I went alone this time and was lucky enough to get belays off some kind local climbers (Andrew, Crit, Justin, Andi and Calvin thanks a tonne!) Conditions were better than in May being mostly colder and without too much wind. The day after flying in and attending the Reel Rock Tour film showing in Bend, I went up to re-familiarise with the moves and the day after, managed to do some decent links on the upper section. It reminded me of how hard the crux by bolt 14 actually is. Imagine a viscous V8+ shouldery, crimp problem on Pill Box Wall on the Orme and you wouldn't be far off! This first hard section leads to a 'pod' resting slot (described in more detail in my post back in May).
|Reaching the crux left hand crimper at bolt 14 (Picture by Heather Furtney)|
|The crux move at Bolt 14 (Picture by Jason Bagby)|
|Sticking the 'tooth' by bolt 14 (Picture by Heather Furtney)|
|Leaving the resting pod and starting the tricky traverse at bolt 15 (picture by Heather Furtney)|
Crossing through to the gaston off the first pocket then using it to stick the second (Pics by Heather Furtney)
Alan Watt's description of the route from his seminal 1992 guidebook is below:
I would agree that the first 13 bolts are merely a warm up (!) for the difficulties between bolts 14 and 16 when you are hit with some savage cranks straight off a good but quite pumpy resting rail at bolt 13. These days the bottom part of the route to bolt 10 is considered 13b or 8b due to some very thin pulls on pockets and crimps but after doing it a few times and getting it wired, its probably only 13c or 8a+ I reckon, like Alan Watts says.
|Easier moves at bolt 4 (Picture Jason Bagby)|
|Approaching the lower crux at bolt 8 (Picture by Jason Bagby)|
On my next session I started climbing from the belay at the end of the first pitch (bolt 10), which must be 8b+ if climbed to the top and links through a 3 bolt 7b or 7b+ to the resting rail at bolt 13 before embarking on the top 8b section. On this link attempt, I was pleased to make it through the crux at bolt 14 (the first time I had ever climbed any distance into it). After a brief shake at the resting pod and chalk on each hand, I got to the stab move to the second 2 finger pocket, just failing to stick it. I have made a little video of my link attempts on the upper section plus the bottom wall to give you a flavour of the climbing involved (and to remember the moves for future attempts):
If I had had more time I would have continued trying this link as it would have been a big confidence boost to have got it in the bag before trying from the ground. However, with only a week left it seemed to make more sense to try the full rig and 'roll the dice'. On my 5th day I started the first of 3 days' worth of attempts from the ground before my trip ended. Each session would start off with 20 minutes warming up on a board indoors before hiking up Misery Ridge to the Monkey and climbing Spank the Monkey, a runout 12a. I would then climb short sections on the route to the top to prepare for full blown attempts. I had 6 attempts, two per session and got to the move slapping for the tooth before the resting pod on 6 occasions in total. I felt closer to this move from the ground than in May when I frequently fell on the previous move to the left hand crimp before the slap to the tooth. It was frustrating not to stick the tooth though and make it to the resting pod. You would think that with an excellent, approaching hands off rest at bolt 9 (I stood here for 2 - 3 minutes on redpoint), you would recover almost back to zero and I felt fresh at this rest on all of these 6 attempts. However, something about having cranked through all of the lower section five minutes before attacking the upper section makes it tougher to crack than if you have simply slumped on the rope at bolt 10.
|Reaching bolt 16 on a link attempt, nearly there! (Picture by Jason Bagby)|
|Hiking up Misery Ridge to the Monkey Face with Calvin (Picture by Julien Havac)|
I hope these ramblings encourage others out there knuckling down to long term projects. Redpointing ain't easy and if they went down without a fight, it would hardly be worth it would it? Onwards to projects in the UK and the next trip!
|A moody looking East Face of the Monkey (Picture by Julian Havac)|