T Hocking suggested this trip in November of last year after our pappies both passed within a month of one another. We were hoping Ron Anderson could come along, but he’s recovering from an “owie.”
You can visit the place sometime on your own with a partner, Ron. Sorry you could not make this one.
It was a rewarding trip for both Tad and myself. We accomplished our minimalist goals, his to lead and mine to clean the same climb he and Mitch did last year in this stage of our climbing resurgence at the ages of mid-fifties and mid-sixties, respectively.
I was sure delighted with my results using La Sportiva approach boots, not my “worn-out Fires “ which CosmicCragsman made mocs of. They were all sorts of secure, whether climbing on the crag itself or in the boulder piles laying about.
A few notes on this place: it’s all decomposing granite around the place, and the east side of the crag is melting/crumbling away. There is a third class way to the summit, but we never went to the top of the crag because we are lazy old farts, plain as I can say. We thought about rapping down from the top to check out the “backside” but only had one rope and I said we are lazy old farts.
We came in on Hwy 44 and Hwy 395 from Redding to Janesville, (Tad MADE AN EXCELLENT JOB OF DRIVING THE GREAT GUZZLING BEAST, BTW), then up what’s called the Janesville Grade. It isn’t too hard to find the way in on the logging roads. We are able to give directions that will get you there, so Personal Messages or emails about this are OK with me, if anyone’s interested. There is a fire lookout on Thompson Peak, the main peak of the Diamond Mts., where this place is located (Plumas NF).
The WIND was nasty cold Thursday night. I used a one-person shelter Tad provided. It was toasty in there, so thanks for the use of it. I was traveling light. I'd gotten on the road in a fit of pique about the elevator in my Middle Earth home having gone blooey the third time this year. I arrived a day early, but Tad and Maureen just shrugged and we went with the flow. I got a solid rest on a really cushy futon and was full of energy the next morning.
After we parked the truck at the base of the crag, short approaches being de rigeur for the both of us old wheezers, we set up camp and sat around breathing the sweet air of the Nevada side of the Sierra Nevada. We were pretty stoked about getting on the rock, but we took our time and savored the moment, as you must while in a Safety Meeting. We discussed my use of an BD belay device and twist-lock biner I had purchased earlier that day in Redding. It really opened my eyes: the old-schooler finally gets religion, Saul at Damascus, that sort of thing.
Tad led the 5.6/5.7 pitch which Mitch had led on their trip last year. I followed and cleaned it with no technical trouble, though the moves off the ground were different for me than Tad, who’s taller. I needed to rest a couple of times because of asthma--I had allowed no time to become used to the altitude, which I figure is @ 6,500-7,000 feet. I spent a lot of time on enjoying being where I was, and the moves just kind of came like they used to do, when I got ready to move. Tad was as patient as CosmicCragsman had been at Alesandria in the desert.
Tad’s not lost his touch with his old school trad rack. Two very solid placements of hexcentrics come to mind, in unusual attitudes, but easy to remove and well-slung.
We both rapped on the doubled line and came back the next day to TR the pitch one more time. It was plenty of exercise, as I had been up early to photograph the Solstice sunsight and had been scrambling all over in a boulder pile, just having a good old time in my La Sportivas, becoming more and more amazed at what modern rubber can do for your ability.
Likewise, in lowering Big Tad from his high point, I had no trouble, he came down like a snowflake, no jerks, no sudden slippage, just a glide down to the ground. I liked what the Belay Device allows you to do. I can see using a bloody glove, too, as does the very light and lithe JustMadeInTheShade. (That recent Mister E shot of her at Sespe comes immediately to mind).
We packed up and began the drive out around one o'clock. Straightaway we met two quads driven by locals, including two grand-kids, one of whom got out to show up as a climber. What a brilliant little child and can you imagine how lucky he is to get to live in that paradise in the sky?
Tad and Maureen, thanks for the hospitality, and hope to have you visit here soon for a trip to the Ditch. And bring Mitch.
These pix are in reverse, just to be perverse.--Helter and Skelter.