Filling in Between the Lines

We’ve added a variation to the first pitch of Recuperation Boulevard. Two, actually; one a good alternative lead that ups the ante by one grade without greatly changing the protection level, the other a good TR option.

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Tom leads the 5.8 variation of Recuperation Boulevard (yellow). The green arrow shows the 5.10d TR move. 

It began last Saturday, while climbing with Tom. After a run up Recuperation Boulevard’s  standard line, we both thought a variation heading directly up the face above the casket-sized alcove might be possible, so we shifted the anchor to the right and began working the line. Both of us flailed away heartily at different ways to climb the steep face without success. I could see that it would be possible if we allowed the initial start up the flaring chimney, but excluding that option, we couldn’t manage the feat, and after torturing ourselves for an hour or so, let it go for awhile.

Monday came, with no calls to keep me busy, so I decided to risk a drenching and head out to the BAW. After a few hours’ work scrubbing and tidying up a winter’s worth of clutter, it still hadn’t rained, so I headed up Full Recovery. Rigging the rope at the top, I heard Tom’s halloo below. Rappelling down, we had a handy top rope set before I touched down at the bottom, so we began working the variation once more, and once more got shut down. I pulled the rope and we decided to give the easier method a shot on lead.

Tom set out, and without any real difficulty, reached the anchor. His lead adds a nice 5.8 option to the route, and of course, gave us one more chance to find a solution to that lower bit.  This time, Tom switched feet on the key hold and pulled off the move, albeit barely. It looked way too stretchy for me to manage (Tom is 6’1″, I’m 5’5″). On my turn, I flailed away at an intricate set of crimp and bump moves, and after awhile, thought it might go in one shot, but no amount of trying could link all those tenuous moves. I finally took a lesson from Tom’s playbook, and managed to emulate his line. At 5.10c or d, it’s a strenuous, tenuous move, but it goes, at least on TR. Without contriving protection via the regular line before tackling the move, a fall would result in one’s back would hitting that alcove, so we deemed it better to remain a TR variation.

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