Levitation 29, 7 pitches 11c, one of the longest approaches in RR
Due to a lack of proper planning we don't leave SLC until 8 PM. Thanks to the time change we arrive RR by 1 AM. Snag the last camping spot and toss out the pad and the bag. The alarm gets set for 5:30 AM, I'm really looking forward to my 4 hours of sleep.
The alarm sounds and we're off. Coffee and oatmeal both about the same consistency get us going. We drive "the Loop" park, rack and start walking 6:30 on schedule.
There's always that point, I guess you call it the beginning, in the trip were everything is great. The sunrise is beautiful, the hiking pretty easy we're going climbing, yeah. Than the pain starts. Slowly at first. Rocks you were able to scramble over become larger requiring the use of hand holds and climbing skills. Route finding plays a roll because even this early on I realize I want to MINIMIZE the amount of wrong turns I make. Cairns sprout like cat us confusing us even more.
Then it happens the "short cut" rears it's ugly head. Cairns point the way to what looks like the route that Shaw saw on the web and copied, by hand, onto the back of some scrap paper. It's suppose to save 15 min. Up we go! Easy at first, then right about the time you reach the point of having covered to much ground to go back the scrambling begins to slowly morph into climbing. We stop in a flat spot with about 300' of slab below us. It's only 20' of 5.easy to what I hope with every cell in my body is the upper "easy" slabs. I can see the way clearly and I hope it's as easy as it looks and I go. Not too bad and now we're on the right track. After another 30 min. on what Shaw calls the evil StairMaster we top out next to the bottom of the route. 2 hours, not bad.
I'm relived to be roping up after soloing the approach slabs. The climbing begins right off the bat with the newly replaced bolt being just out of reach from the ledge that taller folks stand on to clip. The chopped stud mocks me as I can easily reach it. I make the first moves in the series that the bolt is there to protect, stop and clip and head up. The climbing is fun and the protection though small is good. My foot cuts out unexpectedly and I almost go for a ride. Resoles aren't working quite right yet but they come on strong as I go higher.
It's hot, 80, calm and not a cloud in the sky which would be great except that the climb faces directly south and we are cooking.
The next pitches go well. We swap leads and Shaw ends up leading the crux 5.11 pitches which is fine with me. The route gets steeper as we go up. We eat bars that go down like nails, suck some Gu and finish the water on about pitch 5. The 6th pitch seems hard. The topo says 10b but it's not going well for me. I can't grip to the only hold that I can find to clip off of and after whipping 3 times I am positive that what I've been gripping aint a 10b offering. I finally figure it out but by the time I make the belay there's no question about it, I'm tired.
Shaw leads pitch 7 and that's it Levitation 29 complete.
Except for the raps, reversing the slabs, the river bed and the hike across the desert all of which it turns out only takes 3 hours. This 3 hours included a very important stop at a pool of cold water that we treated and drank.
All and all it was a good day for the riverpeople though upon further reflection a little hot.
Oh yeah the new book rates pitch 6, 10d.
To be continued.......