The lunar eclipse.
Okay, so the title of this entry is a little misleading, technically there were no snakes involved.
The wildlife at Little si has been exploding, and I’m not just talking about the strange creatures that resemble humans you tend to see waddling up the ‘trail’. The wall is teeming with arthropodian action as an orgiastic winged and multi-legged circus of life and death parades around the various cracks and crevices of the great white behemoth that is world wall. Hordes of wasps looking to breed and feast in order to proliferate into the future and survive the Winter are buzzing about the sunny side of the cliff, while hungry female spiders have been planting finely tuned traps to capture the last gasp of buzzing fury from the tepid pools of September rain water. Ladybugs numbering in the hundreds coat the upper walls, beetling about, pausing to gesticulate here and there, wandering about the chaotic pheromone trails that will eventually lead to nothing or a six legged lover in a dotted suit of armor. Roosting bats disturbed before their nocturnal exuberances release a hiss that sounds like the gas escaping from a pressurized cylinder, baring teeth at any wayward fingers that might come poking into their lairs.
It is twice now that I have yet to fully complete my warm up due to the number of wasps comingling on the upper holds of Technorigine. Several people have been stung already this early Fall season and one of my friends has even taken a spider bite. I was skeptical of his story until the other day when I literally saw enormous black and grey banded spiders that resembled she-lob from LOTR raining from the sky. I suffered a severe nip of shock when I felt a small pinch on my exposed side and looked down to see one of these hideously stupendous creatures clinging to me. I did the calm and manly patient pantomiming of a Chinese cartoon character on fire and after ridding my bodice of the arachnid proceeded to turn a shade of pale that any virginal bride would be envious of. It’s one thing to be in awe of the mechanical mysticism's of the insectoid world, quite another to have that spiny world molest your love handles unexpectedly.
It has become almost a daily occurrence now to hear the screeching of disturbed bats emanating from the deep fissures of the hardened rhino rock. Like the screams of small furry near-sighted mental patients in some kind of granitic prison their shrieks of displeasure can be quite unsettling, especially when one is on the sharp end and the rock appears to hissing at you for no apparent reason. The less traveled extensions are a popular haunt for these small rabies ridden creatures. Austin, working his way up Extendorigine literally came face to face while searching for a hold amidst the scattered mini-roofs of this line with a very displeased bat. It screetched at him to stay away and while that didn’t work it started to bare its teeth at him (I’m sure all the while foaming at the mouth and whipping up a frenzy of rabies concentrated hate).
All of this to say, be careful out there.
Here is the weekly ledge-life run down. Saturday: was a shit show. There were A LOT of people on the ledge and it was cold, wet, and overcast. We were basically climbing in a cloud of mank all day. Mank is a term we use to describe greasy/humid/unfavorable conditions, not something you can usually see visually with your eyeballs, however on this day you could actually observe the mank wafting through the valley and saturating our space with its moist affect. With that being said the rock was real cold and the mank did not stay, it merely danced and swayed around us, kissing us from time to time, and then left. It was pretty hard to keep the fingers warm. I sat around and waited for quite some time between each burn to get on my desired climb. While frustrating it was also kind of nice to have some forced rests between burns. I think it did me some good, one hanging Extended Illness never felt so easy and getting a new high point on Pornstar (and then blowing the one hang by centimeters!!) was very exciting. It was slightly depressing to see how wet the crag had become after a small downpour the night before. There was almost no place to sit that would accommodate a dry bum, and a lot of the shoulder routes were wet and some of the harder main lines threatened to seep. As the evening progressed the clouds cleared and a brilliant dark blue ascended promising a drier following day.
Man I sure do loves me some good resting.
This hold is lovingly referred to as 'the butterdish'.
The last boulder on this rig is delicate, powerful, technical, and quite brilliant.
Sunday: was gorgeous. The crowds had scattered leaving the wall free and clear, the sun shone bright, and the air temps were quite nice. Much easier to keep the fingers warm between burns. Being scared off the last few moves of Techno by our hymenopteran friends I lowered and immediately got on Psycho to continue warming up. I made it to the top of Softliner camera in tow and snapped a few shots of Justin on Enigma.
Getting into the nasty compression sequence on crimps and sidepulls. This route looks brilliant!!
I gave Extended my obligatory send burn of the day and actually came closer than I have before. I keep getting spit off by pump and small foot holds. Every time I try to get my feet high to set up for a big bump to a small crimp I get all bunched up and my bulging forearms just can’t keep me from peeling off this small incut sidepull. But I garnered the one hang again (grumble grumble)
I managed to talk Justin into taking some photos of me trying Pornstar. I don’t really have any photos of me climbing at World Wall so it was nice to be in the other side of the camera for a change. I’m also incredibly narcissistic so I really just wanted to know if I look like as a big of a chuff puff as I feel. You can judge for yourself.
Pornstar felt incredible, even though I was a bit tired. I fought my way to the usual stopping point and then managed to move into a rest at the start of the penultimate crux, copping a heel hook and striking into new ground. Another highpoint! But my heel ripped off unexpectedly and I fell before being able to make the first moves of the last crux. Happy and bummed at the same time I pulled back on and knew the one hang was in the bag but messed up the crux sequence and fell. Oh well, the two hang is still a colossal step forward. I did the crux sequence and it felt pretty damn good to latch that victory jug. This route is perfect in every way and I’m increasingly optimistic that it could go soon. If the weather stays nice it could go this weekend (maybe overly optimistic??). But it doesn’t look like the weather cards are being dealt favorably to our corner. Every 7 day forecast I look at for North Bend has large amounts of precip in the forecast. And usually the long range forecasts move up a bit as time passes. For instance, I’m looking at the forecast today (Monday), and it says North Bend will get close to an inch on Saturday. However, in my experience , what this really means, is that by this Wednesday the forecast will probably look more like Rain on Thursday and continuing until forever. The price of being a weekend warrior is usually paid in frustration and bitter resentment towards the weather gods. And while the Red beckons with a long slender finger from a dark candle-lit room, these projects at Little si are just starting to click! Oh the conundrum!! I’m sure as soon as I return from my trip everything at Little si (save Chronic) will be dripping wet and seeping like an emotionally shallow teenage girl at the end of The Notebook.
I'm sure I'm being dramatic here, but this will probably be the last 'good' day at World Wall. We'll just have to see what November brings. In any event, it has been a crazy, magical, emotional, laughter-filled year at this crag. I've met some incredibly intelligent, sincere, strong, and genuine people over the last 14 months. I've climbed Chronic a total of 26 times now, went through countless bags of 'dead hamsters'(aka cookies), drank the equivalent of what a small Bavarian town goes through in a night's worth of beer, thrown wobblers, screamed with joy, overcame crippling fears of failure, made the impossible possible, and reinforced time and time again my undying, unyielding, unwavering devotion to climbing rock.
“The use only of our bodies for work or love or pleasure, or even for combat, sets us free again in the wilderness, and we exult” –W. Berry