Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The City of Rocks

It's wild to think that The City was a landmark on the California Trail, and at one time may have been quite a busy city. Rumor has it gold is buried under some of the rock outcrops. Today, you need to reserve a campsite on the weekend and if you climb in the inner city you may not see anyone.

The City south of the Slabbage Patch formation.

Aaron enjoying Wheat Thin 5.7, a mega classic on Elephant Rock.

The Slabbage Patch has two cool 10a sport climbs on them, both put up by Canadian road-trippers in the late 80's. The better one, I Can't Believe It, has sweet patina face climbing with a nice roof at the top.

Our warm up on the third day, Tow Away Zone 5.10a. Aaron cruised it after I had my foot slip off and my blue Alien worked mighty fine!

The Animal Cracker formation has a huge flake which runs over half the face. The climb on the edge of it has everything from fingers to off-width.

Start of Animal Cracker 5.10a. Just above the finger crack the flake gets really thin, and sounds a little spooky. Then you get perfect hands to off-width which ends in a roof.

The overlooked Harvest 5.10d.

I was hoping the stance I'm going to would be a bit better, as the stemming section leads to the crux overlap, which is really steep.

Placing way too much gear was a mistake in this section, even though small stoppers and blue and green Aliens don't inspire great confidence. The insecure finger jams and slabby feet soon were too much for me to hold onto. After the fingers section there is a good hand jam before the wall gets back towards vertical and is easier. However, an awkward OW slot with a .75 inch crack in the back leads to the top. After a fall and one hang I got to the top happy to have tried a harder trad line.

On our last day we went to Elephant rock again and climbed Rye Crisp 5.8, overheard at the crag to be, "one of the best 5.8's in the Western Universe.", and Just Say No 5.9, 5 bolts in a 100 feet. Then we finished up a half day at the King on the Throne's, Stan's Roof. A short, but stout 5.10.