[3 Sept 2020> Back to archiving, picking up from August 1993—]
Sept 3 [1993—Tucson]
1st week of classes... well, 1st real week. Started teaching the 101 labs, which was stressful. For once all my profs are decent. Fulvio Melia is very transparent and actually making E + M [Electricity + Magnetism] enjoyable. I decided not to take Particle Physics cuz Johns sucks so instead I'm taking Advanced QM [Quantum Mechanics] w/ Patrasicou and i have this guy Tolliver for Metaphysics who reminds me of a philosophizing Denzel Washington. Brett is also in that class, though i haven't spoken to him yet. All in all i'm pretty inspired. Scott's gonna come early tomorrow and we're gonna hit the Dragoons.
Sept 6—Socorro, New Mexico
Not! We ended up in Datil, New Mexico. Scott came late (~9) and it was already hot and [C] called and was going to go to San Diego, so i talked Scott into going to New Mexico (it wasn't that hard). Nice drive but we wasted Saturday with no climbing. Took the long way through Silver City, beautiful. I feel i will end up in New Mexico. I definitely at least want to check out Los Alamos next summer. Stopped at San Francisco hot spring, like entering the Twilight Zone. ½ naked hippies sleeping in covered wagons. We could only put our feet in the muddy hot springs (signs warned us not go get in or expose our noses for there were dangerous organisms). The directions Bill gave me to Datil were bogus. We went up this dirt road in the dark, opening gates, etc. when finally we saw these scary looking hunters with guns camping out.
"Excuse me, do you know where Big Thompson Canyon is?"
"What the hell is going on in Big Thompson canyon?" one in flannel and a moustache asks. The other one nudges him, "these are more of them climber types going out there to climb rocks. We had a few more of you wonder through last night asking the same thing."
They finally gave us directions and we saw the rocks in the moonlight and everybody was asleep. Don woke up, he was in a tent with Rebecca. We just crashed. A good night sleep in the cool mountain air (8000 feet) with Beta, the coyote-dog sleeping at my feet. Woke amidst the group—Bill, Don, Rebecca, Susan, Mike, Dean and a few others that i didn't catch their names. C, Scott and I got up early and did the four "easy" routes—a 5.8+, 5.9+, 5.9 and a 5.10–. I led the 9+ and 10–. They were short and slightly overhung. C got moody and went back to study. Scott and i then went over to where Bill and them were and flailed on this 11+ on T.R. Then I led this 5.10 that was way overhung and fun, big pockets and huecos, gets you pumped after 30 feet but none of the routes are longer than that. Ate lunch then went to this other wall that had this 5.8 (?) that Scott led, then these two 5.9 (?) TR problems next to it. Then it started to rain and we waited under an overhang, then ran back. C and Scott went into town and everybody left except Bill, Mike and Beta (the coolest dog in the state). We sat in the car in the rain listening to Neil Young and then it cleared and we walked a mile or so up this road to "the land beyond", a crag with a log of overhanging routes on it. Definitely all sports routes here [this was a new climbing area a lot of these climbers we were with like Bill were developing—googling now, they call it Enchanted Tower] Went back, had a fire, burritos, Tecate con limon y sal, coffee and a few hits of ganja. A mellow starry night. Though damp. I slept in Scott's van cuz my sleeping bag got wet. The van smelled like puke. Scott's parents use it for catering. All sorts of weird puke-pink looking shit spilled all over. It made me have dreams about throwing up. This morning did the usual coffee and bagel and banana thing waiting for the sun to shine on us. We did this 5.9 that Scott led that was cool and another TR next to it (5.8?) then Bill left, C took Scott's mtn bike and Scott and I went to the Land Beyond. I head this route that i guess was 5.9, it was very overhung and fun. The rain came again with loud thunder. Seems the rain always tells us when it's time to quit. All in all Datil is a beautiful location in this valley but the climbing is o.k. Too much of cranky pumpers. Now another drive through New Mexico.
