My buddy Justin and I were thinking of going up to Castle Crags state park, but I was getting over a cold and didn't feel quite ready for the hearty approach. Scanning the various forecasts it looked like the Leap was going to be nice, so off we went. I hadn't been back to the Leap for three years, and was looking forward to it.
Sunday dawned sunny and warm, and we headed over to the Hogsback. I'd brought my hexes for practice on the easier routes. I was still coughing and my nose was running intermittently .. when is this stupid cold ever going away ?
We started on Harvey's Wallbangers, Center
Justin led up & belayed, and we swapped gear. I decided to do the 5.7 mantel, which was stimulating. It was an enjoyable warmup and good practice. Nice views from the top too -
We headed back down and looked around at what to do next .. a queue was forming for both Knapsack Crack
, so we decided to do Harvey's Wallbangers, Right
Justin took the first pitch and I took the second. I decided to traverse over to the center route since I didn't have a #5 camalot. Another fun pitch.
Another party from Santa Cruz came up and we chatted for a while. By now it was afternoon, and we headed down and over to the east wall to do Pop Bottle
. I'd led the first pitch several times, but this was Justin's first visit to the Leap, so up he went :)
I took the second pitch -
Fun moves, had never actually led that one before. It was getting pretty windy. I got to the bolts, and then it was Justin's turn again, which went quickly.
Thick clouds moved in, and the wind was steady. We coiled the rope and headed down the descent trail, which was dry and in good shape. No rattlesnakes today. Ran into franky and his partner on the way back to the car -- they'd just gotten done with Scimitar
(ah, the memories !) After that we headed back to hang with some friends for the evening.
Monday I was feeling a little better, and I had the wild hair to do the Surrealistic Pillar
- Corrugation Corner
linkup. But someone was on the pillar and I decided to check out The Groove
I'd followed The Groove about five years ago and remember falling off the starting move a couple of times before realizing I would have to lieback it. This time I reached up and stuck in a yellow (#2) BD C3 to protect that move, and made a couple of false starts .. ah, adrenaline kicking in :) Finally I mustered the courage and did what I had to do. Woohoo !
The first pitch went well, with surprisingly good protection. It was kind of a mantel-fest .. good, always need to practice those. I got to the bolts and brought Justin up -
The second pitch went uneventfully, and we scrambled up over the ridgelet, and then headed up towards the Main Wall and the base of Corrugation. There were a few patches of lingering snow, but nothing that posed an obstacle.
Looked like there was a party on it, but by the time we got there and ready to go they were pretty far up. We were in luck.
I remember the first pitch being rather stimulating as a new trad leader >:) So it was Justin's turn and up he went -
My turn -- the second pitch was everything I'd remembered it to be. Way Fun !! I belly-flopped onto the belay ledge and radioed down to Justin, who made short work of it.
We decided I would lead the last pitch. The chimney was not that bad and I traversed out, clipped the piton and did the no-hands traverse on the down-sloping dike. That I think was the scariest part of the entire route. Thinking back on it I should have backed up the piton .. have also read that some people step down to the next set of dikes to make the traverse easier .. oh well. Anyway, I breathed a sigh of relief and headed up to the rim.
Maybe next time I should try the 5.8 crack variation for the last pitch instead.
It was mid-afternoon by the time we were both up top, and we gazed out at the scenery -- pretty nice views from up there.
We could see people climbing on the east wall. After some snackage we headed back down the trail (still no rattlers) and packed up to drive home.
We got a chuckle out of a sign while driving down 50 -