Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Clean Up Crew

Getting things done is the motto I strive to live by, it seems to be a tough one though especially in these tight times. The Clean Up Crew project is the first project on the South Flank for the new Shastafarian crew of Castle Crags route developers. It began in the winter of '07, we  decided to head up what we thought was the best line on the face, a beautiful right facing corner with a splitter crack. I lead up about 40' and got to a bolt, not a first ascent? not surprising as it is hard to come by beta from the last generation in there attempts to "keep special places special". I climbed up and found some more gear, a couple of fixed nuts and a sling on a skinny pine tree growing out of the crack. Seeing that theirs was a mission that ended in retreat I was eager to see if I could push through. I climbed up and around the tree and was faced with 40' of splitter hands which led to an roof/overhang. Jammed my way up through some steep but enjoyable climbing and got to the overhang plugged in some bomber pro and stemmed through the roof. The roof crux was followed by 50' of moderate climbing leading to a 20' hand traverse to a tree ledge.

The first pitch was great! we rated it 11a and called it Clean Up Crew, as a light stab at our reticent predicessors. We came back the following week and began the 2nd pitch. I climbed up 60' feet on super cool face moves, managing to get stoppers and small cams for pro.  Then I was compelled to add a bolt and then another and a 3rd. Progress was slowing rapidly and the face above was looking hard! the day ended with an anchor at the 100' mark of the 2nd pitch and a lot of uncertainty.

Enough doubt was cast that day that we went in search of other projects. We discovered the Marble Gully and our project issues were solved. We charged the extra 1/2 hour to the Marble Gully, passing Clean Up Crew for 2 seasons and never looked back due to the incredible rock and perfect temps in the Gully. After 2 seasons the Marble Gully was getting saturated and quality projects again were on my mind. I convinced Angela to climb Clean Up Crew, just to see if maybe we gave up to soon. I climbed up to my last bolt and was about to punch up to the anchor when I noticed some features leading left and up to a possible weakness. So I headed out added a 4th bolt, a 5th bolt a 6th and stopped 10' shy of a crack. I was blown away with the quality of the climbing and was psyched on the line once again.

We've been up the wall 3 more times this summer, heading out at the crack of dawn to beat the heat and get as much done as possible before the sun hits us at about noon. Our efforts have truly paid off with pitch 2 and it will be one of the best hard pitches in area when it's all said and done.  Pitch 2(The SideWinder Pitch) is 65m long and sports 11 bolts, it weighs in at 5.12+ and is as exposed as you could possibly be on a vertical wall. Pitch 3(The Gold Room) is under way, and 3 bolts in, is proving to be of equal or better quality.

I'll update my blog as we progress and will hopefully be writing a 'summit post' This Season!

Peace and Blessings,