Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Aid Weekend 1

I learned quite a bit last weekend. 

Erick, Chris, Adam and I spent the weekend training for the wall in Welsford. We've planned about 5-6 of these sessions before the fall. The plan was to spend two days on aid routes and sleep in the ledges Saturday night. 

I packed up the full rack complete with hammer and pins, ledge, food, water, bags, & spare clothes... and damn, it was heavy. I weighed the whole rig at an extra 85lbs (a relatively light load compared to the extra water and food we'll need for the big wall). I was actually surprised that humping it up to Cheekbone corner wasn't as bad as I'd thought. Go slow but steady, early in the morning, wear little in the way of clothes and you'll be fine. 

Saturday I aided Wise Crack to the Strata Factor anchor and then Chris aided pitch 2 of Strata Factor. We set up the ledges at the high on top of the crag directly over the nose of Weeping Whisker. I picked up my ledge last year in the consignment basement at IME on N. Conway. It's a 10 year old FISH model that's looks like it's only been out of the closet once or twice. The only downside is the fly. It's a basic nylon sheet with no doors/windows/waterproof and it didn't have a pole to keep it off you when it's wet. So to remedy this I painted 2 full bottles of seam seal all over the thing and installed a jury-rigged pole. I don't know if the seam seal worked since we avoided the rain over the weekend. In fact, once unpacked, the fly actually had glued itself together despite being left hung for 2 days for the stuff to dry. When I pulled it apart it appeared as if parts of the nylon coating were damaged. However, my makeshift pole rig worked perfect. The Radical Edge hooked me up with a sweet lightweight aluminum pole from their spare parts graveyard that was the perfect size. I simply tied some webbing to the corners of my ledge and threaded the pole into a few slits I cut into the tube. Worked perfect. 

The evening's entertainment consisted of Dom sending a proud looking off-width across the gully at Upper Down Home wall. We also watched the Peregrines rocketing around below us picking off forest critters. They did not seem to take notice of us. 

The view from my campsite in the morning couldn't be better.

Breakfast consisted of cereal and a pile of chocolate covered coffee beans (which are yum). We tore down camp and moved over to the ampitheatre. The day before Erick had solo aided Loki's Revenge (nice work!) and left the pitch fixed. We jugged the pitch and I set off to lead the upper pitch of Ascent to Asguard. A very nice but challenging climb.

I regret that I don't have a camera I'm willing to carry while leading something where I might fall. As such, I missed out on a golden photo of the boys working on hauling at a hanging belay. The light was so perfect that a $5 disposable would have taken a killer shot. I'll have to get something to fit those times. Also, rapped back down using 2 ropes from the anchors over Odin. This is now the most radical rappel route in Welsford and it's accessible easily by walking from the top. You are in space for most of about 45m and it presents the opportunity to take what would be just about the most impressive photography in N.B. The next time anyone is heading into the ampitheatre to hop on Rockstar, Flight of the Valkyries, Odin, etc., I want to be hanging around with my camera. Let me know. 

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