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maculated


Mar 29, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Croaking in Frogland
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Croaking in Frogland
maculated's TR on yet another epic of fun

Months ahead of time, I made the commitment to join everyone down in Las Vegas for the Red Rocks Rendezvous. I've travelled all over the west looking for the choice climbing spots, but nothing gets me as excited as a nun in a white habit on a summer's day as Red Rocks sandstone. Perhaps it is the the fond memories associated with it, capering about the slick black and red stone, perhaps it is the quality of climbs I've enjoyed under the advice of the locals, or perhaps I just like rock with little brown dots in it. I mean, maculated rock! The place is my own.

Once committed, my beloved partner ArtM calls me on a multipitch. We've only done the standard trad-cragging of Joshua Tree and the sport-weenie sending in Bishop thus far, and there's nothing I'd like more than Jackie Chan's twin swapping leads with me.

Ah yes, but then you forget, gentle reader, that in Bishop, strong-willed maculated wrestled herself up a 5.11 side-pull-sloper-roof problem in Owens River Gorge that made her shoulder go: rrrrrrrrrip! TINGLE! TINGLE! and maculated shout, "YOWCH!"

This being the first day of the Bishop trip, poor stupid little maculated still went ice climbing the second day, and attempted to climb the third, but backed off after furthering the tingling-yowching sensation.

And then she forced herself into a month rest. You see, the tearing of the supraspinatus is a tasty one. It renders towntrodden maculated unable to climb, run, surf, or even bike for long periods of time. Thus, she spent the month getting fat and sassy and waiting for the shoulder to heal.

not wishing to string Art along like the Evil Tease she is, maculated remains constant to her commitment of multi-pitch with the illustrious ArtM.

Arriving on Friday to the Red Rock Rendezvous, maculated commences to get schnockered on free Fat Tire ale (important pre-climbing regimen required heavy consumption of fermented hops, ask any trainer) and wander about the site hugging liberally the likes of friends and strangers equally. When maculated is drunk she (a) is completely stupid and (b) loves EVERYBODY! I was a little bit worried about appearing to be a complete ass while drunk and meeting new people, so I eased off, and by the time everyone showed up, I was sober again! Wee!

When the slideshow started up, I settled in and began to feel immensly sorry for myself. I mean, my life is just not extreme enough! While my average couch-potato friends' jaws drop when I talk about my vacations, other climbers bat not an eye, and here's a guy doing a first ascent of a remote cliff in South America, his arms up to his shoulders in mud. THAT'S ADVENTURE! With no food! THAT'S SUSPENSE! Making their guides climb it for them! THAT'S WEIRD! THAT'S WHAT MACULATED WANTS!! She wants to be an EXTREME Mountain-Dew chugging, X-Terra driving, Credit-card waving ADVENTURER!! But what do I do? Nothing spectacular. I hang my head in shame.

Later that night we all join up at a bar in Vegas and I lament to Art about my distinct lack of adventure in my life. Which is not to say I am whining. Man, my life is great. It took me twenty-something years to figure it out, but I'm here. Yay me. A twenty-something with it all figured out. Hey! Don't laugh! I said don't laugh!

We talk about teaming up with Joe and climbing something fun, but they start talking about doing some 10 routes and I keep mum. I'll follow whatever, but there's a reason my ascenders and aiders are in the car. Just in case my arm blows, I'm planning on jugging up the route we go on. A little bell goes off in my head about the fun fun fun of Triassic Sands, but my arm twitches a little bit. As much as I hate to do it, I veto TS and vote for Frogland. 5.8? Surely I'll have no problems running up that. We'll be up and off in no time flat and I'll have a great multi-pitch route ticked off.

I spend the night in a bed with Climbs4Fun and her mom comes in to wake us at 5 am. I am utterly shocked when my dear partner ArtM is awake and actually talking (waking him up in the morning is like poking a hedgehog - if you've ever done it, you know what I'm talking about - already kind of spiny, but you poke and the spikes stick out and it goes "Grrrrrr!"). We load up the car with gear and also with my new roommate Daisuke (fresh from Chile) and Joe, who will be doing TS and some other routes while we ascend the land of Froggies.

I've never been to Black Velvet Canyon before, but apparently Art and Joe have so we are cruising along the road with guidebook in hand, but both of the guys are guessing which turnout it is. Now, I drive a Subaru Impreza outback, so when we start really offroading like we're sailing the high seas, I can handle that. The first road leads to a 50% incline that I refuse to send my car down. The second leads into a severe desert pinstriping situation. The guys get out of the car and try to direct me backward without hitting a rock and send me flailing into a bush instead.

