The Cookie, Left Side 5.10a
Trip ReportSPANKED! Cookie, Left TR
SPANKED! A trip report - Cookie Left
Always good to start with Roper:
The Cookie - Left Side
I, 5.10. Royal Robbins and Loyd Price, February 1968. The Cookie is a prominent, 150-foot exfoliation slab on the main wall of the cliffs, and can be seen in profile when first approaching the area. The first ascent of the slab was done in August 1958 by Chuck Pratt and Dick Sykes, who climbed halfway up the right side, then tunneled behind the slab to its left side (5.8). Climbing the entire left side involves several short, difficult cracks, beginning with a narrow, flared chimney.
In the Reid guide, it is 5.10a Pro: To 3 1/2".
The topo shows the first belay above the 5.10a "squeeze" after the 5.9 left facing corner.
This day, Saturday, we went up to check out what I thought would be a routine climb. "We" are Zander, spyork and Gary Carpenter; veterans of Gary's off-width machine. Cookie, Left is a two pitch climb, but Gary and I had the lower part, a 5.9 squeeze chimney, on the "Chimney Circuit" toprope list and had done it before. We knew that we could break the first pitch up into two short pitches, one a squeeze chimney, the other was 5.10a off-width/squeeze.
First up was Zander, on lead. Here he is just below the crux
and spyork right behind him
The chockstones wobble around a bit, but are ok, and the pro is there with out too much drama.
Here is Gary at the crux with spyork high above (well, at least 60' up) just making the careful exit moves onto the nice ledge above:
Up I went to the ledge, finding Zander already engaged in the bidness. This picture shows the entire ~40' of this part of the pitch...
that's all, folks, how hard could it be? Do you remember the scene from Monty Python The Holy Grail? you know which one:
TIM: There he is!
They all turn, and see a large white RABBIT lollop a few yards out of the cave. Accompanied by terrifying chord and jarring metallic monster noise.
ARTHUR: Behind the rabbit?
TIM: It is the rabbit.
ARTHUR: ... You silly sod.
ARTHUR: You got us all worked up.
BEDEVERE: You cretin!
TIM: That is not an ordinary rabbit ... 'tis the most foul cruel and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on.
ROBIN: You tit. I soiled my armour I was so scared!
TIM: That rabbit's got a vicious streak. It's a killer!
GALAHAD: Oh, f*#k off. Get stuffed.
TIM: He'll do you up a treat mate!
GALAHAD: Oh yeah?
ROBIN: You turd! Mangy scots git!
TIM: Look. I'm warning you.
ROBIN: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
TIM: Well, It's got huge ... very sharp ... it can jump a... look at the bones.
ARTHUR: Go on, Bors, chop its head off.
BORS: Right. Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew coming up.
As TIM points they all spin round to see the RABBIT leap at BORS' throat with an appalling scream. From a distance of about twenty feet there is a tin opening noise, a cry from BORS. A quick CLOSE-UP of a savage RABBIT biting through tin and BORS' head flies off. The RABBIT leaps back to the mouth of the cave and sits there looking in the KNIGHTS' direction and growling menacingly.
ARTHUR: Je...sus Christ!
TIM: I warned you!
ROBIN: I done it again.
TIM: Did I tell you? Did you listen to me? Oh no, no, you knew better didn't you? No, it's just an ordinary rabbit isn't it. The names you called me. Well, don't say I didn't tell you.
ARTHUR: Oh, shut up.
TIM: (quietly) It's always the same ... if I've said it once.
They all charge with swords drawn towards the RABBIT. A tremendous twenty second fight with Peckinpahish shots and borrowing heavily also on the Kung Fu and karate-type films ensues, in which some four KNIGHTS are comprehensively killed.
Run away! Run away!
ALL KNIGHTS: (taking up cry) Run away! Run away!
They run down from the cave and hide, regrouping behind some rocks. TIM, some way away, is pointing at them and laughing derisively.
TIM: Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha.
Well I had the idea that Steve Roper was our TIM, and the 5.10a bit our rabbit; Zander got the big piece just about where he is in the picture, then came down. He and spyork decided to do the "easier" 5.9 variation (also a bit offwidth, just different). SPANKED!
Then it was my turn. Maybe we can get spyork to post some ignominious images of my attempt. I managed to work out what I thought was the best left-side in technique, arm bars, gastoning the edge, knee bar and an aggressive right heel-toe. This eventually powered me, in three tries, to just below "the pod" which is the squeeze part of the story. I had the pro, a #6 Friend and an old #5 BD in a secure place, then lowered off. Maybe I had made it 35' up? about 10' to go. SPANKED!
But I was out of gas, Gary's up! He managed the group effort high point and then into "the pod." Gary has become quite the Oh-Dub master, so I thought he'd be able to unlock the secrets above. Here he is in the first crux:
The Second Crux is just beyond him, where the left crack necks down and the seam on the left continues up. Gary got a piece in high, eventually, but work as he might, didn't get the exit moves. Zander and spyork had made the top of the Cookie, had come down, and were hanging out waiting for us. Gary got an assist from above and exited, spent. SPANKED!
We should of been yelling "Run Away! Run Away!" but no sense have we...
Zander and spyork worked it on toprope, or should I say, allowed it to work them on toprope. Here is an aspect of spyork which he probably won't appreciate...
Getting to the packs I took an 800 mg pill of vitamin I, my left shoulder was complaining already. We cast away down to the VW, had lunch and a beer.
Earlier in the day Alexey and a friend spied us on the ledge, getting ready for the offwidth. The friend yelled over: "Hi, are you Ed Hartouni?" ... "Yes" in a questioning reply... "you don't know me, but I know you from SuperTopo, and since you are doing an offwidth, I figured it was you" laughing from my mates, of course, "I suppose we'll be reading about this in the Forum next week,"
and you are!
... and thanks guys for returning our sling and ring from the toprope! (They were up dancing around on Wheat Thin and all).
Anyway, we didn't make it... anyone out there have a story about Cookie, Left? By the way, Reid says 'Pro to 3 1/2"', hahahahaha.... you're a better man than I am, Donny Reid! (which is true of course).
The list has been a brutal master... and this day more than on others. But of course, sitting around licking our wounds, "hey, let's go scope out Crack of Doom and Crack of Despair," oh god, they're on the list too!
from left to right: spyork, Zander and Gary...
...and in the distance? Elephant rock and the tail end of the list (which also includes Pink Dreams and the Worst Error). Maybe I'll need surgery and have to take a year off... and come back as a sport climber...
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