Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Another Couple Craig's Cave Days

I raced down the PCH Friday after work to go pick up Jeff Blum for a Labor Day weekend of climbing in Vegas. We had planned to boulder Saturday, sport climb Sunday, and see if our bodies could handle either one by Monday. Considering the record highs hitting Black Mt, the cool limestone caves of Mt. Charleston seemed like our best bet for climbable temps.

Saturday, we got picked up by Max and Lib and hit up the "Craigslist" Cave for an afternoon session.
With the sun slipping behind the mountain top and a cool breeze, psyche was super high and everyone ended up pulling out a send. Liberty and Jeff both sent the leftmost line in the cave, Split Ends (v5), and Jeff also sent Mach 3, the stand start to Landing Strip.  Luckily enough, I was able to pull out a send of Happy Trail (v9) first try, so I could work on Goin' Postal, the most direct line out the right side of the cave.

Max striking a flattering pose at the cave.

Lib sending "Split Ends"

Jeff working "Burnside," which he sent Sunday

Two posts back I wrote that Max and Craig were working on a new line that starts on the difficult start to Delirious and breaks right to finish as per Happy Trail(s). Max made a few big links, refined his beta, and eventually sent the project for the first ascent of what is now Unibrow, suggesting v11 for the strenuous linkup. Big props to Max for this FA!

Sequence photos
Photos of the opening sequence of "Unibrow" from an earlier attempt

The ol' heel-toe cam against the shin trick

Pics of the actual send start here. Notice that in the previous photo Max was crimping his left hand. Here he has the pinch solid and he ain't lettin' go.

Pulling into the pockets to finish on "Happy Trail"


The aftermath of Limestone. Max Moore after sending "Unibrow."

While we all started off strong, the sending juju was running out by dusk and I fell off the topout of Goin' Postal once and then fell after the crux, but slightly lower, on the next try. I figured maybe coming back Monday after a day of sport climbing would work out.

Well by the time Jeff and I woke up on Sunday we were so sore that the idea of sport climbing sounded ridiculous. Maybe we were just being afraid of failure on longer routes, but the thought of a leisurely session in the cave was much more appealing, plus we both figured we could send one or two more boulder problems, so we opted to hoof it up to the cave and forego the ropes for another day.

Jeff made quick work of the stand starts Burnside and Razor Burn (name edited, thanks Max) and was also super close to sending Flat Spin (v8), falling on the second to last move, after making it to the jugs. And although I felt a little more tired than Saturday, I was able to pull off Goin' Postal first try after warming up on its topout.

Myself on "Goin' Postal." Jeff Blum pics

Using a bicycle to pull from one pinch to another 

Pinch number three

Toe-hook the jug
The "goin postal" move
Moving the left foot, after establishing right hand in the mail slot.

Jugs to the end! How did I fall after this point on Sat???!
Jeff snagging the finishing jug on "Flat Spin" during his "one hang."
We considered climbing more, but decided that resting was a better bet, so we could TRY to sport climb SOMETHING on Monday.

Ahhhh, and then Monday came with a sweet sweet rain. The mountain was socked in with clouds and it was raining in town as well. Clearly sport climbing this trip was not meant to be. Rather than hike up in the rain to cower in a cave and wait for the worst to pass, we packed up the car and hit the road back to LA. We will eventually return so that Jeff can finally taste the magic of limestone sport climbing.

We made it back in 6 hours, which was pretty decent, considering the signs warning "Heavy traffic to California. Expect major delays." All in all it was a great weekend, and with Black Mt. sending temps just around the corner, hopefully there should be more to come!


  1. Great post and awesome photos! The stand start to Happy Trail is called razor burn. Nice work getting all those lines done. Also that photo going to the pinch is mega. Nice shooting

  2. Word dude, thanks! Great job sending that thing! Now you gotta do the hard black roof to the left!