That's when the uncanny common sense of maculated kicks in. "Get in!" I say. "Shut up!" I turn to Joe, who is in the passenger seat, and say, "Watch the magic."

In five minutes we're turned around properly and headed back out to the main road. I snatch the guidebook from Daisuke's hands and read out loud:

"Look for an obvious dirt road and cattle gaurd on your right. You'll be heading north. If you pass mile marker 16 you've gone too far."

I turn back to the guys, "Okay folks, did anyone notice that NOT one of these roads is heading North?? Isn't that KEY?"

We get back out to the road, I make audible note that we've passed 16 quite a while ago, and make a U Turn. In five minutes we're back on track. We arrive at the trailhead at 9:30 or so after waking up at 5 am. The gross inefficiency of this is not lost on me. But, like a good woman, I keep my mouth shut. Guys hate it when you point out your obvious superiority. I did manage to fit in a few, "What would you all do without me, seriously?"

So, it's now half-past 9 and probably 200 degrees out. ArtM feels that chugging a half-gallon of water will help with the dehydration problem, whereas I train myself by not bringing water on hikes, approaches, or runs. While he drinks, the other two leave us in the dust. We start cruising up the hill and Art admits to a few water-logged cramps.

I gamely wait for him, seeing as he is old as the hills, a cancer-stick-sucker, and has ingested a huge quantity of water. As we begin the ascent, he begins to ask for rest stops, and halfway up the hill, let us just say that Art watered the cacti.

This is really shaping up well in terms of omens, isn't it? I think so.

There's only one other obvious party ahead of us, and they are well up the wall by now. Provided the arm says its okay, Art will lead the first pitch and we'll start swapping after that.

The first pitch goes off pretty well, but the first jam sends my arm into fits of profanity. I am forcing myself up by doing all sorts of weird, un-called-for moves. I get to the top, "Geez, that was pretty fun, but my arm's effed, maybe next time?" Famous last words.

Art hops on the second pitch and when I hear him yell "Off belay" I get ready to climb. But no rope comes up. Hmm. I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally he calls me up after a half hour. After another fun pitch that was easy on the arm except for the last bit, we join the second party, or what's left of it. He's sitting gamely, listening to our innane banter and my constant self-depreciation about being a big wussie who can't lead. Finally he takes off.

Art and I hang out on this ledge for another good half hour or so. Someone's spilled a huge pile of chalk, so I begin writing positive thoughts on the rock. My inner hippy comes out and I'm slightly ashamed. But perhaps the next party will appreciate it:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...n=Show&PhotoID=28718

Finally he skitters up it and i wait. And wait. And wait. Another half hour passes, and i'm finally up on the next ledge. This one is a big, big ledge. Third pitch is more or less the crux because of this scary face traverse. We wait for a half hour or so. I look at my watch: "12:30, not too bad," I remark.

Art finally gets on lead and runs it out because, well, you have to. He fools around up top, has two pieces in, adds a third and realizes his plan is going to fail. Must try the face traverse. He looks down at me and says, "Well, I guess you'll have to unclip this and traverse out or something, sorry." No worries.

Before he gets on the face he says, "Okay, well, if I miss this, I'm going for a long ride, and my pieces aren't that great."

Oh boy. He tells this to a gal who runs rescue scenarios through her head when things get slow. I start getting nervous for him but keep it quiet. Art ventures out onto the face. He makes some grunting noises, things start shaking, and he goes, "Okay, here goes . . . "

I tense up. I imagine the sound his unhelmeted head is going to make when it smashes into the rock like Gallagher to a watermelon.

He reaches left, grunts, things look shaky . . . he jams his fingers intot he crack, his feet slide, and he's about to . . . AND LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! HE STICKS IT!! GOOOOOOOAAAAALLL!!

The scared silences stops and I sent a whoop of joy into the heavens. My hands are all sweaty. He goes, "Woah, woah! That was a 5.10 move, no way that was 5.8." I'm sending good vibes up the rope along with good vibrations, the sympathetic adrendaline coursing through my veins.

Oh great, but we've started too early. Art's gotta chill on a ledge while the second party finishes up. So I wait. And wait, and wait. I watch passing climbers in the gulley stop and picnic. I try to pick out Joe and Daisuke. I take pictures of my feet. I take pictures of me bored: http://www.rockclimbing.com/...n=Show&PhotoID=28716. I close my eyes. Finally Art calls down that he's ready to go. The climb goes off without a hitch. I'm ready to start up, but I can hear him talking to that other party. I lie out on the ledge. I watch the shade creep up about the rocks. I guess how long it will take for the shade to touch the next rock. I take a nap. I wake up, "Art? You still there?" He says, "Yup." I close my eyes again and really nap. TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER, I'm up again and moving.

