Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wanted: Used and annotated copy of Roof Crack Climbing for Dummies

There are many good things about rainy spells in Squamish: your skin never needs moisturizer, you don't have to work if you are a climbing guide and you have multipitch work booked, you have lots of time to fester on the couch and bicker with your spouse, and most of all, you don't have to deal with redpoint jitters if your project du jour happens to be a crack climb. I really missed the west coast drizzle when I lived in Utah... day after day of sun just seemed so tiring, so monotonous. But right about now I could really use a bit of sun on my face, hands cradled in some warm granite goodness.
At least rainforests are really, really pretty

The rainy spell began 2 weeks ago on a high note. I had projects at Cheakamus Canyon, one of the few crags in Squamish that stays dry in the rain, so part of me was a bit excited when the rain began; it was time to work on my sport climbing! I also thought it was great when I dispatched a few of my sport projects only a few days into the rainy spell... I was feeling stronger than I thought! As luck would have it all of my guiding work was instructional, so I still got to earn cash while biding my time setting up mock leads, mock multipitches and lecturing on the importance of finding that perfect zone between over and under cammed protection.

My first day off in a week arrived and the forecast was looking good... I was psyched! I hiked up to my current flame, a flaring finger crack located high above highway 99 just south of Squamish. I knew it was likely seeping, but I couldn't climb anywhere else without at least checking. Unfortunately my wise friend Jeremy Blumel was right, it would have been possible to fill a water bottle, albeit slowly, from the drips issuing from the crux of the route. Damn!

Optimum Squamish sending conditions

Please, please get dry little crack

Slipping and squishing down to our car, Evan and I hatched plan B: Zombie Roof. It's location in the Smoke Bluffs means that it is open to the wind and is west facing, meaning that if anything was going to be dry, it would be. Sure enough it was dry, and I tasted the bitterness of complete and utter shutdownedness while flailing around upside down. It was great to watch more able roof crack climbers go at it: my friend Jason Kruk euro blew his chalk and pink pointed with laughable ease, my husband Evan growled and yelled his way into the tight hand jams before the lip, getting very close to sending, and my climbing gal pal Mandoline Clarke burled her way through many one-hang burns making my heart swell with pride. Inspired but frustrated, I returned for a few burns today with Mandoline and Evan. Wow. Chossed hands, sore abs and I still haven't clipped the chains, ouch. Guess I have a smoke bluffs project now too...
In your heaad, in your heaaad, zombie, zombie, zombie ie ie ie

Here's a video Evan (AKA Rainy Rest Day productions) put together on Zombie:

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