Smith/Lovers Leap/Ozone

This is less of a tale and more of a photo diary of a few of our cragging trips this summer. Because we've been weathered out of the mountains so regularly, we've actually gotten 6-10 rock trips in. Generally, our rock climbing suffers once the Alpine season rolls around; this year, we've actually improved our rock climbing.
Big John, Bearded Rick, Amy and I took a trip out to Smith. Our goal was to polish up our rock climbing, multi-pitch schemes and communication to prepare for a trip up N to Forbidden Peak. A trip that was rained out, but I can be very persistent and I'm going to find a way to get us up there.
We ran into Tim, Robyn and their son Tyler. They were also out for some fun and looking to improve their lead climbing skills. Amy and I joined the Chemeketans just a few years ago, now we can't get away from them!

Here, Amy is looking very Ellenesque (Ellen Gradison). Amy has lead a couple of trad/sport mixed routes but this was her first full on trad lead. She did very well, maybe she's on her way to being a trad leader? A climb leader? Amy has followed a very logical progression in climbing. Gym to rock to mountain to sport leading to trad leading. Next stop Alpine leading!
I'm starting off on Into Thin Air, Rick is spotting me; maybe a little too enthusiastically? I looked down and saw those thumbs and new I couldn't fall.
After the roof, there's some great jamming and knobs to the top. This is a route that's easy to climb but hard to protect at the beginning. The good hand and foot holds aren't in line w/ the crack. You kind of have to place the gear blind and go by feel. After you're about 30' up, you can finally get something in bigger than a micro cam/micro nut. This is a very high quality route. Some say that the complete 3 pitch climb is the best 5.10 trad in the park. I haven't climbed the 3rd pitch but it's hard to imagine that it could compare to Zebra to Zion.
Here, Tim pulls over the roof using footholds around the arrete. He trailed a rope so they could Top rope because we were on our way out. It was great to run into them so we could scheme the rest of our plans for the summer.

I finally got a chance to meet there son Tyler. It was obvious to see that it wont be long before he was showing us how to climb. Darned whipper-snappers.
Here Rick leads up a pitch as I kindly haul his boots. This summer Rick has been doing a bit more rock than snow and I'm excited to have another Alpine partner w/ great stamina and experience.
Spiderman, in my opinion, is the best 5.7 trad lead in the park. It has great rock and tons of variation in the moves. Laybacks, smears, jams, nubbins, even a couple of roofs to pull. Beware, its not a very easy 5.7 and I've seen a few 5.7 trad leaders have complete melt-downs at the crux roof.
Here, Rick lays back on a 5.8 flake. It's one of those flakes that you start laybacking and its hard to step out of the layback so you have to march it up to the top. Since you're not seeing John in many of these pictures, you can probably guess these are his pics. He also did lots of climbing/leading and I think we all left there feeling like we had a great rock climbing weekend.

When I came down from a route and found Rick sleeping on the ground, I figured my rock day was coming to a close. This was OK w/ me, if we hurried, Starbucks would still be open!
Our best friends live in Carson City which happens to be in the heart of a rock climbers paradise. They think we come to visit them;-) We all headed out for a hike and to scout out the famous, Lovers Leap climbing area. We didn't do much climbing but we did enough to know we had to come back. The area was smaller but way better than I imagined. I'm already scheming to come back in the fall. All of the routes are multi-pitch trad routes. We climbed a route that was only given 3 stars out of 5. It would be a Super Classic at Smith. I can only imagine what the 5 star routes: Travelers Buttress, the Line , Bears Reach, etc, etc.would be like.
Amy says I have tunnel vision once something catches may attention. The route named, The Line, is the most beatiful route I've ever seen. It's a perfectly straight, plumb crack that splits the east face. It's unmistakable. I've climbed it in my sleep several times already, I can't wait to go back.
Above, Marcus follows me up a giant monolithic face w/ exfolliating granite. It was his first multi-pitch route and one of his first rock climbs. There was a finger tips crack that certainly got his attention. He calmed down and by the time we got to the top, we were still friends.
Here, we summit on the Hogs Wild buttress. You can see the main East wall in the back. It's bigger than it looks w/ most route going from 4-6 pitches. I'm not a very good slab climber and I certainly met my match. There was a slab w/ zero hand holds and a 3/16 inch dike for feet. I had to traverse it. I had a small cam 10 feet below but it felt like 30 feet. Once you leave the crack, you can't reverse the moves. The Travers of no Reverse. I got half way out when I was possessed by the spirit of Elvis Presly. My foot was going like a sewing machine. I scolded it, I begged it and I made bargains w/ it and it finally stopped trembling. I always tell beginners to "trust your feet," it was time to put up are go for a giant skidder. I regrouped and as soon as I got across to a reasonable handhold, my climbers memory kicked in and I spoke to myself, "it wasn't that bad."
Amy, new Chemeketan Andrew Trachsel and I made a trip to the Gorge to climb at Ozone. The area is packed w/ climbs in the 5.9-5.11 range. It's the only place I can go and climb 20 routes in my range without walking more than 60 yards. The approach is 5 minutes.
The area is a bit height dependent and most routes are a blend of gear and bolts. It definetly favors climbers w/ strong hands. Most of the routes are a full 100'. Definetly need a 60m rope. Above I place a cam on the Roach Factor. It's an awesome 10c pump fest. About 30' up you get your last rest. The last 70', you can almost here the pump clock ticking. In the last 70' there are a pair of bolts but the route takes gear well. Get along little doggie!

Andrew follows up the Snake Face. It's the best 5.9 at the crag. (in my opinion) It has a bit of a runout but it takes a small cam that protects the move into the dihedral. Super fun and a bit steep.

Amy scopes out the crux before committing to the moves. She's really getting to be a real good climber these days. One of my favorite parts about the area, when you reach the anchors, you have a great view of the Gorge. The crag is only a couple hours from my house and well worth the drive. If you climb here, buy the guide from Climb Max. Proceeds from the book benefit the family of one of the developers who was diagnosed about year ago w/ Lou Gherigs. This isn't a good time to be cheap and borrow.
I hope you are enjoying your summer the way we have. Climb safely.

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