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My First 5.12 on Real Rock


by Rufus Nagel

December 29, 2001

Corey and Rufus rolled out of their beds at 6 am, a late start for a climber, but early enough for them. After a few scrambled moments moving other people's cars out of the communal driveway, they were off. Jackson Falls was the destination and a weekend of climbing was the vocation. A smooth 3 1/2 hrs. later the two men reached Lynn's Market. After a brief discussion of the properieter's horses "All of them are knocked down or knocked up", and a candybar and coke, they headed down the bumby trail. Corey, who owned the vehicle and had heard rumors of an impossibly steep dirt road for the last 200 yards decided to park at the top. The racks and provisions were made ready, and the short approach was quicky dispatched.

"That's a ladder?" querried Corey, but the 5.2 overhanging ladder was easier than messing with a rappel. At a future date, a pair of rap chains might be put in when a Bosch is at hand. Group therapy was the warm up route of choice....but it was crowded and spleef peak was close at hand. After spying the exposed looking dihedral "Dos Hombres", Rufus said "Flake the rope, dude." and prepared his rack. "good, there are only 2 bolts and I cna put my new Camalot junior down low between the block" Rufus remarked. "Test that block before you place might be worthless, or pull the thing on my head" Corey responded. Rufus grabbed a 10 feet sling, 4 QD's, a 3/4 camalot, figure 8, and 3 locking biners.

"Dos Hombres" is a 5.10b with beautifull exposure. The first move is 5.10a and then a scramble for a fist jam/layback for a few feet and a mantle onto the top of a 2 sq. feet block. I placed a 3/4 cam in a small part of the fist crack and hoped it would hold. The other moves were all 8ish. Standing on the block I could clip the first bolt. The second loomed a good 8 feet above it, so if I cam off between the 1st and 2nd, I would crash the ledge. I started off the ledge and made a few arete edge moves to gain a decent stance. The second bolt went well, but I was in 9+ territory. There is a 10b move right above that 2nd bolt, but with the pro in, I had no worries. Then it is a 20 foot run-out to the top and another 5 to a tree. Although the left side looked easy, it was moss and lichon covered. I did it, but quickly and without a word (which is real unusual for me). One slip at that point and I might hit the ledge. I made the tree and set up a TR for Corey. My first exposed Vue and it was a 10b...I was happy. Corey made it up with little difficulty but commented that someone should bleach that top...he wouldn't have wanted to lead it.

The next climb to the right of DH is the infamous Dragons Blood. Rufus had lost his left index finger tip on it the last time he was here...and he wanted revenge. The lead would have been well protected by 4 or 5 bolts, but this 5.12c was a reach for both Corey and Rufus. "I'll sh*t in my pants if we even touch this one" commented Corey. "good thing you dragged a static line with you on Dos Hombres, we can fall all day" Rufus flexed and stretched, put on his brand new Tao Rosa's and went for it...after 15 minutes of smooth moves, a bit of thrashing, and a hang dog to get the dyno for a slooping move that is probably the crux of the climb, Rufus reached the anchors and lowered off. Corey jumped on and glided, thrashed and got stopped by that sloping dyno. With a bit of an aid move, he pased that section and made it to the anchors. Now, Rufus steeped up to bat. "Maybe I should lead it...naa, I'll never make it" said Rufus. "wrong attitude man" corrected Corey, "just fly up it".

I had never climbed such a hard route before. It was intimidating. First some sketchy slab moves with friction dishes for the feet and quarters for the fingertips. That dyno in the middle had a sucker hold off to the left, a mono pocket that I had discovered was unnecessary. "Just get your feet up and land the sloping dyno at the deadpoint and cross over for the thankg*d hold with your left hand" I quietly told myself. THen it is a crimper haul to the top. You know you can crimp and edge this onsighted that section. After sitting on the rope, I reminded myself. I stretched, laced up and jumped on. My mind was all there and nowhere else. The slab moves I took slow and saved my strength...I made it to a little de-pump rest and stayed there for 30 sec. I moved into position for the dyno. BANG. right on target...crossover and move the feet up to those dimes. Breath. relax. Move on. Shit, I can't feel my finger tips, where is the best grab on these crimpers. "stay with it" shouts Corey in a whisper. I go one move, two three..there's that flake..reach and got it. pull up onto the flakes and feet under you the tree is right there YES YES! I screamed a primal yell and was tempted to beat my chest. I just nailed a 12c. I thougth very carefully as I set up the descent..staying clipped into the tree with an extra sling while I ran the ropes through a bailing sling and metal rings high up on the tree...On rappel...going...there's the ground. I couldn't contain myself, I just knocked down a 12c. Geez, why didn't I bring a beer?

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