[we din't have a camraw most of the '90s so don't have photos, but here's a shot of Enchanted Tower from Inurnet]
A few weird events have occurred to me in the last few weeks... 1st of all i didn't mention it but Don found this dog that he brought to Datil. It's this amazing dog that looks just like a coyote. Don had tried to find the owners with no luck, so he decided to call the dog Beta. So after a day or so in Datil of calling the dog Beta we're sitting around the fire and i say "this dog doesn't look like a "Beta" and he doesn't respond to his name. His name should be 'Wiley.'" (as in Wile E. Coyote). Right when i said this he perked up his ears and then others started saying Wiley and Wiley would go running to them, happy that we were calling his name. Thus, this answered the debate as to what his name was! Tho Bill and other naysayers thought it was just in the intonation and that he'd respond to any name as long as we said it right. So Don left Wiley with us an extra day since he was going back and we had a grand old time except it was apparent that Wiley. Then Bill brought Wiley back to Don and the 1st day back Wiley got out and ran away. A few days later Don is walking through campus and sees the coyote-dog tied to a tree. He eventually found the owner in a dance class inside a building near the tree, and sure enough, his true name is Wiley! I guess it's not that unusual being that he looks just like a coyote.
Then the other night I'm sleeping and I heard a knock on the door so i go to answer it and it's Emily, this hot hippy chick i sort of recognize from around Pony Esspresso but have never talked to her. She asks if she can come in, what am i spose to say? She seemed like she was on something and starts going off on all this new age mumbo jumbo
about how she felt a connection with me and then flat out asked if she could spend the night. I must admit i was tempted cuz she's pretty and has a nice body and smelled like patchouli, but she seemed freaky psychotic and a bad idea so i told her i had to go to bed cuz i had a test the next day but maybe i'd see her around Pony Esspresso. Really weird.
Got a letter from Martine [embedded in the pages, along w/ various other things] which was also a trip. It got me thinking about a lot of things and i wrote a long letter back. The week was good as far as studying goes, i absorbed a lot of knowledge and am staying on top of things. Of course Scott came down on Saturday morning and we went to Rap Rock. Harlow and C came too. First I led Bender Axen (5.8) which is always a cool climb, then rapped down and did Chiboni (5.9+), always classic. C and I went on ahead to do Voodoo Chile (5.11– !!) ... actually, we had set out to do Black Magic Woman. The 1st pitch was 5.8, went up this awkward stemming problem to a bolt and the crux, then meandered a long way up to a placement then more runout. The next pitch was an arching dihedral with a supposed "crack".. hah! It was tricky finding gear and where the route was supposed to go. I traversed across this blank face that went into a slight dish/dihedral then up around the corner into another dihedral and up to the belay. I was looking up at Black Magic Woman (5.10+) thinking it looked strenuous and hard then looked at Voodoo Chile thinking it looked easier, so i went for it. Run out along a crystal vein to the 1st bolt and then some maybe 5.9 slab moves through to more bolts than i'm looking at the 5.11 crux and i’m feeling good and it's thin but i knew what i gotta do and i step and step and i'm sticking! It took 3 or 4 moves before i was fully off the crux, but it was still run-out slab. I was psyched and high as one can get off rock, clinging to rap rock high above Tucson, on the edge of the threshold. My first 5.11 lead! I love slab, technical rather than pumpy. After that was a pitch of 5.8 where you go up past a bolt to that 5.6 roof but we had to wait around for a while cuz there was this couple from Austin that we're still on that pitch and a big storm was coming in. Scott and I we're originally gonna spend the night up top but by the time Sheri and Martin got up it was storming. So we went down and mowed at Olive Garden. We planned on doing Warpaint the next day, but it was a weird night sleep and it started raining at 3:00 a.m. Can't sleep when it rains, especially when it keeps you from climbing. At 7 a.m. it was still overcast and drizzly. We decided to go for it anyways after a big breakfast. As we were going to the stronghold we saw a desert tortoise on the road. Scott was like whoa, i was just thinking 5 minutes that i wanted to see a desert tortoise, i should of said something. So i'm all, while we're on the subject i just had this premonition that we're gonna run into a rattlesnake, like i actually saw the encounter in my mind. We get to the creek bed (and i take us up the wrong one) and sure enough i run head on with this big rattlesnake that was coiled up and ready to strike. It was a truly beautiful and healthy animal and we watched it for a while. Then about 10 minutes later i ran into another one, a little one hiding under a rock, rattling at us. It started drizzling again and things were looking bleak and i got us more or less lost and well, it was kind of cool exploring around and that's all we did. We went back down and it was starting to clear up but it was 1:30, so we went to Isle of You. I led Isle of You (5.9) which my ass if it was 5.9 and Scott didn't think so either, but it was a fun full rope length of climbing. We TR'ed The Chose One (5.11a) which was right next to it. I fell on the crux, then barely pulled through, but it was a cool climb, through a few more 5.11 cruxes and a 5.10d roof move that i barely made it through. Then Scott led Stone Woman (5.10a) though he skipped the crux. The mosquitoes were buzzing and the sun going down. I did it with no falls then we got the hell out of there, driving back through more wicked T-storms.
