Jamie Sends Plumb Line Direct

Saturday, Jamie and Alysia drove over to my neighborhood for another assault on Jamie’s project: Plumb Line’s direct start. When first established, Plumb Line utilized the first moves on Parallel Passage to reach a good rail for traversing to the crack. The bottom twelve feet were just too difficult for us to protect and climb.

Plumb Line

Not the best picture, but the best I could dig up on short notice. Pink line shows the original route’s approach to the main crack; the yellow line incorporates the direct start.

That small stretch of unclimbed rock remained a compelling, unfinished project for Jamie over the past year and a half. Protection placement is difficult and deceptive, and every step becomes harder as one ascends. Unlikely throws to even less-likely holds add up to an intense, if brief, section of climbing, followed of course by the “standard” route’s own difficulties. Jamie wanted to send this straight-up line originally, but with the SAdkRF 2009 almost upon us, opted to concentrate on the more reasonable line.

He also wanted to keep the line “trad”. The crack offers protection, albeit very tricky to place and on the small side. Placing a bolt would have made the climbing much easier, but would also have taken from the aesthetics of the route as a whole.

While I was down in the Gunks, they hiked out to the BAW, and Jamie sent the entire direct line flawlessly. Tentatively, he grades it 5.11c R. I’ve TR’d the moves (not without falling a lot!), and that seems pretty accurate. The “R” rating derives from the protection’s potentially deceptive qualities: one blind nut placement can feel good and resist a solid tug, but pop in a fall, and if it does, the leader will bounce. That same nut can be placed securely, however.

Congratulations Jamie! Now, there are those other projects…

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