Wide Boyz Blog

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Big Cracks and Monster Storms

Heading back to the White Rim for the second trip this week we had two main objectives: make further progress on the crux section of The Crucifix and get what we called "The Rail Project" done. As we've explained before, it's really good to try two different things in the caves under the White Rim so that motivation stays high, skin keeps relatively fresh and the body doesn't get injured.

Tom on the first ascent of Bigger Than Your Boyfriend (c) Mary Eden

We arrived late on what was supposed to be Day 1 and got some Friends in the cracks and ropes and camping set up sorted (you have to camp and eat at least a mile away from any dirt tracks, so establishing a bit of a cooking/sleeping location in the area is very beneficial!). As Day 2 dawned, it became apparent that the weather was looking a bit risky, but rather than prepare we jumped on the smallest holds to take advantage of cooler conditions!

Some time into the afternoon, I was working a section of the route and a serious bit of weather rolled in - it's not exactly epic in British proportions, but the repercussions were a big learning point. As rain poured down outside, there appeared a few trickles of water from the crack above my head.

Pete: "Tom, I'd probably come down. It's not worth it and you'll get wet soon"

10 seconds pass and in this time the water turns from a trickle to the equivalent of someone pouring an entire hotel's worth of bathwater down the crack - it was a bloody waterfall!

Pete: "Holy crap! It's a river! You're coming down.

In just those few seconds, we were utterly drenched, the floor we were belaying from turned into a small river and every item in our possession (chalk, bags, passports, ropes) doubled it's weight in water. Although it was pretty annoying to loose the rest of the day to sitting in the cold and damp, staring out at the storm, it was fascinating to see the Canyonlands in the middle of a flash flood. Waterfalls appeared everywhere, dry gullies became ranging mud rivers and each crack showed us how water was the primary action in it's creation. An amazing day!

That is one moist crack...

As you might imagine, the next few days were spent trying to find dry sections of rock and avoid any possible risk of breaking holds on our project. Even the loss of a single crimp in the middle of The Crucifix crux would be game over, so we had to play the waiting game. Boring, but safe.

On one of the "waiting days" we were joined by some Moab friends (Sadie, Mary and Jesse) who came and tried some FAs with us on the wider stuff as it dries way more quickly. Going out and trying these 3-star roof cracks of 5.12-5.13, onsight, with no cleaning is ace. It's like a proper session in the cellar, but on real rock and you get to establish a quality new lines. "Raining Scorpions" 5.12+, "Bigger Than Your Boyfriend" 5.12+, "Suck it Up Buttercup" 5.7 and "Jessie's Big Guns" 5.11 were all established in good style and by a very psyched team.

Mary making the first ascent of Suck it up Buttercup.
Can anyone fit through here apart from Mary!? (c) Mary Eden

All in all, you might think that the last 5 days were a bit of a disaster, but we're taking some positives from it:
Piz the founder of roof crack climbing on The White Rim, beneath the Crucifix

1. The next 5 days have primo weather. Clear, low humidity and low temps!
2. We didn't break anything on The Crucifix
3. Pete's underwear is all dirty or damp now, so he's commando. Light is right.


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