[Rap rock on Mt Lemmon, again from Inurnet]
Keeping busy, doing homework, grading, and teaching and my only entertainment is the climbing gym. They finally did my kitchen floors and it looks nice. I cleaned and organized everything and it feels real homey. Actually I've managed to knock off a bunch of "to do" items that have been building up, such as "see a dentist," get a new I.D." etc. So i feel rather productive and it’s making me more focused. Went climbing with Shaheen at Rap rock on Saturday. I had a lot of routes in mind and got up at 6:00 excited to climb. Unfortunately we started on Black Quacker (5.6) which i though would be a quick warm-up (Shaheen hadn't been climbing in a while).. Not! I led the 1st chimney pitch which was abrasive. Then Sean led the next 2 pitches. The 2nd he took forever but i was patient. The 3rd he seriously took a few hours and i was in that shady notch and it was cold as hell and i was fuming, shivering. I gave him explicit direction on how to get to the belay for B.M.W. but he kept going to the belay for Black Quacker. So i went up to the B.M.W. belay (finally in the sun at least!) and lowered him back down. Then i led Black Magic Woman (5.10+), what an exhilarating climb! I stemmed up that dihedral, got a #1 stopper and a piece under the roof that i couldn't even see. I had the nice lip around the corner but was too chicken to commit, so i went up and traversed across making this heinous wide stem and clipping the piton at my feet, probably the scariest clip i've ever made. Then i had to pull myself into the committing, thin layback on steep slab, through the crux and finally clipped a bolt but it wasn't over yet, sustained slab climbing that i whimpered my way through with runout between bolts. A very fine line. After Shaheen did it (and fell quite a few times. Then i TR'ed it and discovered I'd made some wrong choices and made it harder than it had to be. The next pitch was 5.8 but it seemed to me like they put the bolt above the crux, then pulled the cool 5.6 roof move and up the chickenheads. It was too late to go back down and do Helm's Deep or whatever, but we did Dakota Territory (5.8) which was a fun route up cool crystal knobs over a nice Aspen Grove that was definitely reminiscent of South Dakota. Actually studied on Sunday instead of climbing! I've got a lot of work to do, but i'm happy to be doing it.
It seems i've regressed to writing once a week, and i never write down my dreams anymore. Not that i haven't been having or remembering them, just the other night i had a really intense one [not logged yet in our dream journal] and even got up to get my journal and pen but then i couldn't articulate anything. All i can say is it was about this guy who became a more complete person through the death of his father. And climbing dreams all the time.
