Another posse of climbers headed to Crane Mountain today for a sunny, albeit brisk, day of climbing. Mike P., Cheryl G., Garth B., Matt H., and I met at the shortcut a little after nine this morning, and headed to the Measles Walls. There, Mike led Social Climber, showing the Under the Measles Wall some lovin’ as the rest of his gang followed up it. While the headed over to climb Hydrophobia, Tom Lane and Ben Brooke arrived. The three of us headed deeper into the wilderness, heading toward Pinnacle Overlook.
Today was the day! A bit nippy, but as usual, the southeast side of Crane Mountain tucked us out of the wind and into the sunshine. Tom was ready, and we even had a camera (and a photographer) to record the send. I belayed while Ben took pictures (thank you, Ben!).
The send went smoothly, Tom is fully-recovered from his bout with flu, and strong. Ben cleaned the route, I tagged along third, Tom and Ben took another run on newly-christened Keystone, and then we went onward to climb some more.
Keystone 5.10a PG 45′
Start: at the base of Pinnacle Overlook, the large block (large as in 45′ tall) sitting along the BAW path opposite the mountain as one crosses a talus pile, just before reaching the Isobuttress. Note that there is a fixed anchor that can be used to rappel to the base, which is far easier than scrambling around.
P1: Climb up a left-facing flake left of center to its end. Make a long reach to a good hold, then an awkward move to reach the slab on top of the steep wall. Make a few difficult friction moves, passing a bolt as the climbing eases before reaching the anchor.
Gear: a full set of C3s, brass offset nuts, and a .3 or .4 C4.
FA: Tom Lane, Ben Brooke, and Jay Harrison 6th April 2012
We headed over to the Isobuttress. Carpenter & Das was drier than we’d seen it in a long time, so Tom racked up to climb it. I walked into the Amphitheatre to cheer on Garth as he led Amphitheatre Crack, then hustled to join Tom and Ben at the belay ledge. They had climbed quickly, so I had to cheat, scrambling up C&D Without to reach them. I hitched into the middle to climb the upper pitch (so, so fun!), sticking Ben with cleaning duty once again. While we admired the view from the top, we saw Matt heading out and shouted our farewells his way.
After rappelling down, we TR’d Recuperation Boulevard, both its standard first pitch line and the 5.10 start. Mike, Garth, and Cheryl said good-bye as they passed us, heading homeward. By the time we all had a run ourselves ragged on the 5.10 start, the sun had ducked behind Crane’s shoulder and it was cold. We decided to call it a day.
I’m told Todd Paris came in with four children in tow and climbed at the Land of Overhangs; so that makes twelve folks climbing on Crane today. Plus of course, Mammut the wonderdog.
Although it never managed to hit fifty today, the southeast side’s lee protection and exposure to early sunlight allowed us all to climb without being cold. For those thinking about a trip here during these early season months, I recommend heading as far in as you plan to go, climbing in places that lose the sun earliest (think Amphitheatre, Long Play Wall, BAW Low End), then working your way back to sunnier locales as the day progresses. The only exception to this is the Isobuttress, which is a ways in but gets the latest sunshine of all the cliffs near the BAW. Finishing up the day at the Measles Walls stretches out the available warm rock supply while making that last leg of the walkout seem a bit shorter.