Rumney: Labor Day 2006
September 2nd 2006
Saturday, September 2nd 2006. Up at 7, breakfast at Plain Jane's. Yes, a theme, a rut even, but there's no place else to eat (other than, heaven forfend, cook it yourself). Destination: The Triple Corners Cliff. The area offers a full menu of grades from 5.6 to 10d, all doable by our modest crew, either on top rope or lead. The rock is a combination of schist and quartzite giving many of the routes a distinctly Gunks-like feel.
After a 30 minute jaunt up some steep talus and trails our destination presented itself. Your narrator found the walk to be invigorating, however others complained of fatigue. They are weak and shall be sacrificed and consumed in a survival situation.
Upon arrival, those on point quickly fanned out to claim their quarry. Your narrator, being a bit slow on the uptake, was found staring at a short four bolt 10a, Murk Trench. “You can do it; look at how close those bolts are; it's not really 10a, this is Rumney; that first clip looks easy; the ground is soft here if you blow it; you can always lower off if it's too hard”, said my wife and partner with the frequency and intensity of a jack hammer hyped on coffee and cigarettes (yes, gentle reader, I know jack hammers do not actually consume coffee and tobacco products, but I'm metaphorically challenged at the moment so just deal. Ok?). The first bolt was easy, got the second (whew), tried the next move and hung. Got the move, clipped the third, hung. A theme evolves. Stepped left, then again. A crack! Gear!. Placed a blue alien and a small stopper (not that this thing really calls for gear, but as a trad climber such things are the stuff of comfort and evoke a warm soft glow in the heart). I pull the move, clip the anchors an lower off. Spent, but happy. I led a 10. I Am Stud. Must claim reward. Slave girls are offered, but I demur.
“Joe”, shouted Wilson from the left end of the cliff, “what's the story with this climb here?”, pointing to the bolts above him. Checking the guidebook, I shouted back: “it says it's a 7, two bolts and trad gear to the top. Do you have gear?”. “I think they must have rebolted the climb.”, he replies, “It seems to go to the top”. An hour later, Babs shouts to Wilson: “How's it going; you've been on this thing a long time”. “Ok”, he says, “but it's a LOT harder than a 7, it's very dirty and seems to go in two different directions”. “JOE”, Babs exclaims after again consulting the guidebook, “WILSON'S ON A 10D, NOT A 7. The 7's down the hill. You gave him the wrong beta!”.
Wilson lowers and Daryl takes a go at it. He makes the hard moves at the top, clips the anchor and lowers off. “It's really a 7, isn't it?”, I ask with a wry smile. “A seven, my mother”, he replies, “That thing was fraking HARD!”.
Your narrator then endures gentle ribbing the remainder of the afternoon. Studly aura (see above) proves evanescent.
We'd festooned the cliff with ropes (thanks Daryl and Pauline for leading the hard stuff) making for an outdoor gymnasium; nylon dreadlocks on a stony cranium. Everyone got a go on every climb. Sevens, eights, nines and tens ranging throughout the alphabet. We climbed through late afternoon, broke down the gear and headed for the parking lot, then dinner at – you guessed it – Plain Jane's. Steaks, chops and frappes; arteries have no chance with this crowd. Lipitor surrenders.