The weeks go on, a lot of work, I'm enjoying teaching more and more and my students seem more respectful and grateful, getting into it a lot more. And i'm getting into my classes more. I was planning on doing Shanashee and Rapture of the Steep with C but she flaked on me, but then at the same Ed flaked on Harlow and Bob Kerry, so i replaced Ed. 4:30 alarm, couldn't sleep cuz i kept dreaming about The Day That Lovin' Stopped (5.9R)[the route we were setting out to do]. Chawn picked me up at 5:00 a.m. and we met Bob at the parking area for Pima Canyon trail. Bob Kerry is a jovial older man that kind of reminded me of Sean Connery. We walked about climbing most of the time, about different routes and his book [Backcountry Rockclimbing in Southern Arizona, which is or was a bible of sorts to climbers in Southern Arizona]. He is a lawyer, also writing a tourist guide for Tucson. We walked the first 3 miles up Pima Canyon. Chawn and Bob we're debating the best way to go the top of Table Mountain. But how can you argue with Bob, he's a walking guidebook! A view i soon found to be naive. At the dam we took a side gully straight up. Bob is in not so good shape (said he's been sitting around with his "convalescing wife" all summer) so we had to wait for him a lot. The sun was finally upon us when we got out of the gully onto the plateau. This was the psychologically trying part as from the gully it seemed we were almost there, but then as you round up into the plateau, the summit keeps getting further away. But it was cool, grassy plateau with hidden shin daggers and lots of big horn sheep droppings (I kept my eyes peeled but didn't see any). We finally made it to the cliff edge on the north side (this took 3 hours). We geared up and ate some almonds and raisins then started down the descent gully. It seemed like a landslide had gone through there, uprooted trees and mud and rocks. When we got to the anchors for the 1st rappel they were smashed/chopped off. At 1st we thought it was the work of traditionalist vandals but then realized it was the work of a huge boulder that must have hit them. There were chip marks all over the face. Luckily Bob had his bolt kit so we set to work pounding (and i pounded and drilled my 1st bolt!). They took about 10-15 minutes a piece. We rapped and descended to the base of The Day that Loving Stopped (5.9R). We asked Bob if he was gonna lead the R pitch (a 5.8 mantle 50 feet above a bolt), i mean, having 20 years of climbing experience and numerous 1st ascents and he wrote the backcountry climbing guide! But he said he would let us "hearty youngin's do that." Hmm. Do i feel like a "rope gun"? Bob had all his camera gear and that was supposedly his motivation for this trip, to document the climb for the next edition of his book. So Chawn decided i was the stronger climber, so i was to lead the 3rd pitch that was R [meaning dangerous]. According to Bob, this was the 3rd ascent of this route, that he knew of. The 1st was Karl Rickson, then Bob and then some other guy came along and did it not knowing what it was, until they saw the bolt on the 3rd pitch. Since then no one has done it cuz when they ask Karl and he describes the runout they get spooked. And Bob gives it 3 stars in his book. Hmmm. Rope gun indeed. So i led the 1st pitch, 5.8 or 5.9. It had potential but was very vegetated. Finger cracks/layback to a dihedral than back into some more finger cracks. I did a lot of gardening, going "shit, there's no move here" then i would pull up a plant revealing a hold. Bob didn't give me the long runners so i did a lot of zig-zagging (i used my 2 long ones right off) so had major rope drag. It felt like i was pulling an elephant up. We were climbing on double 9 mm, one of which Bob launched a rock on, putting a nick in it at the ½ way point. So i guess you could say i was climbing on 1½ 9 mms. I trudged up weighing 350 lbs. and finally made it to the belay. Belayed both of them up, then Chawn did the next pitch. Also 5.9 and awkward, up around to the right and cutting back left on this crummy vegetated ledge. with pampa grass and agave. It was like a technical stroll through vertical botanical gardens on lead. I pulled aside this plant to discover a hold on the 1st pitch that smelled like mint, that put me in good spirits. So Chawn was lost from our sight and Bob telling him to cut up as soon as possible to find a bolt but Chawn couldn't find it and finally belayed off a flake. Bob went up next and i was starting to worry about this 3rd pitch and whether i could trust Bob Kerry's (of all people, THE guidebook) judgment. And i was looking at the slabs wondering what it would be like to fall 100 feet and i was