Two weeks ago Steve and I intensively exchanged e-mails contemplating what best we could climb at Arch. The plan was to climb all eight Supertopo Arch routes in a day which we termed ST ArchIAD . It definitely does not embrace all of the Arch Rock in any way, Arch is way bigger, but we liked this arrogant abbreviation.
We replaced Entrance Exam (***see Notes in the end of my report why we dropped Entrance Exam) by Blotto and we ended up with the following 8 routes, 14 pitches and about 1300 feet of stellar climbing from the left of Arch, to right:
1. Anticipation 5.11b 100ft
2. Supplication 5.10c 100ft
3. Blotto 5.10d 120ft
4. EnglishBreakfastP1/P2 5.10c 160ft
5. Midterm 5.10b 130ft
6. Leanie Meanie 5.11b 130ft
7. Gripper P1/P2/P3 5.10b 280ft
8. New Dimensions P1-P4 5.11a 280ft
total 8 routes, 14 pitches 1300ft
The plan was to make those eight routes in 10 pitches instead of 14 - linking Pitches 1/2 of English Breakfast, Pitches 2/3 of Gripper, and Pitches 1/2/3 of NewD, making all those routes one or two pitches climbs.
We calculated that we had to do each of those 10 pitches in an hour or less- and in this case we can do our ArchIAD from 8am -to 6pm with just enough daylight to spare. One hour per pitch including rappel, rope flaking, racking up, eating etc.
The rules of the game were simple: one of us would pick up a route, any route, lead it and the other followed. Than second climber selected any of the remaining routes, lead, it and that sequence of following and swapping leads continued until we were done. We generally agreed on the first warm up climb and the sequence where the hardest routes should be done in the first half of the day. The main concern was the forecasted cold temperature. The day we climbed - Sunday February 10- an early morning temperature was 33F , with the highest at 1pm reaching about 50F. Another concern was the possible crowd (on some winter weekend days at Arch- everything can be taken).
Steve and I met at Arch parking at 7:30. On the way up to the base all this ArchIAD plan felt unreal - when you sitting in the office in front of the screen you are much braver and determined than when you at the freezing base of the climb.
Pitch N1: 8:10am: I started English Breakfast
This one was for my wife, who was first inspired to climb English Breakfast several years ago, when she overheard two strong young climbers moaning that it was "burly" It remains her favorite climb on Arch. This first climb on our ArchIAD endeavor was very cold, especially hands, fortunately on first pitch not much fingers, mostly full body movements. When I inserted my hands in frozen crack,- I wished that Steve would start English Breakfast instead of me ( since he is British Steve). Actually we were so busy this day that I even forget to ask him how the Queen was doing. Anyway, it took me more than half-hour to reach the crux traverse with deep finger section near the end of p2 - and at this exact time the sun finally hit the rock. Lowered from anchors to the ground and Steve fired this climb in 10min.
Pitch N2: 9:15am: Steve started Supplication. Good looking, clean left facing corner , which you can stem, layback or do straight finger stacking/locking/jamming. I did not noticed this , but Steve later told me that it was hardest climb for him this day and he almost fell off trying to do stem, layback, finger stacking, all in the same time.
Full sun, warm already. Steve completed it and I lower him to the base of crux pitch of Anticipation. Quickly followed Supplication , and racked up for the next climb.
I have no Supplication photos at all and be happy if some one posted it here.
Looks like we are on schedule , it is now warmer and there is no crowd. Only Dan McDevitt showed up to cheer us and do some climbing. Dan … I am using your photos of Arch from your "Friends& Arch" tread , since we did not make any of ours this day.
Pitch N3: 10:05am: I started Anticipation- hardest climb for me from our list. Very sustained, from beginning, then several good rests before a very reachy crux, then this move with left hand thumb up pinky lock (Beta knowledge helps here) and finger crack corner finish to the rings. Steve follows and we are back to the ground.
Pitch N4: 11:10am: Steve's next choice was to lead Leanie Meanie. Best climb from our list. Right facing, mostly overhanging corner ever widening from fingers to off-fingers to hands and then to wide fists in the end. Indian Creek type of climb, but on stellar granite. Steve confidently climbed this hard and beautiful one. I followed.
Pitch N5: 12:25pm : I started New Dimensions. Linked first 3 pitches in one. Cold at belay. This route goes all the way from bottom to top, left side in for me, but with a big variety of climbing moves. The route demands that you use all the footwork tricks you have.
Pitch N6: 1:40pm: NewD continuation- Steve started crux pitch 4 of New Dimensions and made it looks very easy. He was very relaxed, and climbing very well. Definitely getting long rest (leave of absence sabbatical) from working for our Fruit Company can dramatically improve your climbing and Steve proved it. When I reached the top of NewD - I felt that I am nor fresh anymore, yes, we are 800 feet up already and only 30 min behind schedule .
Pitch N7: 2:45pm: I started Midterm. Most aesthetic line at Arch, striking route visible from parking lot, but not my favorite climb anymore. Very strenuous start with fingertip corner crack and then cruiser to the top.
Pitch N8: 3:50pm: Steve started Gripper. Gripper would be best warm up, but we left it to the end because it is gentle and reliable enough to be the best cool-down.
Pitch N9 4:40pm: I reach Steve at the top of first pitch and started linking p2/3. Gripper has never let me down (yet). We were considering climbing it even at dark, but finished before sunset.
Pitch N10 5:50pm: We reached the base of Blotto after sunset. We used someone else's rope to TR this, which made our finish easy .
Parking lot 6:45pm: We are done! I cannot believe it!! No falls, no hangs, long multi star route of winter climbing .
gear used: double from black Aliens to #4 Camalot with some triple from fingers to tight hands, 80 meter rope and my personal gear -1 litter of Red Bull. Steve specify that he did not use any doping product except of morning coffee.
***Notes:Entrance Exam left out for Graduation day.
Which start also at Arch and goes in sequence of Entrance Exam, Quickie Quizzes, Extra Credit, Midterm,(+GRE is optional) - move to This&That cliff for Cramming[ also optional if you not crammed yet] - and finish at Final Exam [HD]
If you did not make it - go climb next day DropOut at LeaningTower
Not my idea, but Salamanizer and Karodrinker were planning to do it, and I never heard whether they made it or not.