Opening Day on Crane

Yeah, I’ve been out rockclimbing for awhile, several places as well as here on Crane Mountain. But Saturday’s predicted weather brought the first collective climbing trip of the 2012 season here, making it official.

The crowd at the Measles Wall, early in the morning.

The day didn’t start off as nicely as the forecast earlier in the week had predicted. Friday’s soaking rain had lasted well into the afternoon, and after it stopped, the sky didn’t clear. It was in fact, foggy, damp, and chilly when I made my way up to the parking lot, a few seconds ahead of everyone else. Mike Prince and Cheryl Goodsell were right behind me, Matt Hagar pulled in as I sorted gear, Garth Briscoe pulled in and Robin came up to join me before I had begun walking. We all reached the Upper Measles Wall at about the same time. I commenced replacing last year’s anchors while Mike, Matt, and Garth helped. We strung ropes over both Cat Scratch Fever and Hydrophobia, then descended to the base for some serious top-roping.

Garth tries his hand (futilely: it’s all in the feet) at Cat Scratch Fever

With the festivities at the Measles Wall well underway, Tom and I headed toward the Black Arches Wall. I intended to scurry out and set a TR on Black Arch Arête, but a look at the Amphitheatre detoured us into a run up the face right of Amphitheatre Crack. There are two routes here: Broken Broom and Pinch an Inch; both had wet spots, but we were able to stay on dry rock by starting on the former then shifting to the latter.

Cookie break before heading up Broken Broom/Pinch an Inch.

Man, does this look like a poster shot!

Jamie and Alysia arrived, having climbed the first pitch of Stairway to Heaven. Jamie liked the look of our line, and wanted to lead it, so we pulled our rope off to the side and went to take care of our original errand. It was tough getting around the cliff’s north end, because there was still ice in the shaded gullies that the walk-up utilizes, but I managed the feat without falling off the mountain. (Shortly after doing this, Robin had to head out, which is why the pictures cease)

The clouds had finally dissipated by the time we began top-roping the area’s premiere line. Both Tom and Garth took a run on Black Arch Arête, then Jamie came over and we swung the rope left to work on his project. Both he and I took runs on what will be another stellar route – once we’re able to send it. With two 5.11 moves, four 5.10 moves, and very little easier than 5.8, this is a tough line to lead. There are a few good rests punctuating the pumpiest stuff, but it is 120′ of strenuous climbing.

I gave Tom a belay up to recover his rope from the Amphitheatre, then he headed homeward. By now, it was Jamie, Alysia, their dog Maggie, and me. They climbed on the Isobuttress while I relaxed with Maggie, then we all headed out, stopping only to chat for a few minutes with folks camping near the Measles Walls.

Statistics for the Day
Total present: 11 (plus 2 dogs)
Routes climbed: 10
Ratings spread: 5.4 to 5.11a

A big THANK YOU to Robin for the excellent pictures!

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