Monday, 15 July 2013

Area 44--Renewing Connections

As summer continues in Vancouver this year, we are in the midst of a record-breaking July, and these wonderful, long days just beg a person to get up to the rock after work.  The sun is up until almost 10, and there's more than enough daylight to climb by until well into the evening, with the added bonus of a nice drop in temperature.

Today we find ourselves in Area 44, as it's the closest great climbing area to home for an evening trip.  Mert, Sophie, and myself are excited to get up and at it, and we decide to start with Preview, an old friend.

Mert has no interest in climbing 'Bleu du Jour', which is one of my favorites, so we nominate 'I Might Possibly' as our first climb of the day.  A nice 5.9, it should be a nice introduction to granite for Sophie who, visiting from Switzerland, is used to climbing on featured limestone crags.

I Might Possibly
A tough starter, this climb is a gorgeous finisher, as long as you can stick with it to that point.  Mert declares himself the leader and begins his journey.  He makes the first bolt, which is always a good thing, but starts to hit some issues on the smooth face just above.  A couple slips, and several clever moves later, and he's up and over the first challenge, starting upward through the next two bolts. 

Now he's arrived at the real crux of the route, a really touchy section that relies on a couple of decent finger pockets coupled with wee little edges for your feet.  I know that I always use my right foot stretched waaaaay back to help feel a bit more comfortable through here, but Mert seems hesitant all of a sudden. 

He hangs out and ponders for a bit before asking to come down.  Seems the start just took too much out of him...  I guess that makes it my turn!

I'm Not Against It
I have a rather questionable approach to this climb, which treats me well with these beaten down, old shoes of mine.  I go way wide to the left, and start in some really mossy holds that allow some good positive placement.  With all the sweat on my body, the moss and dirt is just stuck all over me, and I'm mighty dirty by the time I reach the second bolt.

It's pretty smooth sailing from there, negotiating with the little finger-cracks just above the third bolt before passing through to some healthy jugs above.

Now it's time for Sophie's initiation to the granite club.  She heads straight up the face, electing to bypass the deadly swing-fall that going left could subject you to, and is making a very good show of it.  While trying to pass the first big bulge, however, she just doesn't have the upper-body strength to make the big pull over the lip.  After throwing everything, and the kitchen sink (including a unique heel-hook that I would never have thought of) at the climb, she elects to come down.

Mert goes one last time on top-rope, succeeding up through the top section, to clean the route so we can head down to 'I'm not Against it' which tilts the scale at 5.8.

Mert decides to redeem himself by taking the lead again, and he owns this fun little gem, employing some beautiful hand-over-hand shuffle move to pass the crux on the cracked flake.  This climb really is a sweetheart, and Mert's down and smiling in no time.

I'm up next, and it's nothing that hasn't happened before.  There's really not much else to say, that yawning crack is just so easy to secure yourself in with a big knee jam.

Sophie gets after it, and she is able to move very confidently up through the moves of this climb, having a few hiccups through the crux, but nothing remarkable.  She comes down to ground, smiling and happy.  Contentedly declaring, 'I hate crack' to echo Mert's steadfast belief. 

Sadly, our time today is at an end, and we load up for the return trip to the city.  A quick stop at Chevron for some ice cream and slightly discounted gas, make for a marvelous end to a beautiful trip.

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