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April 17, 2009: Supercrack Buttress and a Mini Epic

What is this? snow on  the tops of the mesas?  Damn.  Into Monticello it is.  Not turning out to be such a great trip for Kevin so far… But what’s this?  The day clears, and after a morning lounging around in the coffee shop it’s back into the ‘Creek for us.  Supercrack buttress is the destination, and brrrr, was it cold.  The sun tantilized us by peeking out from behind the clouds for momentary warmth several times.  It was never long lived enough to get really nice though.  In fact, as the day progressed the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.  So, what to do on a bad day?

Warm up on Incredible Handcrack, of course.  Matt R. and I both took turns leading this, and Kevin put in a great showing on TR, having the most trouble getting off the ground, but cruising right on up after figuring that out.

Matt R. cruising through the crux overhanging corner on Incredible Handcrack (5.10-)

Matt R. cruising through the crux overhanging corner on Incredible Handcrack (5.10-)

Then … the mini epic ensues.  We missed our opportunity to get on Coyne Crack (5.11), so instead I opted to give The Wave (5.10+) a try.  It went fairly well, and would have been un-remarkable (other than being a great line!) with a couple of hangs getting to the last roof.

Tad stemming through some bulges on The Wave (5.10+), prior to a mini epic ...

Tad stemming through some bulges on The Wave (5.10+), prior to a mini epic ...

So I’m under the roof, I put bomber a green camalot in, and go to pull up the rope to clip it in… “Slack!” I yell … no slack comes.  “SLACK!”, still nothing!.  So I hang on a grey camalot. Oh shit … The rope is stuck somewhere.  Damn.  Nobody else wants to lead up on the other end (did I mention the temperature is dropping, and I’m in nothing but a long sleeve shirt and a t-shirt?)  What to do?  “You could build an anchor and rap” hollers up Matt..  Good idea, so I start to build something.  Shit, I can’t even pull up enough slack to tie a knot in the rope!  I ended up having to down-aid to somewhere that I could build an anchor with what I had left for gear, and have enough rope to tie it into the power point.  Finally, after building a second anchor, I rap, cleaning as I go.  Turns out the rope jammed behind the link cam trigger handle!  Apparently the cam walked back in the crack and ended up pinching down the rope between the trigger handle and the side of the crack.  Argh.  So I finish cleaning and rapping.

Now what?  I need to climb back up to the anchor and finish off the climb so I can get the gear back.  I’m not about to lead that sucker again, so Matt offers to run down to the car to get my ascenders.  Great… except they’re not in the car… so I run down and look around.  Nope, not there!  Crap, they’re in the haulbag in Bojan’s car (which is currently in Moab!)  Luckily I find my tiblocs, and we’re in business!

Tad jugging back to his intermediate anchor on The Wave (5.10+), after freeing the stuck lead rope!

Tad jugging back to his intermediate anchor on The Wave (5.10+), after freeing the stuck lead rope!

So, to make a long story short (well I guess it’s too late for that)… I jugged up to the anchor, went back on lead, and finished the climb (with one more hang at the last roof, damn it!)  Matt and Kevin took some toprope laps on it, and really enjoyed the climbing.

We packed it up and headed back to the campsite, where Matt L. and Bojan had just arrived themselves, and that’s where we learned of their toaster sized block encounter… what a day!

Ciao, – Tad

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