Sunday, October 28, 2012

New online guides and route

Laura and I recently utilized a rest day and went to Schoolhouse to do crag work.  We focused our efforts on Metamorphosis 5.8.  It seemed somewhat contrived to me and the tree on the ledge has died making it unsafe for all.  So we hauled in the Woodz ninja kit (various power and hand tools) to remedy the problem.  Operating a chainsaw while hanging on a climbing rope is always fun...  I'm happy to report that it went well without incident.  I took out the dead tree and used it to create a bench at the bottom of the left end of the cliff.  The webbing is still around it for nostalgia.  I then proceeded to add 2 bolts to the route making the runout very reasonable for all.  After finishing, Laura and I decided to utilize the old rarely used 4th bolt of Metamorphosis to create a set of shuts for the finish of a new line Laura put up called Cry Me a River 5.6.  Its easily located between Metamorphosis and Firefly.  Its an easy 4 bolt line that finishes right below the large ledge.  See the description and location on my Ohiopyle Guide if you're unfamiliar with Schoolhouse crag.  Its fun to establish moderates for all to enjoy.  I hope it gets lots of use.

Thanks to recent rains, I also spent some time creating the online guides for Breakneck and The Knobs.  You can access them via the links at the top of this page.  Its the most detailed information ever done for either crag.  The information has been completed in a guidebook I was going to publish years ago, but decided not to do.  The good news is that now its FREE for you.  Check 'em out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Success, failures and a happy thrashing to all!

Since my return to rock climbing this past summer, Laura and I have been very busy doing crag work and climbing as much as possible.  My shoulder injury from last winters rail antics at 7 Springs seemed to take forever to heal into climbable shape.  Starting slow and  climbing mostly on 5.11 and under seemed to be working at improving my weak shoulder.  After only a short time back and feeling a better I upped the stakes and decided to try Pinch Me I'm Dreaming a 5.12+ mixed gear line at The Knobs in Dunbar, PA.  The climb went pretty well, except that I aggravated my shoulder during the ascent.  Once again I eased back down to vast amounts of sub 5.10's and easing into 11's for the past several months trying to heal it more.  I've since recovered enough and managed to climb a few easy 12's without more injury and am feeling OK, but definitely not 100%.   I really want to get back into projecting routes and being able to push harder, but I've been nervous about further injury and destroying myself for ice season.  Yesterday Laura and I decided to ride into River's End Crag and climb there for a few hours.  We climbed several climbs and I decided it was time to see how healed I was.  I decided to drop a rope on Sludge Factory a 5.12+ that I've yet to red point.  I figured the top rope was best that way I could safely test my shoulders thresholds without over doing it due to red point determination.  I've only tried the route a few days since equipping it back in late 2008.  Its seen a couple of ascents that I know of and is a solid route for the grade.  To date the best I've done is one hang it.  There are two very distinct cruxes on this route.  One is making it past the first bolt, the second is surmounting the large overhang at the top.  In past efforts the top crux has been my Kryptonite.  I'm usually so pumped that hanging in for the last clip is not within my abilities and off flying I usually go waiting to hit the ledge below.  Yesterday was just the opposite.  The bottom crux rocked my world in every conceivable fashion and the upper went without a hitch despite needing a good brushing.  I hope this is the sign of better things to come.  I've been waiting patiently trying not to hurt myself, but I really miss working near my limits.  I've been recently given the pleasure of watching people on our new routes and have throughly enjoyed seeing both success and failure.  Not failure because I'm glad they didn't succeed, but glad in a sense that I remembered how much fun failing can be.  Failing means you get to have more days perfecting sections that are "tricky" for you, which in turn makes you a more fluid climber.  I haven't met a climber that doesn't like success.  The more effort, the sweeter the success.  Even after the greatest successes I've found that the "send high" is only a short lived moment of glory that is quickly eclipsed by the next line looking to smack you down.  Yesterday was just that for me, the fun part... working the line... getting beat by it and getting to come back and try again another day.  Failing just means another day of climbing!

Equipping Sludge Factory in 2008
One of the amazing events I recently witnessed was Laura having a great break through this past week.  After being dejected by the crux start of Deliverance 5.11+ at Bruner Run on many attempts, she worked out an inspiring sequence that proves that short folks CAN do this line.  Using obscure stemming and showing extreme flexibility, she managed to get a clean send.  It was quite funny how convinced she was that it was "impossible for her".  She declared that it was a line that she'd never get due to the long reach.  Only by pure determination and serious effort was she rewarded with the realization that she could send harder lines...  Her display of cranking convinced me that I needed to get back to trying harder despite my shoulder.  To put the plan in motion, I'm declaring war on Sludge Factory after a couple rest days.  Then its on with   Devil's Doorway a project route that I put anchors on Monday.  Its a hard line that repeatedly spit me off years ago when I was a stronger climber.  Will I ever send it?  Hopefully...or not.  Getting to try it once again without injury will be reward enough for me!  Happy Climbing

On another note be sure to check out the Ohiopyle climbing guide I've put together in blog form.  You can find it on the menu at the top of my page!  I'm also working on updating my old Breakneck information and making it available.  If you find these useful, drop me a comment.  I'd be happy to create guides for other SWPA crags if y'all would like them.