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The "Other" Nose In A Day


 

by Warren Teissier

June 13, 2002

It all started innocently enough, Terry and I were planning to climb the Flying Buttress on Mount Meeker. Then the reports about shitty snow on the approach and descent gullies started pilling in.

"The better part of valor is to chicken out and go to Sundance..." said Terry

" I am good at chickening out,” said I.

Next thing I now, we are picking our way between Turkorner, the Nose and Mainliner which are all multi-pitch routes on the Sundance Buttress in Lumpy Ridge Colorado. I immediately balk at the wide pitches on Turnkorner and offer either of the other options. Terry had done Mainliner too many times before, so we defaulted to the Nose (6-8 pitches 5.10s).

Now, if this climb had any other name it would probably be more renowned and respected. As it is, I am almost hesitant to say: "yeah, yesterday we did the Nose"... the Lumpy Ridge Nose that is...

Sunday morning, up at 4:30am, out of the house by 5am and start the hike at 6:18 after a quick pit stop...

An hour and fifteen minutes later and we are racking up at the base of the Nose on the Sundance Buttress. We agreed that Terry would lead the crux, so I draw the first pitch. I lead up an easy but awkward 5.6 pitch and bring Terry up.

This is to be the last normal, should I say, conventional pitch of the route.

The second pitch proves to be burly 5.9 going from OW to off hands (which is) really sustained and strenuous. I join Terry and proceed up what I guess is a 5.7 dihedral followed by an unprotected 15 ft stretch of thin, ascending 5.8 traverse.

"Terry, I just aged three years" is the first thing to come out of my mouth as I place a piece after the traverse.

Terry goes for the crux pitch. Up the thin crack, traverse under the small roof and crank the 5.9+ move. Up to a small stance and he sets up an interim belay. I join him and he proceeds with the remainder of the pitch up the slab, under the second roof, (amazing how similar both cruxes are).

He places two hand-sized pieces to his right (only spot available) traverses left and places a number four RP in a seam. From here the crux moves left for some 6 feet and then up. He tries the 5.10 move, comes back, arm strength fading out, foot doing the sewing machine gig. I sit on my harness lock the rope and stare at his feet smeared on nearly nothing. Try again, no go.

Finally he sits on the RP for a rest, I mention that if it pops he'll probably hit me. Being the lawyer that he is, he replies matter of factly, his response puzzles me to this moment, although it is perfectly reasonable I guess: " If I am planning to fall on this piece, it better hold me when I sit on it". This is one of those factual truths that smack you in the face with realism, although it does not address the issue that he would still probably land on the belay... from his rest stance he places a number 2 stopper which in retrospect looks huge next to the RP.

He sets off after a rest and pulls off the moves, he is out of my view but the heavy breathing is still audible. Some time elapses and the rope feeds through my hands in bursts punctuated by long moments of inactivity.

After a while it's my turn to follow, I try to clean the RP but it is WAY stuck, I sit on the rope and finally clean the two pieces along with some skin from my knuckles. The 5.10 moves are desperately thin; I nearly come off in the middle of the move as my right foot blows off.

Then the reason for Terry's apparent delay after crux is clear. A long 5.8 sloper/smear run out. What, 15 feet to the next piece and some 20 more after that and traversing?

This is down right horrific...

At the belay we both feel we are past the uglies, "only easy pitches left,” he says...

It is really hot and by now both of us are getting pretty severely dehydrated.

I lead off on what Rossiter's topo calls 5.7/5.8 cracks and what his description calls 5.8+.

Somewhere along the way up the left crack I traverse to the right crack (I wound up traversing way too early) and find myself in front of an OW that squeezes some 10 feet up into a thin fingers crack. I am still thinking this is 5.7, maybe 5.8 at worse, but it looks harder, I think I am being a wuss, so I plow on. I place a red Camalot at the end of the OW and a number 3 stopper about a body length above, I crank some stems and try to find a spot for another piece when POOF! My right foot goes. I manage a muffled "falling".

I remember the sound of the rope sliding between the ‘biner and the rock. Somehow I am not scared, I remember being surprised at not being scared, I remember thinking "I hope it holds", sort of in a daze...

I am standing on the small ledge below the OW. The rope stopped me perfectly, just before impact... I look up and I am some 20ft from where I came off. The pitch traversed a lot and I had plenty of rope out so the stretch took a while before the rope caught me. I stand on the ledge silently and inventory myself. All is fine. Still no word from Terry, I ask him if he is all right, thinking afterwards that that was a moronic question: I am the one who took the 20ft whipper not him. His reply highlights the obvious: "I'm fine, how are you?"

I Batman up the rope to the stopper and crank the rest of the route after a bit of rest. We would later agree that the "variation" I took was probably 5.9... He kept calling it the Warren "Harding" Teissier variation of the Nose... the Lumpy Ridge Nose that is.

He leads off on what Rossiter calls 4th class on the topo but 5.6 on the description (see a pattern here?) it is disturbingly exposed, unprotected and wanders. He places two pieces in the whole pitch. We reach the terrace where you can choose to rappel off or you can climb two obscure pitches Rossiter calls 5.6 and chooses not to describe. Those feel like an epic to me at this point. We are exhausted and dehydrated in the 90 degree temperature, and emotionally spend. We opt for the rappel descent.

We trudge back to our car in the blazing heat, the only time I recall being so dehydrated was when I did Snake Dyke with a quart of water.... Stupid.

This time I did the Nose, the Lumpy Ridge Nose that is, with a liter of water... Stupid.



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