Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beck's Tower Must Go Free!

Beck's Tower East buttress, day 2. Logan and I set out once again with hopes of being on the summit by the end of the day. Logan jumped on the first lead braved the potential leg breaker fall to clip the second bolt and punched through what we are now calling a 5.11a face section, he quickly gained the last bolt I had drilled the week before, added 1 more bolt to the pitch and climbed up to a decent stance and added an anchor. I climbed up to Logan grabbed the fat crack rack started up pitch 2 for a wide crack adventure. Right away the need to put in another bolt, to climb through a lose section leading to a chimney flake, slowed down progress, I added the bolt and wrestled my way into the chimney. Once in, the climbing was enjoyable with great quartzite chunks for face holds and a decent crack eating up the oversized cams which where weighing me down. I finished the pitch under a roof about 50M up and added another anchor, Logan and I both feeling the pitch was 5.10b. Logan then stepped up once again and quickly lead out a small quartzite roof and jammed up a splitter hand crack in beautiful orange rock. He ended the pitch at a natural stance where an anchor already existed, that pitch going at 5.10a. The anchor was the top of the SE Dike project, one of the last generations attempts to conquer the face of Beck's Tower. I headed up from the anchor and came to a 2 bolt ladder and a hard slab move to another bolt. From that bolt it was easy to gain a slot which lead up easy climbing to a ledge. I lowered down and tried to see if the 2 bolt ladder could be freed. After a couple of futile tries we realized it was getting late and we retreated, 1 pitch from the summit.
The plan on return will be to add a bolt to the 1st pitch, climb quickly to our shared anchor and spend whatever time necessary to climb that last pitch free and hopefully no harder than 5.11.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BECKS TOWER UNDER SIEGE 2010 climbing season kicks in!!!

After a long wet winter, climbing season has finally arrived and the base camp crew is psyched to make 2010 their most productive season yet. With the desire to get some grade IV free-climbs on Becks the Crew is eager to complete there long time project "Clean Up Crew", which is only a pitch or 2 from completion estimated to go at 5.13.
As a warm up Logan, the newest member of the Shastafarian team and I decided to give the East Buttress of Beck's a try. I asked around to try to get any possible beta but despite the obvious nature of the line no one seemed to have any useful info.
We got a good early start, found our way to the base of the route easily. I racked up to get things started headed up a leaning block to a bolt, a button head with a leaper hanger. Above an 85 degree wall with no cracks and no obvious hooking stance to run to. So I decided to try the alternative start, an easy run-out slab which would put us about 40' short of the line we were trying to access. I headed up the slab got in some manky gear about halfway up continued on and found a bashee and a #2 stopper equalized with a rotten sling. From that point on it was clear we were heading into uncharted terrain. I drilled a bolt from a stance climbed about 10' and hammered in another bolt off of a single hook. Logan then stepped up drilled 2 more bolts, also drilling one from a stance and another off a single hook. We finished up a long day at about 115', with 5 bolts in and about 10' shy of some natural gear.
Stay tuned for updates and more pics.

The other Lover's Leap has not been neglected and it is developing into a premiere destination for sport climbing in the State of Jefferson. With over 30 routes now established the Leap is truly becoming a destination not to be missed.