Dry Tooling, Draper Red Rock, 11.01.2008

Woohoo. Got up at 6 after spending the eve before arranging my pack - made tougher by the fact that we had invited a handful of newbies with no gear, and had no clue what they would bring. Packed the car, and Ann arrived. We took off up to the Draper Red Rock, below Suncrest Subdivision off Mike Weir Drive.

We met Michael first, who assured us that a body would in fact fit in the trunk of a Miata. Really. Probably wouldn't even have to cut it up. But he didn't want to share how he knew that. We hung out packing his stuff (rock shoes, harness, rope, camera) and then took off up the trail. It was cool because the trail was wet from the rain all the night before, and the damp leaves fallen from the scrub oak.

We got to the benches and started getting our stuff together and on. We headed over to Gum Cheese, the crappy 5.6- (in Mixed Rating, I'll give it M3) and Michael set a toprope on it. I showed him a few ways to use the tools, then DW did a demo on it. We put boots and crampons on Michael and turned him loose with tools. It was fun, and we got some good shots with his camera (waiting for pics) and as well with DW's camera. I left mine in my pack for the time being.

Just as he got done, Nathan showed up, and we put him up it. He had some ice experience, and adjusted pretty nicely, doing some cool moves.

Then it was my turn, and I decided to use my energy progressing to leading. I went over to Baby Teeth, 5.6/M4 and with the near-silent continuous praying of DW, led it in ice gear. I heard very minor drifts of conversation, so intent was my concentration, but heard a few compliments of my style. Far out. Leading on points was very different from leading in shoes. Any kind of slip would result in a very dangerous fall. Sharp stuff everywhere. Oh, yeah! At the top I leaned up to the right into a large off-width crack, and managed to clean it (ROCK!) enough to get a tool in and match.

Setting the anchor at the top was made a bit tougher because I got "clever" and wrapped and tied my pre-made toprope sliding-x webbing anchor so that I could not undo it one-handed. My brain was a bit glucose-low and it never occurred to me to just hang off a daisy and do it two-handed. So I untied it one-handed hanging off-balance on my tool and two crampon points. DOH! But I did it.

At the bottom I discovered that there was a minor technical error on behalf of the belayer using gri-gri technique on an ATC. I lived. And I sure had no intention of falling.

The other three then toproped it, and did an excellent job, all of them. It was great. After that we decided to send Ropegun Nathan to climb the 5.10a starting in the cave (in rock shoes, no tools). After he came down we managed to talk DW into heading up. It was great. She'd never done a 5.10 outside (she started one once, but got gripped and came down) and this was a great first. Nathan bouldered up the block to her and offered some great beta, and she did it. Great job baby!

Then Nathan decided he wanted to try drytooling it. While he geared up, for some unknown insane reason, I decided I'd try it in rock shoes as well. I managed to make it with some difficult (for me) moves, with Michael on the boulder this time, cheering me on. Far out. I did it - my first 5.10 ever, inside or out.

Then Nathan and Michael decided to drytool it. I'd give the first part, in the cave, about an M7 (give or take). It was sketchy, and Nathan came off and sortof decked (butt and helmet contacted). But he went up to where the choss was about to start. Good job! Michael did an excellent job as well, and actually worked the choss.

We pulled all our gear then (Michael was on top and removed his crampons and hiked down after pulling the anchors at the top) and packed down to the car. I can hardly wait for the pictures from Michael's camera.

It was great. Maybe next weekend?