An old friend of mine and his girlfriend are in the area, and were climbing at the Lake today. They were nice enough to invite me to join them after I was done with work. They were climbing at Horse Rampart, a place I have not been since the weekend after I got home from Joshua Tree. I was psyched to reacquaint with Willie, meet his girlfriend Heather, and to go back Horse Rampart, since I had some unfinished business with a route there called Plethora (5.11a).
Plethora is one of those routes that perfectly captures the subjectivity of climbing grades. I could write a few thousand words on why I think it deserves 5.11a and I am sure the folks who think it only deserves 5.10d could argue just as strongly for their opinion. All I know is that it is somewhere in that range, depending on your body type and the style of climbing that suits you, and it is fun. So if 5.10d+/5.11a- is close to the difficulty you want to climb, get on this thing. As for me I got on it on top rope tonight and got it second try (after having worked it back in late April) - it is a climb in two parts with two distinct cruxes. The bottom is a mid-to-upper 5.10 inside corner that with cool movement, followed by a ledge-filled midsection with a good rest. The top is cryptic, tenuous and somewhat (at least for me) dynamic (in the feet, not the hands). If I had it wired I might be convinced to call it 5.10d, but I do not, so I will stand by 5.11a.
Anyway it was a night of perfect weather, with an old friend. The kind of night that makes the grade seem unimportant.