Monday, February 13, 2012

Rain at Black? Head for the Tram!

Sunday, we had organized crews hailing from Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego to meetup at The Republic area of Black Mountain to try to finish off one of the few remaining (discovered) projects in the area. Unfortunately, the gods had other ideas, and the western side of the San Jacinto Mountains was covered in fog and rain when our crews converged at the road up to The Republic. 

Scrambling for alternatives, we figured we would cut our losses and head to the Jupiter Boulders, but as we drove down the highway toward Palm Springs we could see that the side of the mountain range occupied by the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway had blue skies and sun overhead! A last minute cell phone consensus was reached by all three vehicles to head to the Tramway, and so we got to climb in perfect conditions on high elevation granite boulders in spite of the horrible weather at Black Mt. 

Kris Linstrom warming up
Christina Pilo getting her slab warm up on.
Anthony  Tarascio, so excited, not even that big Organic pad can slow down his run!
After we all warmed up a bit, which included a flash ascent of Swingdance for me (supposedly v7, but felt a few grades easier, imho), we headed over to Bridget's project, Mosquito Cove aka the left start to Byron's Roof (both of which are v9+), which she sent on her first try of the day. Way to go Bridg!

Bridget Enderle killin it on "Mosquito Cove" aka "Byron's Roof Left Start"

The heel hook core tensiony pull to the lip
Bridget topping out. Got spotters?
Brett and Christina watching Bridget topout
 I managed to fall off the last tricky move pulling onto the slab of Byron's Roof on my second and third tries, only to punt off going to a massive jug. As the crew was beginning to disperse to other problems, and I felt like I would need a long rest before giving another send burn, I decided to leave it for another day. Somehow I was lured by Ian to go with him, Al, and Chris Sinatra over to Somewhere in Time, an infamous line that went up a few years ago at a proposed grade of V14, which through consensus has been down graded a couple notches, but still feels ridiculously hard. I managed to get tips into the 4th hold/second move once, but did not do nearly as well as Ian or Chris, who almost sent!

Chris Sinatra pulls the first move of "Somewhere in Time" (v12)
Ian McIntosh starting the same.
First crux
Chris Sinatra on one of his best burns.

Chris's "Where the hell do I go?" moment. Apparently the topout is still hard! 
It was starting to get dark as we hiked out from "Somewhere in Time."
After sliding down hills of snow and ice on our crashpads, in order to more quickly reach the trail, we hiked in the dark back to the tramway station, rode the hanging gondola 6000 feet back to the valley floor, and headed for our respective parts of Southern California. With the I-10 West jammed and signs indicating a 3 hour delay, Brett, Kris, Christina, and I decided to attempt to wait out the traffic over a Thai dinner in Palm Springs.  It still took us twice as long as it should have to get from Palm Springs back to LA, but with good company and good tunes after an amazing day that didn't start out very well (remember, we started at 10:30 am in the rain at Black Mountain!), no amount of traffic could have dampened our spirits!

Stay psyched and see you out there!

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