TR 2010-05 Woodfords Widefest Lite


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Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 20, 2010 - 07:41pm PT
On the eve of a free weekend, I began trawling the lurid
taco waters for a ditch partner. The fish were nibbling,
with intimations of pick-a-partner at the Reed's pull-out.
I remained firm and waited for a commitment. Years ago I
got myself in over my head on territory I wasn't ready for,
going to the valley without a partner. On this day I decided
to honor the lessons learned.

But I was sick. Sick of not climbing.
And I was saved by The Nurse.

She was eastbound, I was ready, the wide was calling. Woodfords seemed right.
The Nurse took care of our prescriptions, a stack of topos bundled with care.
After several "oooh! look at that!" car-stopping diversions, we settled on The Fortress area:

Parking is conveniently across the street near the campground:

Without delay we saddled up:

But first the Nurse diagnosed my critical lack of wide hardware and treated the condition:

We slogged up the sandy hill, two steps forward and one slide back, aiming for these tasty treats:

Some other denizens tempted us to start with a 5.8/9 lieback that the Nurse took care of:

'Twas a fine afternoon and we were both enjoying a great spot:

WE saw some dudes on this interesting 5.10b with a cool pod down low, and that brought out the wide mojo:

Just around the corner to the right we found a perfect trio of wide cracks and chimneys. Truly wonderful stuff, and not a one of them in the guide! Well don't pay it no never mind. It looks like 5-dot-fun to me.

You can't tell by looking at it, but I recall quite clearly hanging out in this position, swinging the rack around to try it a different side in, feeling like my face was pointing mostly toward the ground in this rest phase before the commitment:

The beginning was clearly the crux for me. There's probably a prettier way to do it, but it's a good thing that my thrutching between the last pictures and this next one didn't make it to film or pixels:

It felt like the most technical wide crack I've done, with some horizontal body-English rotating back down to matching tip-toes on face to cheat past a tough section, then back into the beast for more grunting but easier ground. All in all a character-building and pride creating effort for me. Another shot of the beast:

Before I can get too full of myself, the Nurse just shimmies up all casually and chimney-like; at least she was sweet to demure with comments like "maybe it's a body size thing" or something like that. Even so, I was stoked, no real blood was spilled, and we were both sufficiently satisfied to call it a good day and get back for a little campfire.


The next day, we lose the proper trail and have ourselves a little adventure on the way up:

It's a glorious morning, but little warning bells start to sound.
Looking down into the east-side desert getting some weather from the south:

Looking up-valley over the course of a few minutes:

But we were in pleasant moods, patient, and willing to see what would happen.
It was the right move! Here's that trio of wide cracks:

It sure was exciting for a few minutes as the Nurse attempted to extricate a cam that I drove hopelessly out of range while trying to clean it the day before:

Note the melting snow streaking down the face :)

For the rest of the day, little cells blew past us with brief blizzards that had us laughing out loud, and then the skies would clear up like this:

Here's looking straight up another yummy crack that we'll save for another day:

We opted instead for another fun one that seemed more practical in light of the snow flurries:

(Edit: This is called "5.6 Crack" but you'll have quite an adventure at the finish if you can't lead a few grades higher than that)

This picture perfectly captures our mood for the day. All smiles!
(Edit: At this point she had rocks stuck in her eye that required an ophthalmologist to remove, thanks to my floundering in the bombay flare above her the day before! What a trooper!)

The spirit of Brutus was smiling down on us, giving us just enough adventure to keep a twinkle in our eye and a spring in our step for the hike back down

Thanks Em!


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
May 20, 2010 - 07:48pm PT


Solid trip.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 20, 2010 - 07:49pm PT
That's quality right there!!!! Gold!

That first dihedral looks really, really sweet! And it's good to see a smile on Em's face.

Trad climber
May 20, 2010 - 08:45pm PT
Looks like fun!
Gotta check it out.

Social climber
san joser
May 20, 2010 - 08:54pm PT
nice pics!

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 20, 2010 - 09:24pm PT
are they charging fees at the campground?

Trad climber
Sunny Aiea,Hi
May 20, 2010 - 10:24pm PT
That is awesome! Thanks for sharing.


Trad climber
Bay Area
May 20, 2010 - 11:28pm PT
Another beautifully written and amusing TR.
Great to see you guy and doll out there doing it.
Bring it on!!

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
May 20, 2010 - 11:33pm PT
That's a great day out, thanks for sharing!

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
May 21, 2010 - 12:04am PT
Nice, Nutjob.
Give a shout next time you're
in the neighborhood, I can show you
wide! :)


Jaybro- Free camping everywhere.

Trad climber
May 21, 2010 - 01:01am PT
Wow very cool...just starting up a crack thats not in a guidebook...what a concept ;)

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 21, 2010 - 01:05am PT
That still looks cool, Footloose.

Trad climber
Mountain View
May 21, 2010 - 01:22am PT
nutjob- COOL TR. Lets get back out!

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 21, 2010 - 01:45am PT
oh mang, nutjob, nicely done!

Paging Nurse Ratchet, Paging Nurse Ratchet!



the last bivy
May 21, 2010 - 02:03am PT
em somehow makes the wide look fun!

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 21, 2010 - 02:12am PT
Looks great out there. What a fun tr.

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
May 21, 2010 - 02:48am PT
thanks for sharing your excellent adventure with us!
seth kovar

Bay Area
May 22, 2010 - 09:29pm PT

good stuff, looks like you had a blast...

South of Black Rock City (CC,NV)
May 22, 2010 - 09:42pm PT
Glad you guys enjoyed the Woodfords Wide!!!! The trail up is a bitch if you miss the main one........ great trip report.
sasha Cohen

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe CA
May 22, 2010 - 11:06pm PT
nutlob, I'm glad you had fun up there. You come on up in the summer there's plenty of wide stuff up there.;) sasha
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