Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elliot and Michael's Excellent Adventure

Pitch One: Elliot won the RPS match.  Diagonal.
My buddy Bayard was talking about how difficult it is to get out with good friends sometimes.  Elliot Gaddy is a busy guy.  I feel like I've done a good amount of drinking with Elliot this fall, and a lot of planning for upcoming trips, but I've only gone ice climbing with the lad once: a failed attempt on Cannon, over before it began.  We have been talking about doing a big day to train for Alaska for a little while.  Cannon?  Out of nick.  
Cathedral, however, was in good shape, fifteen minutes away from our homes.  While it doesn't have the horrifying approach, objective hazard, loose rock, and high failure rate of Cannon, it does have solid gear, good ice, and sunny, short approaches.  I guess it's good to spoil oneself every now and then.  
We showed up at around 8 and decided to climb as much as we could.  Diagonal went pretty smoothly, although my feet cut following and I had to (embarrassingly) scrap my way up to my ice tools, a rope-stretcher away.  The ice was baking out and we headed back to the car for some sandwiches and hot tea.  Feeling a little bloated, I started up Remission.  Elliot brought the rope up to the crux as I chastised myself for once again having eyes bigger than my stomach.  The curtain wasn't in (at least for us).  Elliot bailed.
"Do you wanna have a whack at it?"
"Naw.  I'll feel the same way you do."
Me putting rock shoes on to climb the slab on Diagonal.   (Elliot Gaddy photo)
Elliot follows pitch two.
It never feels good to fail.  We did what any sensible climbers would do in such a situation: made fun of someone else (much better than us).  Of course, Steve House made a great target, what with his brilliant, groundbreaking solos of Repentance and Remission two years ago. We didn't stop making fun of Steve House the whole day.  There's nothing healthier than stoking your own ego by putting another climber down.  Back to the car again.  More food, more water, more tea, rerack.  It was 3 p.m.  We had been swapping leads, and climbing relatively casually.  We both still felt pretty good.  I linked the first two pitches of Repentance, stopping to pee at the first belay before punching it past the chimney grovel.  Elliot styled the third pitch in pitch black, at the end of the day...the guy's solid!  I followed, pulled the chockstone (Steve House jokes galore,) and that was that.  We'd swapped leads and done some great climbing throughout the day.  We ran down, sorted gear, and drank some beer.  Today, my arms are sore, and a picture of Steve House still hangs over my desk.  All jokes aside, you're still my hero, Steve. 
Elliot about to commit to a slushy lead on the last, tricky pitch of Diagonal.

Good ice, fast climbing, here comes darkness.  Elliot Gaddy Photo.

Cumbre!  We are normally a lot handsomer, trust me, but Steve House jokes are exhausting.

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