computing X – X0 = ½ gt2 [computes out] = 4.5 seconds of free fall and even longer when you take the tumbling into account. So i came up the 2nd pitch with this in mind but when i got to the ledge Chawn said Bob was leading it after all. You can't imagine my relief. Chawn thought i would be pissed, cheated of the lead. No fucking way, i was happy to let Bob and his bolt gun find the route. So he goes up to the right and can't find the bolts and he's talking to us but says his mouth was so dry he couldn't speak. He stops to put in a bolt. The sound of a hammer echoing across the mountain. Pusch Peak in the distance. He finally gets the bolt in and we're relieved. He continues up a ways and then i see Bob Kerry tumbling down the wall yelling "FAAALLLLLING!"... like a 40 foot fall! He was alright, except he lost his hat. He just said, "well at least that woke me up" and kept climbing. He tensioned traversed over to an easier part went up 60 feet then put another bolt in. By this time he determined we were off-route and creating an entirely new route. He got to this ledge that already had one rusty bolt and belayed us up. It was dicey and fun face climbing where he tension-traversed, 5.9–5.10 and then there was a stiff move at the 2nd bolt which was probably 5.9+ (we later found out that Bob grabbed the quickdraw and pulled his way through this move). We all got up and Bob's all, "o.k., you're up" pointing to me. O.K. my 1st F.A. [first ascent, meaning a route no one had ever done]. I geared up and did a smeary 5.8+ traverse to a dihedral where i wrapped off a block and went up, got a cam in, then the crack ran out and it became very blank and lichenous. I said "no way" and tried traversing further right and found no vertical cracks going up, just a horizontal crack with hornets in it that i had agitated and i quickly reversed my moves. I was about to downclimb off but Bob said he wanted to check it out (at least he had the bolt kit). He pulled through the traverse (using the rope) and got up to where i was and immediately said nope and lowered back down. At this point we wanted to get off the rock. Our new route ("Emergency F.A."?) had come to a halt.
We added another bolt next to the old rusty one and rapped down (the nick in the rope getting increasingly bigger!). Stage 1 of the epic retreat complete, i.e. we reached ground. Then we had to go UP the descent gully. Everything on this trip was backwards. Hike to the top of a mountain to go back down to climb it and then ascending the descent gully. I was way ahead so i started free-soloing the 1st "rap". I almost was there but decided to set up a belay and then Chawn continued the traverse roped up. He belayed us up. Once again, i ran ahead to the next "rap" and free-soloed most of it, but when i got to loose sandy shit i tossed the rope down and had Chawn put me on belay, and i even made a placement! Up to those nice new bolts we put in earlier. Bob commented that if we had been Native American and had seen the trashed bolts at the beginning of the day we would have taken that as a sign and turned back. We continued up the gully and got our packs. Stage 2 completed. Now we had water, food and hiking boots. We bushwhacked down the plateau in a hasty retreat to beat the sun before it went down. We followed Chawn's advice and went his way (continuing along the sloping gully). I tripped and fell on a patch of shin daggers, which then became forearm and wrist daggers. Pulled out 4 or 5 broken off tips, i still look like a junky. Finally i found the trail, down the buttress. Walked right by a tan colored rattlesnake that didn't pay us much mind. I thought it was another century plant rattle that we'd kept hitting. Finally reached the trail, stage 3 complete. Just in time for it was now dark. All we had to do was walk the three miles back to the car. The moon was bright and every once in a while, when we were in the clear, it would light the way. Our legs ached and our bodies were weary when we reached the car. Stage 4 complete. Then you're sitting in the car with the window down letting the car do the work and adjusting to the arrival of civilization. Normally stage 5 is going to your favorite restaurant and pigging out and drinking beer. In Bob's case it was going to 7-11 and getting a Big Gulp, then he quickly left. I bought his damaged rope for $20 (i just saw Gwella and sold her ½ for $10) so now i have ½ a 9mm rope. Perfect for T.R. bouldering problems. Our stage 5 was cut short cuz Chawn didn't have cash and was too embarrassed to set foot in a nice restaurant so we went to Taco Bell, then i went home and ate a pint of Ben + Jerry's peanut butter cookie dough which was more rewarding.
