Monday, August 18, 2014

A Rad Weekend of Climbing in Wisconsin!

I had a great weekend climbing in Wisconsin this past weekend! It started on Saturday with a trip to Hillbilly Hollow. I met Justin, Matthew and Brittany in the parking lot and we headed back to the cliff.

My first order of the day was to begin modernizing and replacing the anchors on top of Swiss Cheese (5.8). These anchors have looked sketchy for at least eight years, and probably longer. I was psyched because I got try out my new, compact-rotary-hammer-drill. It works great, although the cheap, $2 drill bits I was using were only good for about three-quarters of a hole - lesson learned. Because I was running low on drill bits, I only placed one new bolt, and I actually like the current layout, but want to go back, yank the old bolt (going to need a bigger wrench!), patch the resulting hole, replace some of the existing hardware, and camouflage the whole rig. One step at a time I guess.
Crag Improvement - photo by Justin Meyer
After the crag improvement session, it was time for some climbing! Justin volunteered to try the new anchor configuration, and led up Swiss Cheese. We pulled the rope, I led it too, and then lowered down Generation Gap (5.12a) to hang draws. In the meantime, Matthew and Brittany joined us in the main canyon after they finished up on Curse of the Drill (5.7) and End of the Innocence (5.7).

While I was doing the anchor work on Swiss Cheese, Justin set a top rope for Zig-zag Crack (5.10a). So he took a burn on that next. Then I took a failed swing at Generation Gap while Matthew and Brittany took a run on Sunset Ascent (5.10a). Next for Matthew and Brittany was Swiss Cheese; in the meantime, Justin took another lap on Zig-zag to clean it up. Then I took another go on Generation Gap while Matthew looked on with the camera from the neighboring Swiss Cheese - I sent! Here are some of Matthew's pics:
Chalking up - photo by Matthew Clausen

Matched on the jug - photo by Matthew Clausen

Making the last clip - photo by Matthew Clausen
Justin and Matthew were both psyched to give the Gap a try, and they both made great efforts, I got a few shots of Justin and a few video clips of Matthew. Here they are:
Justin at full-extension
Getting the feet on

These guys were both close on the heartbreaking start of this thing, and will be back soon to finish!

We spent the rest of the day playing on some of the other fun stuff in the canyon. I worked on Pagan Rituals (5.11d) a fun, but very sustained route. Justin and Matthew took turns with Manic Depression (5.11b/c) - a great route with some fun moves. Brittany finished her day out with runs on PWB Arete (5.9) and Sunset Ascent (5.10a).

We all walked out to the parking lot, hungry and tired - a good day. Justin headed for home and Matthew, Brittany and I headed to Jose's in Baraboo for burritos.

Sunday morning was a slow start, Matthew and Brittany had crashed at my place, but no one seemed to be in a big hurry. When we finally did get going we headed over to the East Bluff at Devil's Lake for a bit more laid-back day. I managed to send Gill's Nose (5.11b) and started working on the next project Peyote Blues (5.12b). It was a fun day, various pals came and went - there was much socializing and a few photos.
Visiting CO climber topping out on Brinton's
Goran on Gill's Nose (5.11b)
Sometimes a long reach starts with the feet
The end of my day
Jon J giving it a go on Congratulations Crack (5.10a)
The humidity won
All things told it was a great weekend, and I am already looking forward to the next one.


Matthew said...

Thanks for telling the story of the weekend, James! And lesson learned: take the camera away from you when I'm going to flail around on something that's out of my range! Where's the video of my confident lead up Sunset Ascent or my redemptive "oh yeah, use my feet" TR send of Zig Zag? 5.10a is my upper limit until I learn to properly use footholds on those technical routes. Proud (and jealous) of you for sending Generationg Gap on Saturday plus Gill's Nose on Sunday. Looking forward to either belaying you or taking pics as you send Peyote!

James said...

Matthew you will hike both of those routes in the near future. And yes, you did crush Sunset and Zig-zag, but no, 5.10a is not your limit. You should plan on Thoroughfare this weekend - that route is great for working footwork.

Unknown said...

Generation Gap and Gills Nose?

Nice work James, the amount of proud ascents is already stacking up! Motivating!

James said...

Thanks Paul! It was a good weekend, can't wait to see you and Johnny out crushing it this fall.