The Palace, Camera Discovery

Kate on Cheerleaders Turned HippyAnn emails Kate and offers to trade me for a pound of stew meat. The deal is made, and I’m carried up to The Palace by Kate and Mark, where we enjoy some routes in pleasantly warm, hazy weather. One of the routes doesn’t even have a slash or a + in the grade!

Cheerleaders Gone Hippie 5.9+ – the offwidth section that took me so long last time goes much better after a summer in Vedauwoo! My only mistake is putting my right side in, which pushes me to make the next clip behind my head. Kate and Mark make it smoother going left side in.

Check Your Six 5.11b – after we eyeball and reject the new route down the hill, Mark selects this direct start to the climb to left. The first clip goes easily. The second looks significantly tougher, and Mark takes a good, clean fall on the next moves. The feet are tiny, the hands mostly rounded sidepulls. He gets it on the next try, clips the third, and makes the next few tough moves to some decent feet. He’s nearly at the fourth clip, but can’t find a decent handhold. After a few tries he takes a good whipper, pushing perhaps a bit too hard off the rock, so he slams fairly hard back into the face when I catch him, splitting a fingertip and slamming a knee. I let him down to recover.

Check Your Head 5.10b/c – I have some sympathy adrenaline going after Mark’s falls, and decide to try the easier route. I soon work the shakes out, and enjoy the climb. Lots of nice liebacks, a few delicate sidesteps. I make it, as does Kate after me.

Mark is okay, but done climbing. To end the day I climb Check Your Six on TR. It’s really nice climbing. I don’t fall, but I can’t find very probable clipping stances. Things worked out for the best. As I’m packing up, I see an unexpected piece of gear in my pack. My camera. I have no idea what happened – I emptied the pack out looking for it before. Kate suggests it may have been tangled up in the rope bag. I’m embarrassed, but glad to have it back!

4 responses to “The Palace, Camera Discovery”

  1. Just a quick report, Mark discovered some stiffness in his ankle on Sunday night, but by Monday night the only thing that hurt was his finger. I’m giving him trouble because after two hard lead falls, all he has to complain about is a little cut on his finger! Just sad.

    So, despite the warnings of my overly-critical subconscious, I’m going to offer up something to think about as a residual from the day. I put the movie of your fall on Punjabi up on YouTube, and though you fell much further in this movie, you landed so much more softly than Mark did on Sunday.

    Part of that is certainly the amount of rope out, and that Mark was slightly off to the right of his fall line. But I think there’s something to be learned about a soft catch here as well. When Doug was belaying you on Punjabi, every time you fell, he flew about 4ft into the air, giving you a nice soft catch. It’s something that ‘bigger’ people often take for granted in lead falls, and don’t realize what it’s like for smaller people.

    I think on Sunday, Mark had a minute of feeling what my lead falls often feel like. It’s instinctual for somebody who more commonly gives a TR belay (ie Mark) to lock off and lean back while the leader is falling. This takes in slack and slams the climber into the wall, making the whole thing more dramatic and painful.

    I suspect that with Mark’s first fall being so close to the ground, you may have been a little tight on the catch for this second one. I really hope I’m not sounding critical here, you did after all save his life with your belay!!

    It’s just that ‘softening the catch’ is something that Mark and I need to work on to get me more comfy with sport leading on his belay (I actually prefer Rachel’s to Mark’s lead belay). I hate being slammed into the wall of the gym, and it makes me extremely nervous about lead falls. I know Ann is doing much better with her leading, but you two might want to work on this as well. Or maybe you’ve got it all in hand and I’m just being a big jerk here. Sorry? 🙂

    Here’s the shot from Mark in the middle of the second fall. Yep, he’s a bit far out from the wall, but the rope is already tight, and he hasn’t even hit the lower half of the fall arc. Just something to think about.

  2. Another comment mainly for Kate…I whole heartedly agree with you about the soft catch. I don’t think your write up is too critical.

    My biggest fall was an instance where I slipped trying to clip. I had 6-8 feet of extra slack out, and my belayer just couldn’t reel it in fast enough. By the time he realized what was happening, I was swinging around in the air 25 feet below where I just was! It was a great fall-scary since I dislike stomach drops-but very very soft.

    Obviously, if there is a ledge below, then giving such a soft belay might not be optimal…but I think you speaking in more generic terms and so I don’t mean to pick nits.

    Great write up, Kate.

  3. I very much agree – we take so few falls that I don’t get much practice catching. Having more rope out would definitely have helped, but it didn’t occur to me to hop up – he was still low enough on the climb that I was thinking of the ground, but that wasn’t really an issue after the third clip.

    The other interesting thing to do with that picture is look at the motion blur. Can you tell what direction he’s going? It seems like he may still be headed out from the wall.

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