[Table Mountain (our route goes up the left (north) side]
Oct 2, 93
This is turning into a climbing journal of sorts. I just never think to write of the daily trudge which is not so bad, but it's what I live so need to re-write it. I held review sessions instead of labs this week and it was rewarding. Took forever to do my E + M homework and I have solutions! Last night I took a study break to go to the Pow Wow. A lot of images stuck out in my mind, a guy dressed out in deer dance garb and an Oakland Raiders hat. A cheap looking woman in a Harley tank-top and tattoos comes in with her kids, who have their hair combed neat and are well-behaved. An announcer asks everyone to remove their hats for some songs and these cocky Indian youths kept their hats on backwards and were air-guitaring heavy metal licks to the music. They also had a song where they paid respects to the American flag cuz "cuz now we belong to that country" which was depressing.
Stefan came by at 6:30 to go to Sea Gods [Reef of Rocks climbinga rea atop Mt Lemmon]. I love the Sea Gods. It's out there, it's special, it's other worldly. It's remote. It was already warm when we got there. Did the usual Sea God approach, I don't think Stephan is used to this shit, kept bitching about his climbing shoes. Did find Coriolis (5.9) though, and it proved to be harder than I expected, but a great sustained route up a slabby groove. When we got to the ledge below lower Aegir I went to take a look at UC and Reefer Madness but I somehow aroused some yellow jackets and they started swarming me on my leg and they kept chasing me as i tried to swat 'em and i could them buzzing in my ear. I took that as an omen not to do UC... not like i would have done it anyway, looked intimidating as hell. So we ended up doing Blockbuster Ballet (5.8, 4 pitches). Stefan wanted to lead so he did the 1st pitch. I did the second pitch which was trivial climbing but i had to figure out where to go. Finally I ended up below this cool 5.6 chimney. Stefan started to go up it but got spanked. So i went up. A most excellent and aesthetic chimney. He was getting pretty tired so i did the last pitch as well, which was trivial. As I topped out i was blown away by the beauty. The sheer expanse of pristine and silent beauty. We had to do this harrowing downclimb to the ledge off and around to Neptune. As I rounded into the gully there was Harlow on the crux of Agent Orange, right on the exposed arete with nothing but distant mountains in the background. It was an intense image, like i was suddenly Harlow to an outsider, like "holy shit! That's what we do!" It was nuts. He looked like he was gripping the edge of space. Bill led the whole thing. Quite impressive climb, I can't wait. Stefan makes for better conversation than Chawn or most other people, so the ride down was enjoyable.
[Agent Orange on Neptune, Reef of Rocks]
Oct 12, 93
"Columbus Day".. hmm. What am I doing here in this country where i don't belong? So the infamous Granite mountain trip that i've been planning looks like it's dissolving... my dreams of getting my hands into those cracks, being high up on that granite gone. For what? Family reunion (not to mention HW and tests, but that's a minor detail). Mom finally decided she'd pay for the ticket (I said i couldn't afford it when really i just wanted to climb). What can i say? She says rocks don't go anywhere but family reunions are once in a lifetime (but i think it's the other way around). I have a feeling Granini might pull one of those hemlock exit the queen stage left moves—and i respect that—but all of us getting together like this kind of acknowledging what she's gonna do seems a bit twisted. Stefan was telling me about how the Eskimos, when they get old and can't fish and what not, they have a big party for them and everyone rejoices, then they stock them on an iceberg and float them off to sea.
Why haven't i write for almost 2 weeks? Because i didn't climb last weekend and there's nothing else to say. Perhaps it's good i didn't climb cuz my arms been feeling tweaked.
Oct 18, 93
I dreamt last [again, not logged yet in our dream journal] night that mom was telling me to not fall asleep by holding a compass to the wall. Then i dreamt within the dream (I fell asleep anyways) that I entered this black and white film of Grandpa Call reeling in a fish and i took over for a while.
