Friday, February 28, 2014

TNT project, second attempts

Me & Tom standing below the TNT project, photo L. Hahn
Yesterday Laura, Tom Thomas and myself met up at Valley Dairy for some breakfast before heading to our new project called TNT.  This was our second day actually trying the new line.  We parked and walked the technical approach to the climb.  Its cool because you get to walk behind a waterfall.  Strapping crampons on at this point will keep you from sliding into the creek and waterfall pool ;) Last time we worked the line, we warmed up on some moderates at Lower Meadow Run before heading to work on TNT.  This time we went straight for the project (lesson learned).  There's not much else to climb in the area of TNT, except the short, roaring WI3 waterfall (which was out), thus no warm-up this time.  I was chosen to take the honors of first try.

Up I went quickly realizing how much the ice on the route had changed since the warm weather.  Stemming to get into the hanger was a bit more of a stretch this time around.  I had to fiddle with a botched stick clip on the first bolt costing me valuable energy.  I clumsily traversed my way across the ice passing the 2nd clip and committing to the overhanging section of ice.  A serious forearm pump came on and all to quickly I realized I was setup for a precarious swing back into the ice pillar.  Off I came partially inverting, just in time to slam my back into the ice.  THUD... "FUCK, that hurt".  It may be bolted, but things can still hurt...
Lowering down after taking the swing back into the pillar
Tom went second.  He made quick work of the start and got into the traverse to just short of where I came off.  He wisely retreated back to safety before another slam came into play.  On his second attempt his hulk like mass dislodged a basketball sized rock onto himself seriously disrupting that attempt.  He then came back like a trooper and matched his high point from last week on his final go.  Here's a few photos of Tom enjoying the intensity of the TNT project.
A very cool line, Tom working across the ice
It feels this steep
Tom Thomas going for it on try 3
Laura was along for the fun. She's seen the line but was along to try it for her first attempts.  "Good things come in small packages" is a perfect description for her.  She's firey, scrappy and totally in her element scraping up mixed climbs with the guys.  Sometimes she'll have troubles reaching the starting holds, but that doesn't stop her... She tied in and stepped up for a few goes.  Here's some photos of Laura in action.
Laura rockin' the "party pants" ask her about 'em,
 she's always happy to show them off
Laura learning the steep start
Established on the ice and contemplating the commitment
We each got 3 tries at the line.  Which to us mortals is plenty of lactic acid.  The pump can get fierce on this one.  Things seem to be coming together a little.  I managed to suck it up and figure out a little beta to reach a new high point and possibly a crucial sequence towards sending.  This thing could end up being the hardest in the region.  Happy Climbing it is!  I hope my bruised and swollen back heal quickly.  I've got plans for some pure ice lines Sunday.  Then early next week I'm hoping to see a plethora of mixed lines established by Tom Thomas.  Possibly more tries on TNT later next week, before the ice is gone.  Too much climbing too little time, way too sore.

Contemplating where to go?

New high point established
On  a running note:  A group of runners are planning to run "Gate to 8" tomorrow in Ohiopyle.  I was planning to attend, but my swollen back from the fall is saying otherwise.  Most runners are meeting at the Falls City Pub parking lot at 8:00 for a meet and greet.  Then off on the trail for 16 miles of LHHT winter single track with some of the biggest climbs in the region.  A great early season outing if you can attend.  I ran the trail last Sunday and found the trail to be snow covered and slippery on N facing hills, but runnable.  Plenty of water, slop and ice, so I ran in "screw shoes" to aid my traction and allow some speed.  It could be run without them, but I wouldn't want to.

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