it was more than just a day out as climbing partners. Climb with someone long enough, and that partnership becomes a bond that goes deep, through shared life events, both triumph and tragedy.
That friendship has come full circle, and even survived a 10-year rift where we did not even speak to one another, in spite of living right next door to each other.
Time changes things....pride gets laid down....events shape our lives....and in the end, love and respect has overcome those lost years. We are tied in again.
Our day on Knucklehead's Delight ended with a special time on the summit, when we found the register amongst piles of deep snow. Paging through the weathered entries, Doug came upon the name of his son Layton, who climbed his first route on Carson Peak at just 6 years of age, and with his Dad established the route 'New Year's Ridge, 5.6'....a gem. (Photo of the route appears downthread)
It goes without saying that the loss of a child is the ultimate cruelty that no parent should ever have to endure. Pain is something that should have an end...but not this kind....it comes and goes, and is always right there below the surface. It cannot be taken away, but friends can walk through it together..one day at a time.
Layton had the gift of making anyone and everyone laugh their ass off. His antics kept us in stitches from day one, and to this day, when I think of that lad, I smile for all those moments of hilarity, like the one pictured below....Layton in Camp 4, on the first ascent of "Full Moon Rising"...
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I've mentioned Layton here as a way of introducing the name of our latest creation on Carson Peak yesterday, and the name of the route actually has a three-fold meaning. First and foremost, to honor the memory of a great kid.
Secondly, to rat out that hoser Flanders! We agreed to set out at 0530 yesterday morning, and when I arrived at his door at 0525 (I'm early for everything) he was no where to be found. A good pounding on his door woke him up, and a half-hour went by before we were out the door. Like I said...hoser!!!
More on that third reason for the route name in a bit.
When we established the other line a few weeks ago, we knew there were others on the same wall needing our attention. Forty feet right of Knucklehead's Delight (the prominent dihedral pictured below) lies a stunning right facing dihedral that arcs it's way up the face...
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We cruised up the approach (see previous trip report for beta) under perfect skies, though the forecast was for thunderstorms later in the day.
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Chief Poseur eyes the line....
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My own self nearing the base, with the route looming above...
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As I sat down to tie my shoes, I suddenly noticed a small splash of color amongst the rock and stone.....this small, scrubby piece of tat....
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We surmised that it could have blown over here from another spot on the crag, but it certainly could have come from the route....perhaps a bail sling? Maybe this wouldn't be a first ascent after all.
I cast up the first pitch on easy 5.6 ground, and thirty feet up, found a fixed stopper which had cleary been there for some time. Another 30 feet higher, just before the start of the business, another stopper, seriously fixed.
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Clearly, this was their high point, as the climbing ratched up to 5.9, and the pro a bit challenging....(enlarge the pic below for full value of the crux)
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A series of liebacks, long reaches, and stems got me to a decent ledge below a glorious corner that I desperately wanted to continue up, but alas, the circuitous nature of the pitch and pro amounted to some nasty rope drag...a two rope system would have worked nicely here.
I mined out a dirty crack and established the belay....
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Flanders cruised on up in fine style, then cast off on the beauty corner system that ran 80 feet above us...
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Within minutes he was disappearing from my sight as the dihedral began it's rightward curve...
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Doug ran our 70 meter rope to near it's full length, finding easier climbing above the initial 5.9 corner, then brought me up...
The view while cruising the corner...
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Looking down the 5.9 corner on that second pitch...what a beauty!
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The view above the 5.9 corner....
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Doug at the belay...
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I cast off on an "interesting" final pitch....the only beta we will give you is, stay right of the dihedral above the belayer, as many loose blocks are directly above. The rest....well, you'll figure it out.....hehehehe
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We topped out to another fine view, realizing we had plucked another plum, and adding that third meaning to the route's name....that potential first ascent party that had bailed however many years ago, had left us the prize...
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The route had taken us just over 2 hours.....it was only 1130 hours....the day was young, and we had another route in mind on the far left side of the formation. Moving through 3rd and 4th class terrain below that classic summit tower (be sure to make that your 4th pitch on either route!)...
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Flanders on the traverse, with New Year's Ridge over his left shoulder, arcing all the way to the summit plateau....
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Utilizing a series of 3 gullies including this final one....
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....we were able to gain the left side of the formation without any rappels, bringing us to our next line. I was not terribly impressed with what I saw and had hoped for based on our previous photos. The route didn't look all that great, and I had some concern as to whether we had enough pro for the larger crack systems. But, we were there, and Doug thought it was worthy for at least a recon, so he cast off on the first pitch, using every bit of our 70 meter rope.
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As I started up the pitch, the forecasted build-up began to grow ominous, and by the time I reached his belay, the gloom was gathering in earnest...
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The quality of the rock here had also degraded considerably. Between that and the weather, we decided our day was done, and began the bail...
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....as the rain began...
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Looking back up the wall...our one pitch being mostly 5.6 with one or two 5.7 moves...
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Our high point, the small tree just below the overhang left center...
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With two rappels, we were down in short order and began making our way to the packs and some much need food...
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...taking the time to marvel at delicate beauty amongst the stark rawness of the crag....
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While chowing down, we discussed the possible age of the tat and the one piece we were able to clean for booty (the stopper they bailed on was fully welded)
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A sudden crack of lightning and thunder, and an increasing wind, lit a fire under us, and we packed up in haste as the rain began....
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We made our way to lower, safer ground in short order.....
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....and thoroughly enjoyed doing the entire descent in a soft rain, which made the walk through the forest a sensory delight! We were back at the house in an hour and 45 minutes, another stunning route established and in the bag!
So, just another excellent route, right in our own front yard....a product of a friendship that has stood through thick and thin....and only gets better.
And in light of the fact that tomorrow is Father's Day, we dedicate this route to the memory of an amazing young man and son....Layton Nidever...whose memory is always good for a smile.
"Better LAYToNidEVER!" - Grade III, 5.9
All three pitches are 5.9...recommend a 70m rope, or a two rope system
Total of 600 feet of climbing
Altitude at base - 9,900'
Rack - micro cams (3) to #3 Camalot
Stoppers - Full set from #3