Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some of the best days...

People tend to avoid climbing on days with bad forecasts like they tend to avoid hazardous material spills. While the latter of these avoidances is generally a good decision, the former is not...at least not at Devil's Lake. At the Lake, spring, summer and fall storms tend to be short and intense, but clear quickly - some locals have speculated that this is due to the Baraboo Range's tendency to "split" storm systems. I am no meteorologist, but I have witnessed this strange weather pattern firsthand in the past, and have come to believe in it, if nothing more, as a useful heuristic to get me off the couch and out to the bluffs.

Jay was in town this weekend, and while I couldn't join him on Saturday or Sunday (I had a wedding to attend in Minneapolis - congrats Mamie and Ryan), I was able to join him on Monday. It had rained all day on Sunday, and Monday morning started off the same - but drilling down to the hourly forecast (a necessity for weather optimists) revealed a strong chance of clearing in the afternoon. Shortly after ten in the morning, I met Jay at his mom's house east of Baraboo. It rained (sometimes hard) off and on until about noon, when, the clearing weather, coffee and combined restlessness, conspired to clear us from the couch. Alliteration aside, we headed up to the Major Mass/Minor Mass/Doorway Rocks area of the park - we figured even if it didn't clear up and dry out we would get a good chance to explore a part of the park in which neither of us had much experience.

When we got to Minor Mass, it was wet - no longer raining, just wet. We spent a little time at Minor Mass, trying to find something that looked dry and appealing, but eventually we decided that Doorway Rocks would dry out faster. After a short, uphill hike we found blues skies and dry rock. I started the day out with a lead of the classic Angel's Crack (5.6) - topping out in ideal conditions meant for a cheesy hero shot.
Blue Skies Atop Angel's Crack (5.6) - Photo by Jay
After Angel's, Jay led the classic Mary Jane (5.8). Then we both took two attempts at Rosemary's Baby (5.12b) on toprope - both sending on our second go. Then I led Cedar Tree Wall (5.6) and Jay followed. We lowered a rope on what we think was Split Decision a supposed 5.7 that neither of us could come close to making go at that grade on toprope...we left it undone and agreed on "At least 5.11." Next we both took toprope goes on Cannabis Sativa (5.8) and W.A.R. (5.7). Jay finished up the day with a heady and impressive lead of Dances with F.I.B.s (5.8) - a wandering, awkward and runout affair of dubious quality.

All told, we both took nine goes, on eight routes and sent seven of them cleanly - not bad for a rainy day.

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