Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Climbing and Flying

The last few days have been a blast, full of climbing and flying. Saturday Dan Hoffman and I headed to Blodgett Canyon for two days of climbing. We got on a route he established a few years prior which still needed some finishing touches. The plan was to climb the route, put chains on the last two anchors, and fix a line on the last pitch. The last pitch is a difficult one; 140ft of fingertip layback up a dihedral (5.12a/b). I was intimidated, but the pitch takes great gear, so I gave it a go. I was pleasantly surprised with my performance having hung on the rope only a couple of times. Dan and I installed the chains, fixed the rope, and rapped off.

Sunday, with the route all fixed, Dan and I headed back up to "mini-traction" the route. It was awesome. We barely had to carry any gear and were able to race up the route. It was a little spooky the first time because even though we knew the belay system would work, neither of us had ever tested it. On the last pitch I found out how well it worked when I blew the finishing moves of the route. The mini-traction locked up immediately. We rapped down and strolled out of the canyon stopping once for a dip in the creek.

Pitch 2

Pitch 1

Starting up the last two pitches

Monday I went to Sentinel with Ian for an afternoon flight which turned out to be uneventful. It was a blue sky with punchy thermals. I was able to low save over the LZ extending my flight, but eventually was forced to land.

Last night a crew of us headed to Alberton with hopes of an evening glass off. When we reached the launch, conditions looked great. I launched second and climbed out immediately. The lift wasn't incredible, but it was plenty to maintain above launch. As the evening came to an end, we glided out to the LZ where I had plenty of altitude to play with. I tried to get better acquainted with my new glider through a bunch of wing overs. It flies a bit different from my old wing so it will take a little getting used to before I'm really confident under it.


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