Another FA Day on the Summit Ridge

Bruce Monroe made the long trip up today for another visit to the summit. By lunchtime, we were staring at the cliffs looming above the short ladder. I had climbed a nice route on one of the longer bits, and wanted to try a harder variation to start the day.
That went well, though the bottom was odd, and took longer than expected. We rigged a rappel and went down to look for another possibility. Bruce’s turn: he wandered eastward, ending up about 60′ right of Dividing Line, at a left-facing corner slanting left, with a thin shelf of rock at the bottom that made a good starting platform. We looked at it and thought “maybe 5.7.”
Bruce racked up and began leading the route. The first five feet went easily enough, then suddenly progress came to a halt. Standing below, I couldn’t figure out what Bruce’s problem was. It looked simple enough, just grab that hold there, stick your foot there, and budda-boom budda bing, done. It was dirty, perhaps that was the problem, but he certainly was struggling a lot more than seemed necessary.
Repeatedly, he tried the move, backed off or fell, returning to the ledge just over my head. “I can’t reach the next hold,” he would gasp, looking up above the bulge. It took awhile, but gradually he worked out the sequence, going from static attempts to dynamic lunges. Finally, he pieced it all together and pulled through, not gracefully, but free and successful at last. A short traverse led to an easy-looking exit onto lower-angled climbing out of sight. He called out “Off Belay” and it was my turn to show off my stuff.
Hopping up those first five feet was easy. Reaching up to that hold there was straightforward, pulling up and reaching for the next hold was…
Whoa.
I couldn’t do it. Shakily, I downclimbed to the ledge.
It took a lot of tries, and a lot of ups and downs. What had looked simple enough earlier turns out to be a bit harder than 5.7. More, in fact, like 5.10a. I had to lunge for that hold, had to lay off and rotate, bump the right up, bump the left to another hold, bump the right to a side pull, and finally find a stance. The traverse wasn’t bad, the face above pleasant enough, and a good belay tree stood at the top of it.
We had to recover our rap anchor, so I led one more route to get to the top, after traversing up and right off the top of Bruce’s Breathe Easy, the hardest find of the day, and a lead to be proud of. Crusty is barely worth mentioning, another short 5.6, but it adds to the route-count, and with a little scrubbing, might even be worth repeating some day.
After looking around at some of the other routes in the vicinity, we hiked down, just as a few scattered sprinkles began to fall. Once again, I realize I am so blessed to be living here at the base of this incredible mountain. Bruce had that long drive back to his home, but no doubt with a celebratory cup of coffee and the memory of a challenging FA day on Crane.

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One Response to “Another FA Day on the Summit Ridge”

  1. treeowner1 says:

    thanks for the pictures Hope you & Robin have a happy wedding anniversary !

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