Friday, August 20, 2010

The Home Stretch

We had been driving almost straight thru two nights and a day with a few hours sleep in the back of the van each night. Early Wednesday morning I crawled out of the bed in the back of the van and started driving, 15 minutes later I heard a loud WHACK and saw four hooves flying in my peripheral these audible and visual sensory experiences slowly crept thru the foggy layers of my time travel warped brain I started to realize that I had just crushed some poor creature. I hadn't seen a thing nor hardly felt the impact, but the very real smoke pouring out from the hood informed me that I had also crushed the radiator and we were screwed.
Out of cell phone service range in the middle of nowhere upper Michigan....SCREWED! I ran down the road a mile to the nearest phone and called a wrecker who towed us to a tiny dodge dealership in a town with one gas station/store and the dealership and maybe 500 residents. They informed me that it was gonna be at least two or three days until they could get the right radiator for the Sprinter. So for the past few days we have been hanging out on lake superior waiting and exploring the small towns in a rental car from the dealership.

Fortunately, before all of this we had a wonderful week in the Canadian Rockies exploring Lake Louise and Banff National Park. I had heard of a 5.14R trad route called "The Path" that Sonnie Trotter established at Lake Louise a few years ago and I was super stoked to be in one place long enough to sink my teeth into a project as exciting as that.

Right in front of the crag at the back of Lake Lousie, Jovial and the boys out on the silt flats.
After one day of sampling some of the classics I then climbed around to the right of this face to set up a top rope on the 130ft face where lies "The Path". It goes off of a ledge at 60 ft up through the yellow streaks, over the two roofs then the black streaks and straight up to where you see me at the anchor.

Bodhi playing with fire.
Shoeing up with a brand new pair of Samurai's for one last top rope burn before trying to lead it. I must admit I had a hard time with my mind on this route. It had been a long time since I'd tried anything this spicy and the night before I was going to lead it I found myself laying in bed with my heart rate going a little too rapidly as I went thru the moves and gear placements in my head. The gear is mostly good...I put three pieces in a horizontal at the ledge as an anchor. The picture below shows the first crux climbing above the ledge, you do a fairly hard balancy move to get the horizontal 8 feet above my head where you get the first piece. If you fell you'd have to jump out a bit to clear the ledge and it would be kinda violent when you came into the wall. The piece you get is good but there are little crumblies and dust in the crack which made me worry a bit about the cam lobes skating out.

You then do another crux to gain the slot just below my left foot in the above photo. Then some slightly easier moves up to the bigger roof above my head where I put two small cams in another horizontal that also had some crumblies in it.
After one more crux past a bomber alien a body length below my feet in the above photo you get a decent shake out and a good micro cam before a hard three move boulder problem going left with this nasty crossover move to a little pencil edge. I barely managed sticking it poorly, was able to readjust and hit the better edge to the left (below).

You then run it out on easier but still pumpy steep moves for 20 feet until another micro cam just before the anchor. I felt super lucky to have sent this scary route on my first lead attempt...big anxiety relief... and we were due to start driving back to Vermont and didn't want to have to make my family wait around another day if I hadn't sent. I believe this is the 4th ascent of this rad route. Overall one of the best pitches of rock climbing I've done!
Now back to New England and the undone projects waiting for me there.

Peter Kamitses


D Watson said...

Nice send Pete!

Dean Lords said...

Hells yeah!

Jed B. Slanders said...

Very Nice... That level of Trad is something to truly aspire to.

Suradetch said...

Congratulations on the send Pete! I enjoyed reading that. Awesome pictures too.

NM said...