I get to the traversy part and while it is heady, I can see that his pieces were not that far off, were solid, and the traverse was easy. I call up, "You wussy! That was so totally a 5.8 move!!!" Gotta keep spirits high, after all.
It was cold on that ledge and now my shoulder's really suffering. I say nothing, but admit to no lead.

The rest of the c limb we do as fast as possible. Now that we have to beat the clock, it becomes less fun and more task. If the last few ptiches were good ones, I can't remember it. Art has had to set up an intermediate belay as we linked two pitches but the other party is at the other belay. He skitters up to the big chockstone chimney, has a smoke, and belays me up. Finally we're on the top. I check my watch: 5:30. Gotta get a move on and now.

I look to the parking lot and see joe and Daisuke standing there. I feel really bad. We look at the top. The beta said to head left and then right to follow the cairns. We do that, happy to have topped out, but Art admits he's pretty worked from the heat of the day or something. I'm happily skipping along the trail until we lose it. We look around. Hmm.

We look around. Hmm.

We look around.

Crap. The days of Stately Pleasure Dome descents come flooding back (after climbing four routes on that sucker, I still don't know the most efficient way down yet). I shift into Girl Scout mode and start making judicious decisions about down climbing. I ask Art his opinion and get nothing (he's tired), so I plug onward. The darkness is falling.

All I really want to do at this point is sit down and hang out for a bit of soul lifting, but time's of the essence, the more daylight we have the better, and we have the other two stranded outside my car. Sigh.

Downclimb fifth class, find a route, downclimb fifth class, find a dirt route . . . it goes like this for a while. I'm tired, Art admits he can't think so I just keep pressing onward, frustrated, in pain (we both have our rock shoes on), tired, and dehydrated.

After at least an hour, darkness has fallen and we get out our headlamps (yes, I have learned! I have learned!) We've finally reached the gully floor and things are going well. I'm marvelling about how there always seems to be a way down. I begin whining about this stupid descent and Art quips, "Well, you wanted adventure." I grumble about the day and Art turns on the charm, "Well, I'm having a good time, I mean, I get to epic with KMac!" Uh huh.

RESPECTABLE ADVENTURE, PEOPLE! Not adventure at the hands of slow, newbie parties!! We should have passed! We should have passed!

The final crux of the descent comes when we come to a big drop off at the gully. I look over, "Woah. Not down climbing that." I get up on the arete of the block, "Not down climbing that, either." Rap time. We set up a rappel and I look at him and go, "Watch, it's like 4 feet down." I drop the rope. It is. Or more like 7. Something we could have jumped. Headlamp perception is skewed, I guess.

Anyway, we figure it's already set up, might as well rap. We rap the seven feet, leaving a sling behind as testament to whomever comes along to laugh at the gumbies who rapped off the tiny drop off.

I'm still worried about Daisuke and Joe who are out there, probably cold and freezing. Since Art is not thinking clearly, I suggest we leave our stuff at the base and go back and get it in the morning. he doesn't want to as his pack and keys are there, whereas only my shoes are missing and I have no problem being barefoot. because I am a huge tool I agree to go back and look for the stuff at the base if he goes back and gets the other party warmed and fed. I give him the keys and start scrambling up Whiskey Peak's base.

I follow the rock for a ways and look up, trying to recognize the formations in the dark. Not such an easy task. I come across familliar ground, but it yields nothing. Zig zagging back and forth I bash myself into trees and rocks, and at one point slam my toe so hard I think I broke it (I didn't). I'm crashing through the brush trying to find that damn route and my shoes to no avail. After an hour of canvassing the base I decide that Art will just have to deal and we'll come back tomorrow.

Walking down the trail, I feel this huge surge of self-pity. In every epic I've had thus far, I've always been the one that had to take charge. Just once, I whine to myself, I'd like to have a girly role. I want a guy to take care of me and tell ME what to do in dire straits. Wah.

Then I whine about that other party: "What inconsiderate pricks! They made us wait on what probably would have taken 2 hours to do top to bottom, and we totally would have found that trail! If those people are at Red Rock Rendezvous, I will kick their ass. They owe me something!"

