Climbing Again - The Ace-Drizzle Memorial Route
The skis are back in the closet again; at least until I am in the North Cascades next week skiing volcanoes! So that means it's climbing season. Time to get back into shape and climb the rocks. Being that my wife and I are moving back to Squamish, British Columbia next week, we decided to cruise the home front here in Salt Lake City. Feeling the need to climb some granite cracks, we decided to test our mettle on a newer gear route called the Ace - Drizzle Memorial Route, 4 pitches, 5.12c. (As it is a newer route you can read about it on www.mountainproject.com, which is an incredible on-line free user created guidebook to everywhere!) You might find the name interesting, and it is worth noting...It is named (and I quote the First Ascensionist Chris Thomas here):
In honor of our good friends Brian Postlethwait and Andre Callari, who were killed while climbing in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska in May, 2007. Brian and Andre were two of the most badass climbers, skiers/snowboarders, pilots, adventurers, husbands, brothers, sons and friends that ever lived, and this is part of our tribute to the amazing people that they were.
I had met these guys briefly before they died, and am great friends with some of their best friends, and everyone only attests to what stand up guys they were. What a great way to preserve their memories in the communities they were a part of!
On Saturday, Jasmin and I went up to check this route out. It is rare that either of us can fire off a 12c trad pitch first go, so we knew we would have to put a little bit of time into sending it, so we got up there and worked the moves and the finicky gear out. I must say that one of the things that really helped on this pitch was the Black Diamond C3 Camalots. BD's newer micro cams are pretty awesome for tricky small protection placements. I have aliens and tcu's on my rack and now C3's, and I find with hard trad climbing that you really need a mixture of devices as different cracks take different brands of gear. However, more and more I seem to be going to these units. The narrow heads, and slightly stiffer cables mean I can stuff them safely into small and tricky spots. For multiple placements on this route, all I could put into the crack were C3s! They are also built to last. Aliens and Ultralight TCU's have some durability issues, and I seem to wear them out with my abusive use patterns. The first piece we placed on this pitch was a sideways green C3 and it was getting worked by my repeated 15 foot falls at the crux. At the end of the day, it held its original shape and function - a testament to its durability.
To keep going on some gear reviews here, I must say that my new shoes were pretty sweet as well. I am sporting some Evolv Pontas shoes, and their no stretch-synthetic material and sticky rubber are treating me right. The Ace-Drizzle is an overhanging tips crack, and you really need to paste your feet on some micro holds to climb this thing, and these shoes provided.
Today we went back up for round 2. With temps in the 90's in SLC, we waited for some shade and headed up the canyon. On my second try today I was able to fire the pitch, having the gear placements and technical beta dialed in. Jasmin didn't send, but she was pretty close, so we are going to cross our fingers and hope it doesn't rain tomorrow, so we can go back up and she can try again! I was psyched to fire off a hard trad pitch this early in the season; I can't wait to step it up some more in Squamish, B.C. this summer!1 comments