I still haven't been climbing. The Prescott trip was abruptly put to an end for me cuz mom called on Wednesday and said she'd pay for the flight and made me feel guilty, saying everyone except me would be there. So I took the shuttle to Phoenix on Friday night and flew to SFO. David picked me up and I spent the night at his house. Went and had the usual Hobee's breakfast with Kevin, then went to Northface. They wouldn't re-loft my bag so i got a Goretex bivy sack. The Collins reunion was actually pretty cool. I met relations i didn't know existed. I especially enjoyed Jill's company, have never really spent time with her. The food sucked. Sunday we just vegged more, wasn't too exciting. Scott met me at Sky Harbor. Originally he had planned to take me back to Tucson and we'd climb on Monday, but his deal didn't go through so I took the shuttle back. I'm gonna drop my philo class cuz it's just too much. I've been dreaming but i forget to write down my dreams.
Sunday night—had a great weekend. Friday afternoon I went to Gate's Pass w/ Rebecca and Patrick. I decided to call her Agent Starling cuz she looks like Jodie Foster and has that certain southern charm and West Virginia accent and an affinity for guns. My arm was hurting and i was going to purposely not bring my shoes (so i wouldn't screw up my arm more) but i did anyways, and of course I just had to try some of the moves. I went further up and found a really cool boulder with a flat bland face except for a big hueco and some little vertical crack pockets. We stayed until it was dark. Woke up at 4:30 on Saturday morning to finish our 1st ascent. Alpine start—met Bob Kerry at McDonalds and then we set out to Table Mountain, or actually Catalina St Park or near there. Decided to approach from the other side this time. It was still dark as we went up these roads that are part of "La Reserve", some big resort like housing-complex to be. It was kind of weird, reminded me Santa Anita [housing complex outside of Guadalajara where we had friends in jr high] and gave me a premonition of a memory to be of sorts. Venus was on the eastern horizon. That's one thing about getting up before dawn, it makes things surreal. We walked up these dirt roads and eventually off and on this horse trail. As it began to get light we could make out the cliffs on the north side, the largest face on the backside of Table Mountain, and our route going smack up the middle.
We made for the ridge and once we got to the burnt out area it was easy going, but still a 2 hour and 45 minute bushwhack straight up. Bob said i should lead the 1st pitch, but i thought that was a bit manipulative, so he did it. Chawn was going to do the 2nd pitch, after the 5.9 weird layback he was to head up the headwall into new territory. He was really nervous and shaky and making a big deal of that move even though he had already done it and i was thinking he was just nervous about continuing into unknown territory. So he bailed to the rusty old bolts to the left and belayed us up. Bob went up and said, "oh well, we'll get Derek to do it" as if I was Mikey in the Life cereal commercial. I had been watching this ant carrying a grasshopper 10 times his weight up this steep face and was inspired. I went up and sat on the ledge while Bob put in a bolt for me a little ways up. I was getting that almost out of body experience where you watch your body go through the motions, as i stood up and went up across the slab and clipped the bolt, and you're looking up not knowing what to expect and you have to be thinking about having to stop and drill a bolt and i'm grabbing a jug above me and i know i can pull the next move so what the hell, i'm hoisting myself up and it's not so bad and I'm standing on a ledge that's not so bad but i'm nervous as hell cuz this is all new to me, climbing into the unknown, but i'm also excited as hell. And i'm starting to grab the drill and Bob's saying, "just stand there first and get used to it" and there's a lot of truth in what he's saying, it's not so bad, the last bolt is not so far back and it's all air if i did fall. So I chill for a sec then begin pounding away, but it's dead vertical and hard to really to pound and it took forever and my arms were getting pumped from drilling. It took at least 20 minutes and I finally got it and what a good feeling, suddenly there's a bolt there. It made me think about bolts as a form of placement, except I had to drill the hole. The move after that bolt I think is the crux of the climb. I had to stem really wide and then grab this flake and pull into a layback and reach for the next flake and it's lichenous and i'm venturing into the unknown, where no man has gone before, getting further from the bolt and it's getting more exciting and i can't believe i'm doing this and it's going. I'm past the hard part but I'm freaking cuz the ledge is not as nice as it looked from below and i've got Elvis leg until I relax and do one of my Tai Chi breathing exercises and realize it ain't so bad and pound away and take an occassional break to enjoy the view. My legs are getting really pumped since i'm not using my hands and I really want the bolt in so it goes faster (probably cuz the bit was changed) and then i can really relax and decide where the route goes next. I get the bolt in and clip it, feeling relived. It eases up but will still require more bolts, no cracks in sight. I still can't see the bolts that Bob put in last time, which is what i'm supposed to be connecting up to. I'm thinking it may be too contrived to try to head over there when there's a nice dihedral heading straight up from the bolt. But perhaps that's for the next trip, a variation on this route, when we can come back w/ the Bosch [electric drill only requiring one free hand] cuz either way we need to put in bolts on lead. So I just added another bolt and belayed from there, figuring either Bob or Chawn could continue the next pitch over to where we were. We were talking about what to name this route and I was joking that we had to make it a take on "The Day That Lovin' Stopped" [the route we set out to do before accidentally doing this 1st ascent] and Bob said, "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places" and that sounded good to us. So we called it a day (it was getting too late to finish it), rapped off and did the hike out along the burned out ridge and it was surreally glorious, felt like being in some strange country. Chawn and I went to eat at El Charro and it was amazing.
