July 1st, Fun at Fortess
So I missed a key event. I caught a cold and while I was down with it, Alice had her first lead. TRAD. Bill took her to Tower Rock where she led a 5.3 on gear.
When I heard about her lead (and the epic that was Caver's Route) I was amazed, and asked Alice when she learned to place gear. She asked me what I thought she had been doing all this time and pointed out that she has been cleaning our placements for a long time. Pulling them out is the inverse motion of putting them in. Point taken!
Thinking that Alice might want be able to lead a 5.4, we went to Fortress. American Crack is a 5.4.
A scary, old fashioned, sadistic 5.4. I led it again that day. By modern standards it is at least a 5.6, and unlike other easy trad climbs, it has bits which you can't turn into a face climb, no matter how much you hate tearing your skin off in a crack. So Eric convinced Alice to wait on her first "5.4" lead. But she at least got to practice placing on it. And there she was thinking about it...
Bill was amazed, but a little mad that she didn't lead.
I practiced placing a big bro here.
I failed to follow Bombs Bursting the first time I tried. There's a bit where your hands disappear and it's jam or stem with the feet. I refused to jam (center of gravity issues) and couldn't get anywhere near that overhang.
But damn. Isn't that rock amazing?
Eric showed us how it was done. Then Alice did it too, laying back the difficult bits like a she-man.
Then, out of sheer humiliation, I got it clean. Meanwhile, Bill (my hero) led BLUE RUNNER, which has to be one of the best routes at the RRG.
Okay, I have only climbed on the order of 50 routes at the Red, but I'm guessing that if I could climb all the thousands there are, Blue Runner might still be my favorite. Here is Alice following it. She didn't realize at first how difficult it was going to be, but she had committed to cleaning and I was a rubber girl after following it (just before she did), so she pushed on through. She rocks.
And this is the all-important gear sort.