I’m a little late getting to the trip report but as always said, better late then never. 2 weekends ago now, 5/1-2, Rob Sharpe and I headed out to the valley for a weekend of “hard” cracks.
The plan was to get me on some classics at the Cookie Cliff. Land of hard, steep, perfect cracks.
Rob eyein’ the Cookie from the ground.
The Cookie! With Butterfingers as the left noticable crack and Wheat Thin on the right.
In order to get to the ledge that Wheat Thin starts on, we climbed Bev’s Tower. A great .10a that is as hard as it looks. Small cams and jams get you through the first .10a crux in a big arching corner. As the corner steepens the second crux hits ya as you negotiate the moves to pull a small roof like feature. As I was hanging from the lip, I looked down to see my last piece of gear; a red alien on a runner. About 10 feet below me and about 6 feet above the arch. I was facing decking onto the arch if I blew these moves. That excitement got me over the lip and I was very stoked to find a bolted anchor just up and to the right after the lip. I slapped a draw on the bolt and kept going to the big ledge.
Chillin’ on the ledge, you start to get a feeling for how steep this cliff really is. It’s an amazing location and the views are amazing. I also got to watch (blew my onsight chance) another party climb Wheat Thin as I brought up Rob. Dude cruised the classic rap bolted flake. His buddy had some problems on the crux but got through it.
Strong dude cruisin’ the crux of Wheat Thin, 5.10c.
The belay chains for Bev’s Tower are on a huge ledge to the left of the main ledge below our objective. Rob lead a traverse over to the other ledge and I followed with a tension traverse for the soul reason of I had never done one before. At this point I knew the cliff was steep, but now I also knew it was way exposed. And did I mention steep?
Rob crawling onto the main ledge.
So after getting set-up I decided that I wasn’t psyched on climbing Wheat Thin. From afar it doesn’t look to bad, but when your standing underneath it on the sharp end, it’s scary as hell. After pouting and staring at Rob with eyes as if I had just seen a ghost, I decided that if I didn’t go for it now that I wasn’t going to at all. So I said screw it. Lets do this. I started up the thin lieback edges, plugging in a great yellow alien. Then the crux came and went. That wasn’t so bad I thought as I clipped the first bolt and gained the huge detached flake that makes up the last 50-60 feet of the route. 5 bolts later, I’m pumped but feeling solid. The strong dude from earlier was at the anchors and had just gotten down from Butterballs which he ended up french freeing. He and I started talking and I gave him a congrats on his lead of Wheat Thin. “You were so solid dude,” I say. “This thing is freakin’ pumpy!” “Hell ya,” he says. At this point I’m two moves away from eh jugs and the traverse to the anchors. Fully pumped. I hike a high foot up and off into space I go flying. Then SLAM!! I smack the wall right on my hip. After yells of excitement, I realize my hip really hurts. So I climb back up to my high point, chill for a sec then finish up the pitch with another take right before the traverse. I bring Rob up, whos swearin’ about the easy sections not being so easy anymore. After a few takes (we’re huge punts by this point) we’re both at the anchors looking down on the disco party forming on the not so disco ledge below us.
Instead of setting a TR on Butterfingers, which was the plan, we decide to instead head back to the ground. After a few raps I’m standing on flat ground only to find that standing is hard and climbing is easier. Great. There goes the rest of the trip.
I wanted to keep climbing but didn’t feel like cranking so we went over to the Manure Pile and ran a quick lap on After Six meeting some cool dudes on the top. Then it was off to El Cap Meadow for the El Cap Lieback.
We spent the night at our spot, and I was totally convinced that climbing the next day was going to be out the question. Thankfully I slept well do to the 2 brandy and cokes I had. The next morning I woke up able to walk a little better but still not really psyched for anything we had planned.
After a warm up lap and sweet final 2 pitch variation to After Six, we found ourselves doing the El Cap Lieback again. Still not sure if climbing was completely out of the plans. I hadn’t been close to the Cap before so we walked to the base of the pedestal that The Nose starts on. Wow that line looks perfect. We watched a few teams work through various pitches and talked about how we would do it when the time comes. After about an hour I wanted to climb again.
We cruised over to the Highway Staff Bluff and I ran six laps on those awesome routes. If you haven’t been over there yet I would suggest you get on it. Cool little chill spot with great moves.
After lappin’ we called it a day and headed back down the hill.
Dudes on the Nabisco Wall, Cookie Cliff. Look close and you’ll see duder at the top of Lady Fingers.