Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sawtooths Crest Traverse (the one in CA) - Part 2: The Sawblade

“It’s a lost, or it’s kind of an ignored idea, the idea of magnificent failure rather than a mediocre success.”- Peter Croft

Traversing Blacksmith Peak on Day 1 was quite enjoyable... clean, mostly solid granite with easy raps.   All Type I fun.  I'm intending to scale one of the routes on Blacksmith peak and keep traversing across to Glacier Col and loop back to the car in a day.  We were hoping that the rock quality would continue...


The next morning we quickly finished our morning ritual of eating brekky, dropping a #2, and gearing up.  After scrambling up the Cleaver we were reading the summit log wishing we had brought a pen with us.


Many sections of old school "3rd class"... which looks like this. At times a bit intimidating, but the holds are there and after dissecting it into one or two move sequences it becomes quite manageable.  With the rope in my bag, and the rack in Nick's this was the fastest way to move.  

Other sections we pitched it out.  The route finding on this route is akin to soul searching.  You just go up whatever looks or feels good.  As Nick said, "I figure the holds will reveal themselves when I get up there..." and they did.  


Simul-climbing on the ridge.  LOTS of exposure...


If I had one pic to show what the traverse felt like, it'd be this one.  This shows the exposure on both sides of the ridge, the scenery, and shows what we were doing most of the day.  


There were so many quality sections of this traverse... including short features like this, which ended up being a beautiful splitter crack that we just ran out.  

A typical section of exposed 2nd/3rd class on the ridge.  

Summit of the Middle Teeth...


Summit block of the Doodad and the moon... as seen from the last tooth.  So close, but yet so far... there's a few more teeth between where I took the pic and where the block sits balanced probably just a few hundred yards away.  We were hoping to get past the Doodad and into Polemonium Col on day 2, but I need to brush up my scrambling skills and get in shape.  


Our last rap into the notch between the Three Teeth and the Doodad.  Before the climb we had debated taking my 60m tag line... in the end we were very happy to have taken Nick's 70m rope.  This last rap barely reached the ground with rope stretch.   


Soon we ditched the rope & the gear (stashed it on the cliffside so that the varmints won't chew up the rope).  And walked down 15 min to some flowing water and flatter ground.


Our bunk for the night... there was a small stream in the snowfield so we didn't have to melt water tonight... Another night of sleeping on Nick's backpack!  Weehaw!

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