Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Aid Weekend 3

Sunday was another day for aid training. I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. First was to get my system for solo-aid dialed and the second was to get some more mileage jugging and cleaning on a traverse.

The solo-aid bit went pretty well. At one point it was actually pretty cool to see the four of us solo-aiding across the entire span of Joe's garage simultaneously. Erick on Astroboy, myself on Trundling, Chris on the Arch, and Adam at Sticky Fingers. I managed to figure out the flow much more quickly than last time and had two pitches start to finish, cleaned, and rapped in about 2.5 hours. Not bad. Easy stuff when every piece is bomber and the falls are clean. For anything else I gotta say that I'd still much prefer a human being at the other end of the lead line.

After finishing with that Henni had half-finished his project for the day: a traverse across the entire length of the Arch... finishing on the anchor for Bone Machine. He'd fixed a cleaning line for me and I got started. I made quick progress thorough the slimy, wet, arch until I arrived at the tat below Gumby roof. At this point, the line traverses approx. 30' horizontally and it appeared as if Chris was either forced to hook considerably, or decided to back clean in order to link pitches. There was as I could see, only 2 pieces for the entire traverse, separated by 10' horizontal stretches between them. Without having cleaned the right gear to re-aid the traverse, my first option was to try to hook through it. Before unclipping my last good directional and committing to the traverse I tried a few hook placements... each one blowing... with the potential to send me whizzing off on a pretty big pendulum. Eff that! Instead I thought I'd use the Gumby tat as a lower-out with the spare cleaning line I had. I rigged it up and after some horrible awkwardness, I managed to get myself on the correct side and weighted the system. Problem was that once that happened, I was dangling in space with no way to get back to the wall to clean Chris's cam back in the crack. Totally stuck, wet, and fried at this point (this had taken me about 90 minutes of struggling) I lowered out and ended up at the Rock Opera anchors.  From there, I bailed. More on that later.

Earlier on in the arch I made the decision to remove an old, horribly rotten pin that was presumably in place since the FA (perhaps 35 years ago). Last summer I'd actually weighted this thing and gotten away with it... a feat which now I can't explain. I decided to give it two light taps up and down with the hammer in an effort to prevent breaking the biner-hole with direct funking. It moved almost completely out. I simply connected a draw to it and gave it a light yank by hand and she flung out no problem. The metal on the eye was rusted thinner than the edge of a dime and the main body of the pin is badly fatigued. It was removed as it was of limited value in place and it obscured natural gear placements readily available. The same could be said of all bolts on this beautiful arch.

Overall I was disappointed with myself for not making it successfully through the problem at hand. Hennigar jugged back up to my high point and re-aided the section back cleaning his gear as he went. The problem was do-able, but I didn't see the solution, and I wasn't willing to accept the risk of the pendulum... even though it looked clean. Clean or not a 15 foot pendulum fall doesn't sound nice. I'd just wish now that I'd been able to invent some other way out of that situation... having bailed doesn't sit well with me today.

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