Damn, talk about a great weekend to go climbing. This weekend was the “call out” trip for uiuc’s climbing club (damn that’s a hot website). My friend James and I headed down to Jackson Falls at 5:30AM on Saturday. It takes around 3.5 hours to get there, so we met up with the people who left on friday or earlier around 9 at the camp site. Needless to say, they were still eating and getting ready. James and I were ready to climb, not sit on our asses and wait for people. We head out in the gorge, looking for easier places to climb for the beginners. However, since it was already after 9, all the easy routes already had people on them (good thinking there club). So, we kept hiking until we got to a place called railroad rock. Our warmup was a 5.10a/b (don’t remember which nor what it was called). Already this was off to a typical outdoor climbing experience with James, warming up on something that I’d have some trouble with normally. Plus, this was only my second time outdoors (the other time, was around a year ago and we warmed up on a 5.10a/b called Venom).
We left our only dynamic rope up on the 10a/b and moved around to another face of the rock and James jumped on an 11. However, we only had a static rope for this climb. Now, for those of you that don’t know the difference, a dynamic rope has a lot of “play” in it. Therefore, when you fall, the rope stretches to reduce the instantaneous force. Now, a static rope is what you normally use in the gym for top roping because you’re not falling as far as when you lead a route. Now, if you fall on a static rope for any distance, it feels like smacking into pavement; a very short and abrupt stop. Now, the real kicker is that all the force is directed to your harness which is right around your crotch. You really don’t want to take a large, or small, whipper (fall while leading) while on a static line. It hurts both you and your belayer like crazy. Thankfully James didn’t have a problem with the 11 and setup the static rope for top roping (so others could use it). I then scrambled and pulled myself up that one after him.
Feeling totally dejected after the 11 (a little bit beyond my ablility), I lead and setup a top rope on a 5.8 for some of the other people. That definitely helps get your confidence back, eventhough it was a retarded easy climb. I love big jugs!
Back by the 11, there was a new route that nobody knew what it was. It had a nasty overhanging bouldering problem as the start. Think, wedging your leg into a crevasse, hanging upside down, doing the splits and then doing pullups, and you’ve about got the first move. James wanted to lead it. However, he couldn’t get passed the 3rd bolt no matter what he tried. And let me tell you, he tried about everything. He took probably 10 whippers off that route. Thank god for the grigri. So, he came back down, but since he didn’t make it to the top all the gear was still on the bolts, MY brand new gear. Another guy that we met there gave it a try, but also couldn’t get passed the same spot. However, he setup this this sling with the rope, so that he could clean all the gear, tie the sling into the bolt, feed the rop through the sling, and then when he pulled the rope through the sling (once he was at the bottom), the sling would slide through the bolt. I was more than impressed.
One of the other guys (Nate) saw that there was a biner and a sling up on the anchors at the top though, so he hiked around to the top of the route then rappelled (rapped) down to grab the booty. While he was up there James told him to setup a top rope. While Nate was setting up the top rope, I went and lead another 5.8 further down and setup another top rope for others to climb. When we came back, James jumped on the top rope and climbed it. I sat around and watched the other scramble thier way up after James. We then headed back because it was getting dark.
Yesterday we headed to the other side of the gorge. Before we setup the first route, one of James’ friends (Bill) showed up. Apparantly he called James’ wife and found out we were down here. Warmup was once again a 10 I believe (Cherio bowl). I should’ve gotten it onsite, but I made a few stupid moves which got me off course. Bill also wasn’t a fan of his ascent of Cherio Bowl, so we went off and did some 5.8’s by ourselves. It was much nicer because we didn’t have to wait for anybody, and it was just the two of us. He lead 2 and I lead 1. We each cleaned each other’s routes (my first time actually cleaning a route). We were just finishing up with our last route, when James came around looking for us. Apparantly everyone else had taken off and left him. So, we headed back to where Cherio Bowl was and climbed a “5.8,” according to James, called Captain Kangaroo. I was REALLY pissed that I didn’t onsite that one. One stupid move, and I had it. I actually had the damn move, but I couldn’t hold on to it.
All in all, it was a good weekend. 9 routes, 3 leads, 3 cleans. Hopefully the weather holds out for next weekend, because we’re heading back down! I just can’t get enough. It’s so much better than climbing in the gym.