Falling up a rabbit hole

In two days, we managed to climb 5 lines… in total, including warm-ups and prospects. Well, it’s actually 6 since Robert did an FA warm-up of unusual dimensions. I called the line Angel Fingers (a firefighter term for flames rolling across the ceiling in a dwelling fire, I think), but it awaits what Robert will call it. The rock looks so horrible and loose, but isn’t, until you reach the top where it becomes a bit grainy. I snapped one shot and had to spot him as his one pad partially sat on a shallow and imbedded rock outcropping.

The image doesn't do it justice because it's hard to see, but the rock texture around him is really cool. He needs a spot...

jill about to stand up on the final slab with illusion dweller (The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby) in the distance on right

Back to the reason Jill and I called this post Falling Up a Rabbit Hole. It’s named after a line Jon sent of which we warmed up on too, ugh. Those types of warm-ups really take their toll. A few years or so ago, Robert told me about a line in the Real Hidden Valley area under the Tumbling Rainbow formation. Jill, Jon and I had scoped it after climbing some of the lines from Timeline 03-2009: The North Wind revisted, sorta, and more. vowing to return to do it. So the three of us set out to find it searching via my beta to skirt the Illusion Dweller formation, called the Sentinel. We hiked around via the north end and started into the canyon. As Jon recognized the path of our downclimb, we veered right and started up into the jumble of rocks atop formation bedrock. Then we got confused, dropped our pads, Jon went one way and Jill and I walked up a rock rut, looked around, peed and then she noticed the underside of a boulder that had sweet huecos and no room to climb, status quo. We walked back to the pads and headed out to what I thought was the exit of our previous trudge, requiring us to partially double back. After about an hour of ridiculous boulder hopping, we stopped to drink some water, and I headed over a ridge to check a cave (I remembered it after reaching it because it sucked) then climbed over a ridge and, low and behold, I was looking down on the boulder. I also realized we had peed just under it and the huecos were from the back and underside! Awesome.

in the distance, out of sight, is the sentinel's west face, and just beyond that object Jon, in the distance, is throwing is the area we reached quickly from the main sentinel path, literally 10 meters beyond him. After an hour we reached here, and to the right, out of sight, is the boulder we sought... something's not right.

We arrived, checked out the downclimb possibilities, poor at best, and decided we had to do the line to warm up. Jon was first to get going and “acclimatized” quickly. I was still struggling with the whole process as only my aging legs felt good. Jon got set and started up, Jill shot video (wrong exposure 😦 ) and I spotted, after shooting a couple of images on the safe start. The line is excellent with quality rock until you reach the lip. It’s probably a 4, 5 or 6, but the thrill isn’t fully realized until you start back down!

jon ready for a spot...

Jill also shot video of Jon’s FA. Unfortunately, Jon’s send footage was overexposed due to my ignorance, but it’s here anyways (darkened a bit). Jon’s beta was a bit harder as I found a thin though flat crimp up and left of the sidepull that he used. Jill repeated the line using my crimp beta. As you can see, it was windy (I turned down the sound); that corridor acted like a wind tunnel. A tripod is a necessary accessory, as you will see. 😦 The problem is called Falling Up the Rabbit Hole, v5????.

after the first big move; start holds are just below jill's right hand


setting up the foot for the final crux move

key heel hook off an ok pinch

the calm before the thrill, jill getting ready to send

a casualty of over-stuffed pads. our avo turned into a moray eel head barfing.

about to start the "FA" descent climb

Next, we headed over to that area below the tumbling rainbow formation I mentioned here. After walking around and viewing our “masterpieces,” we noticed a few things left undone! 🙂 It was late, though, as we really wanted to tick the Hobbit Roof that had given us so much grief before. After eating our “barfing moray eel,” and other sundry morsels, we got to work on this odd line.

Why do we call this line the Hobbit Roof? Because a hobbit lives there:

we met this lit'l guy and tried an offering of white powder stuff, but he wasn't too psyched...

trying to be evasive as if WE don't know what's over his head!

still reticent to allow us onto his ceiling... (all three from 2009-03-27)

working a lower start with awesome potential. the line actually starts on those two chalked slopers.

here, jill is setting up to reach for the far end of the top where a horizontal (her right hand) continues around to create a discontinuous crack and sidepull/undercling--the exit.

We tried to exit directly over the bulge, but we’ll leave that for another day. The right exit is the natural line as Mike B. had pointed out previously, but it moves over a yucca that somehow had its tips removed. I suspect someone else has played on or sent this and blunted the yucca tips for safety. 😦 If someone has sent this roofish line, by all means, let me know so we can update this blog. What we plan on doing is working the sit as it’s the gem here.

the actual line can start one hold deeper in the cave.

Returning to the area in the first shot in this post, we scoped a canyon quite well known amongst rope climbers, but not much evidence of bouldering–Rattlesnake Canyon, Indian Cove. That first image is taken from an area about a few hundred meters past from where the mostly flat and sandy canyon begins. The initial hike involves mostly boulder hopping on quite polished stone. The potential is quite good too. We decided to take in all the obvious boulders cleaned by water erosion. We also walked past Kevin Daniels’ super stellar offwidth called the KD Boulder Crack. The rock in the area ranges from perfect to horrible and that image of Robert on what I called Angel Fingers is most likely rock that was downright horrific but has cleaned up incredibly well. It’s hard to pin point the exact area we climbed at, but I’d say when you walk past a huge shark fin shaped boulder, you’re there. 😉

the "shark fin" boulder in the background (from the ground it looks even more like it). here, rob is attempting to lock to a thin crimp, which became the beta to send.

This problem, called Root Canal, is given that because the warmup, to the right on the right face of the boulder in the sun, is called Sweet Tooth. Well, lets just say that that problem’s name really seems appropriate.

perfect stone on sharp and incut jug-like teeth. robert has a better shot so hopefully I'll get one to post

Back to Root Canal. The upper face was grainy, but also pretty intact. We also broke off things we didn’t think would break or crumble so much. We had our doubts, and we also almost walked away. The heel hook is big and it starts matched from that hold about full hand reach high or higher. There’s also a low start off a jug above a crack starting on the left arete to the climber’s left, but this is something we didn’t try.

crack start visible in the lower left. jon is almost set to reach for the high crimp.

an early attempt at dead-pointing to a bad dish

almost sent this way... I couldn't stabilize to reach my left up to the two bad holds, pinch or crimp.

frog (that sounded like a duck); christina caught in mid expression

kung fu foothold cleaning, i "scraped" that foothold some 6 or 8 times till I was a bit more confident.

finishing up in front of hikers (just below frame), btw, this canyon is popular on weekends.

The sequence I ended up using was quite precarious, but also the small crimps and pinches and dish had distinct nubbins breaking. It should be clean enough for more consistent sending. We probably spent maybe 15- tries each until a sequence was found or holds stable enough. It’s very technical and maybe v7 or harder???? We could have cleaned it on top-rope, but we didn’t.

jill trying without the heel hook beta

a big lock off, as the target handhold is horrible

my feeble attempt at a cool line. it's like 30+ feet tall, mostly slab


jill's version of the first move

a possible sequence

an overview shot with the start of the upper slab above her

grrrl power

no mas.

~ by r. mulligan on 2011/02/12.

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