of last time, which shares an anchor with the 10a. The moves feel easier, the stance I fell from at the second clip feels solid, as does the stance after it. Then the climb gets incredibly thin where I finally bailed, and I crimp through a couple of moves that feel about at my limit right now. After that is a section of finger crack with a loose chockstone lodged in it like a rattle, which I step on for lack of any other foothold. A finger stack and a sidepull get me to the top, just as the rain picks up enough to start getting me wet.

We retreat to town and the Bean Cycle, all happy with the day despite the rain.

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