Arizona Part 2

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So, to close the loop, here is the second half of my Arizona trip report. It only comes a month late!

Day 3: Eric H. and I were up early and headed to Phoenix to climb in the Superstitions, a very cool volcanic tuft formation east of town. The area is incredibly beautiful (see photo at right), and the climbing is pretty decent to. We started on Grandfather Hobgoblin's classic 5.9 route. As far as classic goes, I am not sure I would agree, but it was fun. Two rather nondescript pitches led to a pretty good third and final pitch. A couple of old bolts (stamped "BAD BOLT") protect the wandering crux moves, then it's easy to the top. A couple of rappels and it's back to terra firma. Following that we thought a run up Spider Walk 5.6 down closer to the mouth of the canyon (center buttress on the right-hand peak, right of center in the picture) was in order. Now, THIS route IS classic. A short scramble leads to the start of four roped pitches with a fifth 4th-class scramble gains access a super-cool spire. The climb is pretty run-out on pitches 2 and 3, with pitch 3 being *really* run-out (i.e. 2 bolts in 70 meters). Granted, we did not link all the pitches correctly so you don't need a 70m rope for the pitch. We had one so just opted to use it. So, two face climbing pitches lead to a big, fun chimney and then a steep 5.7 crack with a tunnel at the top (interesting, being considering the climb is 5.6... hmmm). Sramble to the top from there for the obligatory Rocky Pose standing on the spire. Up there, we met Michelle and Joe from Washington and shared the raps on the way down. Thank guys!

Day 4: Because this was a short trip, we climbed when we should have been resting. Oh well. I figured I might as well blow out everything I had left since I would be riding and economy class bucket the next day! Thus on Day4 we found ourselves back to Mt. Lemmon. Our original plan was to visit The Homestead, but with waning energy and a burly drive in, we opted out. That's OK. I've only spent a few days at Lemmon in my life and there is plenty still to do. We selected an area called Goosehead higher on the mountain because it had some recommended easy routes, and some good 12s to throw ourselves at too. Here there are two 9s that are just plain fun. I can't recall the names, but they have great position, allow for excellent and airy photos, and one of then is quite run-out, which on an easy route is sometimes really fun (i.e. you can focus more on climbing than clipping). The ending challenge of the day, and the trip for me, was a 12a called Knights of the Wrong Tissue (pictured at left). It's pretty crispy and sharp, but the climbing is SO good. I botched the onsight up high and came up one move short (i.e. the last move!--my M.O.) on a second attempt EH onsighted it in good style. An amazing route that I hope to get back to "clean up" one day.

In Conclusion: In many regards this was a successful trip. I was excited that off the couch--or I guess, off the ice as it were--I was able to onsight everything up to 11d. On routes harder than that I crushed the cruxes but burned out on physical endurance on the longer pitches. That, to me, is a pretty good omen for the upcoming rock season. Endurance can be built just getting out and getting after it. I am psyched that my power strength for series of hard moves was there and stayed with me for 4 days.