Shortest Straw A4 5.7
Trip ReportShortest Straw Photo TR (pics by Tom Evans)
solo'd Shortest Straw in October of 2012. Here is a selection of Toms pics and some commentary.
Mark Hudon's photo topo of the route. I felt the grade to be A3 with some serious sections. Lots of fixed heads and rivets, plenty of loose rock, and some fun nailing and hooking. Pretty safe route with only really one "don't fall" section.
Leading Pitch 2, Day 1
About to clean and haul Pitch 2, Day 1
Cleaning Pitch 2, Day 1
Top of Pitch 2, Day 1. Looking at the "Journey Through the Brain" pitch. Runout A3 hooking.
Leading Pitch 4, Day 2
Finishing Pitch 4, Day 2. Looking at Pitch 5 rated A4r in the supertopo. Here you can see my tag bag hanging off a bolt, fixed with a fifi hook and slippery knot. It was the first time I used this system and it worked really well for me.
Looking down at the A4r section of Pitch 5. While a fall could be serious, I found the climbing to be pretty straightforward/bomber cam placements nestled between sections of loose rock. This was the only picture I took on the route with my phone! The rock here was really cool looking. Almost looked like a stone wall or a fireplace masonry...
Camp on the morning of Day 3, top of Pitch 5.
Leading through the crazy white streaks (quartz bands)on Pitch 6. More loose rock on this pitch...less now ;) Day 3
Top of Pitch 6, looking at Pitch 7. Day 3
Camp at the top of Pitch 7. Day 4
Leading Pitch 8. Day 4. I bonked in the heat during this pitch, only was able to climb one pitch that day and collapsed in the ledge for a long afternoon of rest. It paid off in the following days.
In the center of the Great White Circle, pitch 8, Day 5. This was the best part of the route. So much so that I bivi'd at p7,p8 and p9!
Leading Pitch 9. Day 5. this was the highlight of the route. Stellar clean crack leading to exciting nailing and hooking.
Leading Pitch 9. Day 5. this was the highlight of the route. Exiting the Great White Circle and getting into fun climbing on wild rock.
At about this point I was feeling worked and the forecast was calling for a storm near my summit day. I realized I might need help getting stuff down and emailed local Monkey Cheyne Lempe. His response was, "Cool, I'm down, I'll chat with ya at the belay tomorrow."
I was like, "Huh, that's weird...I guess I am supposed to call him....?"
Well at 8am I woke up to shouts from below, "WE'RE COMING FOR YOU LAMBONE!!!!"
And I could see someone cruising the lower pitches, sprinting across the "Journey Through the Brain" in 20 minutes, what took me 3 hours to lead. Turns out that was Skiy Detras, with Cheyne and Dave Alfrey. They crushed the route in 12hrs 20min. I pulled over and got a nice excuse to be lazy in my ledge while they climbed through.
"when you said 'chat with you at the belay,' I didn't think this is what you meant!" Was awesome to have some company after 5 days of talking to myself.
Breaking camp, Top of pitch 9, Day 6
Jugging Pitch 10, Day 6
Pitch 11, "Sun And Steel" pitch. Reaching high to clip one of a string of 18 rivets in a row. Day 6
The last of the hard climbing on Shortest Straw, Pitch 11. Rated A4+ on the topo, this section felt more like C2+. Getting to this point was a big relief. A shout of cheers erupted from the bridge when I hit this roof feature after 6 or so hook moves in a row. Dunno if that was thanks to Tom or even for me, but it felt good! Day 6
Cleaning p11, Day 6. I was really ready to be off at this point but still had a full day ahead of me.
Pitch 13 on Zodiac now. Runout 4 inch wide crack for 100ft. Day 7
Pitch 14-15. The final pitch on Zodiac! Day 7
About to top out on the last pitch! Day 7
Last moves of the climb! Day 7
Only epic of the climb was when my Cheeze Whizz can exploded all over my food bag. Hate when that happens!
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