We Discover Our Own Blair Crag

Approaching Ann Had a Gas CrackWe’re hiking cross-country to lower Blair when Ann looks over a particularly large boulder and says, “Ooh, that’s a nice looking face.” I look it over and reply, “Look behind the tree – a big fat crack!” We hike over and decide to rig a toprope on it. The tree provides shade, and the crack provides about 40 feet of primo 5.9-ish Vedauwoo offwidth grunting. Ann has a gas on it, and so we deem it “Ann Had A Gas Crack”. The face also amuses us, and reminds us that we haven’t climbed anything that requires crimping in weeks. Making discoveries like this is one my favorite climbing experiences.

We’re still close to The Heap, and we decide to repeat “Approach 4.0” 5.8, a route to the top that we did last weekend. Repeating a route at Vedauwoo can be dangerous, because you tend to tell yourself that you should have a much easier time with it. Vedauwoo does not allow this. Heading into a Vedauwoo crack with an easygoing attitude can be severely punished. This time I manage to do the climb again, maybe even a little better than before, but certainly not with less effort. I truly can’t explain why I love this place so much.

It’s getting late in the day, but I figure I have enough time to attempt a toprope of My Clone Sleeps Alone 5.10a. It’s not meant to be, though. My anchor is too high, not well equalized, and uncomfortable for Ann. I rap down anyway and the anchor shifts a little, which just about gives Ann a heart attack. Then the rope is so wedged in the crack that it won’t even move. I climb back up the rope with a Prussik, apologize to Ann, and we head for the three long rappels to the ground. And then back to the BAT for a gorgeous sunset and delicious dinner. Cruel, cruel Vedauwoo.

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