photo TR: spyork stuck in Fat Merchant's Crack

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Trad

Trad climber
Northern California
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 2, 2007 - 11:41pm PT
Having been totally shut down on the Sacherer Cracker offwidth (twice, now) it's clear I need more practice. Well, Steve and I were headed up to Sugarloaf on the day before April Fool's day and he's told me stories of relaxing evenings at Zander's Steck-Salathe' machine, so I suspected it wouldn't be hard to talk him into toproping Fat Merchant's Crack (.10a X). I was right.

To get to the Fat Merchant's anchors you have to climb something else first and we chose Bolee Gold (another option is Harding's Chimney). Here's Steve on the first pitch of the "approach":



Here he is on the 3rd pitch of Bolee Gold. (Note: after the 2nd bolt go up and to the right, even though it looks like you should go left.)



From the top of the south summit we rapped down to the big chockstone at the top of Fat Merchant's Crack, cleaned up the anchor a bit, rapped off, and got ready for some fun!

First it was my turn. This was my second go at Fat Merchant's this year and I probably could've cruised it but I didn't want to show off, so I effected a leisurely pace and took time to inspect the rusty piton fixed in a downward-pointing flake 30 or 40 feet up and deep inside the chimney. (This will be your first pro when you decide to lead it.) Eventually I made it to the crux and slowed down even more, making phony grunting noises and faking a lot of awkward struggling. Ha ha. I'll bet Steve thought I was actually having trouble!

Unfortunately, I "forgot" to leave my camera within Steve's reach and thus no photographs exist to demonstrate my fine style in triumphing over the crux.

Anyway, (what felt like) several hours later it was Steve's turn. Here's Steve moving up at a good pace, a couple minutes after starting the chimney.



Here he is ~10 minutes later after making it to the cruxy part, where the chimney narrows down and tries to spit you out:



And here he is another ~10 minutes later, at about the same spot.



Some time later...


And later that day...


At some point I had the bright idea to capture Steve's struggling, grunting, and cursing on video for posterity. You can see that at the link below (I rotated the frame before posting but Photobucket switched it back. If someone knows how to get around that please let me know.) Unfortunately the sound is poor because of the wind but if you listen really close you can hear a good grunt about 2/3 of the way through.

http://s159.photobucket.com/albums/t123/Trad_Muenter/FatMerchantCrack/?action=view¤t=SteveNotMoving.flv

Also unfortunately, the camera batteries died after 17 seconds so I don't have any more pictures. I told Steve I was going to post this, though, so maybe he'll have something to add.

Well anyway, all in all it was a good day and I think I actually learned something about chicken wings.

 Tom

spyork

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Apr 2, 2007 - 11:56pm PT
Yeah, hmmm, that didnt go so well. Back to the drawing board.

You probably could have tied off to the tree and hiked out for a drink at the local tavern and came back and I would have still been there.

I finally went upwards using the well used technique of struggling. Hey, my gear was up there!

Steve
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:16am PT
It's all fun 'till someone pokes an eye out with a bigbro and starts crying.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:20am PT
Russ and Ed are drooling....
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:23am PT
Hey Trad,

what a cool post.

the edge of that crack is tempting, looks like something to grab

but,

I might face the other way.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 3, 2007 - 01:06am PT
oh the humanity!
looks like there was a lotta fun to be had this weekend... many people across the state were looking for really big cracks to crawl around in (yuk, not a good image).

Steve welcome to the kicked-butt club!
frisbee

climber
{this page left blank intentionally}
Apr 3, 2007 - 11:37am PT
Excellent! I am no stranger to the not-moving experience.

Jake
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 3, 2007 - 11:49am PT
Funny. Cruel, but funny. Could have been the subject of an Andy Warhol movie.
Crimpergirl

Social climber
St. Looney
Apr 3, 2007 - 11:49am PT
An excellent TR. You make this climb look so tempting!
nutjob

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Apr 3, 2007 - 11:57am PT
How many times have I slept within half a mile of that spot and never known such a luscious opportunity for struggling was so close?

Might not make it to Lover's Leap next time I'm on Hwy 50.
spyork

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:33pm PT
The good news is that I can now cruise a 5.7 chimney (thats the rating on the lower section). The 10a was where I got stuck.

The reason we were left side in was on the advice of a gentleman who has led it before. I flipped around right side in, it didnt help much. I liebacked and stemmed to get to the directionals.

I can't comprehend leading this. The single pin for pro would not keep you from decking as you oozed out from the transition from the squeeze to offwidth.


Steve
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:39pm PT
Nice pics..at least it looks like a clean crack and not all grungy like they are around here.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:41pm PT
Tom,
Thanks for the photos. I wish there were some of your immaculate ascent!
Steve, it looks gnarly in there! I was in Yos with Ed, Gary, ScuffyB, and Bob. I got hammered by both Secret Storm and Doggie Do. I got my knee stuck, again. Who said having fun is easy? The other guys did better. My camera died early so I'm hoping Ed got some good shots and can give us the full report.
Climb On!
Zander
L

climber
The Rebel L Gang
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:45pm PT
Trad--Hysterical! Great photos, too!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 3, 2007 - 12:50pm PT
Hi Steve,

I have not done this particular bit of insanity, but comprehending getting up them does not really rest on the quality of the pro. It almost always sucks.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Apr 3, 2007 - 05:09pm PT
hahaha! good one guys!
Trad

Trad climber
Northern California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2007 - 09:27pm PT
I am no stranger to the not-moving experience.

frisbee was my climbing partner on the first Fat Merchant's adventure, earlier this year. He gets extra points for doing it with a sprained ankle!




Hey Zander, have you gotten on TM's Deviation yet? I'm still eagerly waiting to hear how it compares to Steck-Salathe' (besides the fact that it's about 14 pitches shorter, and only has a 20 minute approach).

Tom
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 3, 2007 - 10:50pm PT
Hi Tom,
I havn't got to TMs yet. I'm kinda roped into this OW thing. I will definately post a trip report when I do! Thanks again for this TR.
See ya,
Zander
john bald

climber
Apr 4, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
I remember no pro on this exciting lead back in the late 70's.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Apr 4, 2007 - 04:19pm PT
yup, that's what makes it a good solo.
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