Sunday Stefan and this Colombian girl Adriana swung by and we made home-fries and artichoke-scrambles then Rebecca came by and I left with her up to Windy Point. She's increasingly growing on me, striking some nerves. She's gonna be a piece of bubblegum with a shoe on it for Halloween, which pretty much sums her up. I'm sorta smitten, she is surprising me in many ways, and she's cute, tho maybe not really sexually attractive. I'm trying to suppress things for now cuz i don't want to be foolish. So we went up to Windy Point and I led Mousetrap (5.9) mostly cuz it was right next to Rabbit Tracks and Stefan was on that and i wanted to keep an eye on him (his 1st lead on pro), especially since Adriana had never belayed before. Mousetrap was exciting, hard to get pro before the bolt which when i got to it was kind of disappointed was there there cuz there was a good placement right next to it, but then again, it was in a crucial hold. Rebecca had a hard time on it and couldn't do it, but she persevered and got it her own way. Adriana did well as did Stefan except he ran out of draws, so i had to lower him down some so good thing we were there. They left after that and Rebecca and I went off to do Erbanay (5.8+) which was a great experience. I had this total communion with the rock, one of those climbs where everything falls together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Classic climbing, laybacking up to this roof with boiler plates and though-provoking and solid pro. It was exciting too, I thought it was harder than 5.8+. We ate dried strawberries and canned peaches after then did the haul back up to the car. I feel really inspired cuz of this weekend, cuz of climbing and Rebecca and Stefan and just is making me feel really alive and invigorated. I'm living my dreams.
[Mousetrap goes straight up the middle]
4:30—Just had a really scary nightmare [again, not yet logged]—i was going down to this cabin that seemed like Mom's place. I was with these 2 girls and there was snow on the ground. There were ski tracks on the road heading towards the house. We followed them in and they went right to the house and stopped, then there were footsteps leading into the (unlocked) house like someone had broken in. We couldn't find anything missing but we're still freaked out. I was trying to calm down these girls (that seemed like cousins). One girl said the intruder was really powerful and would poke her mattress from under the bed. I was trying to tell her it was all in her mind.
"Did you check under your bed?"
I turned the thermostat from 40° to 75° then we heard this snowmobile coming down the road and I knew the ski tracks weren't from skis but a snowmobile. Adrenalin shot through me and i searched for a gun or weapon but all i could find was a fire poker. I went to the window. He had stopped and was about to get off. He had dark curly hair and a flannel shirt. It seemed like he purposely kept his face featureless so we couldn't see him. I didn't know whether to hide or show myself in the window. Then he saw me in the window and took off. I went to bed on a waterbed. I woke up buzzing like i was drugged up and dreamt (within the dream) that i heard a knock on the door. I remember the cousin saying this intruder was powerful in mind control. I tried to wake up but couldn't. I thought I heard a dog bark. I figured i had been drugged, i was buzzing numbly. Finally i woke up and felt too freaked out to go back to sleep.