Mt Hubris - Cosmic Wall

The route climbs the left tower's left face, than traverses into the notch on the summit ridge, you then gain the knife ridge summit for some awesome exposure.
OK, so here's the question we're all asked; our answers are generally very pathetic. "Why do you climb?" I don't have the final answer, but I do have a small parts of it.

I generally enjoy my career, I meet lots of interesting people and I take pride in my work. Sometimes there are parts of it that I simply do not want to do. I can usually have somebody else do it for me; but not always. The week before this climb, I spent 20 hours over three days workin in the shop attic. We were reconfiguring trusses to move walls and I had to make sure it was right. I was up to my neck in insulation, yeah it was 90 degrees up there. By Thursday, the only thing that kept me going was the fact that Amy and I were going to be spending a couple days on California granite on the weekend. So why do I climb? Because it's one of the things that gives me what I need to get through the rough spots.

Our first views of the granite spires

This was going to be Amy's first real Alpine Rock climb. She was anxious but also eager to face the challenges of exposure and the added challenges of multi-pitch climbing w/ a pack.

The forecast was for temps in the 90's and I could foresee the biggest challenge would be the heat/dehydration. We took a gallon of water each and set out at 600 am. It was still dark so we navigated the easy trail by headlamp. It's a 1 hour and 45 minute hike w/ some brutal manzanita bashing. Not too far but far enough to keep the craggers away and more importantly, it gave it the Alpine feel that I love.

On the hike in, we enjoyed the landscape that is very different than what we're used to here in the NW. There was granite everywhere, it was overwhelming. I could show you a hundreds of pics but I prefer to just give you a taste, so that you have to come down and see for yourself. Possibly I'll lead a trip this fall if there's sufficient interest?

Castle Dome, a hunk of granite w/ several long route from 5.8-5.10d

I climbed the route a couple years ago w/Chemeketans Vincent, John Coyier, Tom Klien and a couple other Mazi's. I was still super psyched to give it another go w/ Amy. My previous trip didn't diminish the awe I felt.

Amy in front of one of many granite pinnacles that would be crowed w/ climbers if it were here in the NW.

We were roped up and on belay at 8:30. The climbing is generally runout-friction climbing. I think I found one loose hold on the entire route. The climbing was quite a bit easier than I remembered and approach shoes were good enough for all but the fifth pitch. Even still I could have used my more comfortable sneakers but the pitch is 200' and sustained over the first 100'.

The 1st pitch enters a sweet dihedral

You enter the dihedral, sling a massive tree and head out onto the face for some runout slab climbing. This pitch would have been a rope stretcher had Scott Phillips not lent me his 70m rope. With the extra rope, I was able to get to a horn for a proper belay anchor as opposed to the "tree" belay that is really more of a shrub.

Amy atop the 4th pitch

One of the cool things about this route is the varied climbing. The second pitch climbs what I'll call a "Giants Staircase." You climb a series of "steps" that are vertical and about 8' tall. The third pitch climbs granite fins that are great hand holds but don't take pro very well. You have to be real creative to get pro in on this pitch or comfortable w/ long runouts. The climbing was generally easy and I think I placed 4 peices for the 3rd and 4th pitches together. (+/- 230')

Amy peeks out, notice how small those 100' Pine trees look.

The 5th pitch is the money pitch. You climb a series of solid, granite flakes. in the 1st pic of this posting, we are now traversing up and right to the notch in the summit ridge. I climbed in slo-mo to make sure I absorbed all the awesomeness of this spot. You never know what the future holds so I try to snag every bit of pleasure that I can. The pitch was over too soon.
I gain the summit ridge. The exposure startled me a bit. If you look closely, you can see the belay anchor, a few slung small but bomber horns in the bottom right corner.

As you move onto the ridge, you notice that the rights side drops right the heck off. You feel like a fly on the wall. I had to wonder if Amy was going to appreciate it the same way I did?
Amy wedged into a small butt notch. She was still going strong. Notice my pathetic "pro," the rope threaded around that small horn.
So why do we climb? Amy has been afraid of exposure. Over the last year, we've done several multi-pitch routes. Despite being an excellent climber, she would always have mini-meltdowns under the stress of exposure and she'd start climbing badly. With no pressure from me, she decided that she was ready to jump in w/ both feet. I didn't care if she every climbed another multi-pitch route or any route for that matter. I was just proud of her that she had the courage to face IT. Amy climbs because she doesn't want be afraid. In alot of ways, I wish I had her courage.
Summit shot. What a warrior! Notice Shasta in the background.
When we reached the top of the 5th pitch, we heard voices. We saw 6 climbers fighting through the Manzanita. It was now around 10:45. They hiked up in the heat and were looking at several hours exposed to the sun. I felt badly for them. By the time we rappelled off and hiked back to the base of the route, their last climber was still on the ground. They didn't have nearly enough water and I was concerned for them. The guy leading the pitches was placing gear every 10'. At that rate for a route of this length, they'd be rappelling in the dark. After three hours of climbing, they were starting the 2nd pitch. The entire route took us three and a half hours. I couldn't coax Amy into climbing Castle Dome via the easiest route. It was already pushing 90 degrees. By the time we got back to camp, I was very greatful that Amy's the boss. If I had my way, we'd still be on route sizzled like bacon. Around 400am I heard some comotion at camp and I first thought it was a bear. I figured there's nothing I can do if it is and went back to sleep. When we woke up, a tent mysteriously appeared near ours. Poor guys.
Lost in a see of granite.
I've got to say, I enjoyed climbing the route more w/ my wife than I did w/ Vincent and crew. (No offense guys, you just aren't my type)
Though we were alone most of the day, we felt that we were amongst friends. John Petrie and Glo had a crew of first time summitters on the nearby Shasta (Greg Phillips, Lynn Kropf, Travis Klaas) and further North, Steve Dougherty had a team on the summit of Mt Hood (Dan Sewell, Susie Callahan, John Ellis). So why do I climb? Because my friends do.

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