Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ignorant and Fearless - I hope that I get old before I die

Sam, Chelsey, and I were scoping out places to take our Adventure Yoga retreat attendees to do some climbing. The retreat was located in Ojai, CA and so we'd driven up one of the canyons to look for a suitable "beginner friendly site". WE found a lot of snow, high water in the rivers and mostly wet rock. Right away we wrote the place off for our group, but decided to climb something while we were there to make our drive seem worth it. So up we went on the areas only multi-pitch wall, a classic 5.7 named Ending Crack.

There were a few problems, but the biggest was that we only had one rope with us, and the climb was about 350 feet long. We figured there would be a way to hike off the top, so we forged upwards. The climbing was great, and only a little wet due to the recent massive snows. The rock was soft sandstone though, and the wet areas were quite unstable, since sandstone in notoriously weak once it gets saturated. Hanging off the anchors at the top of the second pitch, we realized that the climb essentially ended (based on the amount of moss and lichen covering the wall above us), and was definately designed to be rappelled off of with two ropes.

So upward we went, fighting our ways through trees, loose rotten blocks, and snow choked gullies. Eventually, tattered and torn, we reached the top, only to realize it was a knife edge ridge. Ironically, we could still see the car 600 ft below, we were just not sure we could get back to it. We briefly considered the sheepshank (aka Kamikaze knot) but opted for a sketchy descent down a very loose and steep gully. We certainly will not be taking beginners here....

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