Then I just whine. "Why the hell am I even climbing? I mean, this whole epic thing is nothing new, my body hates me and tells me not to climb, and I'm not even very good. The guys at the bouldering gym think I'm some kind of joke . . . what's the point? I give up. This is no fun."

Then I decide I just want to have myself a good cry. I used to be a crier. Not so much anymore. Maybe it's the passing of time or the crusty exterior I've built for myself, but it's way easier to get mad than just release for me in times like this. I try to cry. I make whiny noises.

This, by the way, is only allowable without anyone else around. It would go against my whole "image" if I turned into a whiny girlie girl.

So then I get my self-pity under control and realize that none of this is going to get me off the trail, in the car, and into bed. I've already missed the slideshow at RRR, probably the free beer, probably the food, and probably my friends. Everything I looked forward to about the weekend, spoiled!

But screw it, sez I. I baked this cake, I'm eating it. I'm building character, I got to excercise a lot of skills i've learned over time, and no one got hurt. I'll make a good guide one day with all this experience, I tell myself. I promise myself, as I always do, that there's no point in bringing other people down, I might as well bring myself up.

By the time I get down to the car and the waiting men, I'm whistling "McNamara's Band" and happy to be with friends. So the slideshow was over, my feet were cold, covered in blood blisters, and I was tired, but the beer was still flowing and the fajitas were still lukewarm.
I can't wait for my next multipitch adventure.


ambler


Mar 29, 2004, 11:43 AM
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Hey, that was a fun read. Good story, you do epics well. 8)


vegastradguy


Mar 29, 2004, 12:09 PM
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lol, yeah...Froglands. We had that same problem when we did it last time. Of course, the reason i couldnt climb to belay was because the second of the party ahead of us was trailing the line and had it neatly coiled at the only friggin' stance. i hated her.

its sad that you dont remember the pitch after the traverse, since that's the money pitch. such is life. :)

its a good climb, and that traverse is sorta not 5.8. supposedly the original route traversed down below and then climbed up, but theres no pro, so if you pop, you're gone. rumor has it that the traverse that everyone does these days is actually .10a...it's probably more like 5.9, tho. If you're short, it's harder. heh.

good story, btw...epic'ing on froglands is a must-do for every traddie who comes to RR. now that you have that under your belt you can start doing all the good, fun, non-epic climbs! :P


pirateclimber


Mar 29, 2004, 12:37 PM
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Your TR has been awarded the status of E2. Congratulations!


ricardol


Mar 29, 2004, 1:02 PM
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taha! ..

we had the SAME thing happen to us ..

started climbing at 2:30 pm .. topped out at 6:30 pm .. no water, no headlamps, no descent description.

took the wrong gully .. ended up bushwhacking and doing 5th class downclimbing .. at dusk! ..

got back to the car in the dark!

.. i wonder how many people get lost on that descent every year! ..

-- ricardo


climbsomething


Mar 29, 2004, 1:40 PM
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I am not finding a single "fie" in here. Are you feeling okay, Kristen? :)


shakylegs


Mar 29, 2004, 2:10 PM
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What is it about Frogland that leads to epics? Not me personally (haven't been on it yet), but everyone I know who's climbed it has epic'ed it.
Sorry, mac, you're not an original. Sigh.


shogun


Mar 29, 2004, 2:32 PM
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nice TR mac...

i feel somewhat cheated. fargoan and I went up on frogland and didn't epic. we did have to endure the hanging out and waiting for the parties ahead of us... another party was following us... got to know them pretty well. i stuffed everything in my backpack and carried it up with me... it was fun trying to get up the chimney... had to pass the pack. that made for an interesting pitch. worth the effort though, saved us about 45 minutes, eliminating the hike back to the base of the climb.

-shogun


maculated


Mar 29, 2004, 2:44 PM
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FIE!! You're right! There were no FIE moments!!! I think I've been doing too much zen meditation and my "FIE" didn't come out this time. I'll fix this next time, i promise.


kalcario


Mar 29, 2004, 3:12 PM
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Folks reading this thread might get the impression that this route is an undertaking of Eiger-esque proportions...It is a 5 pitch 5.8 that I did with a complete beginner in 3 hours car to car, yes there were gumbys all over it but there are many different ways to pass slower parties and the descent is a straight visual line back to the car, 1/2 an hour at most, these tales of sitting at a belay for two and a half hours are laughable, this thread belongs in the beginner forum


ambler


Mar 29, 2004, 3:24 PM
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In reply to:
Folks reading this thread might get the impression that this route is an undertaking of Eiger-esque proportions...It is a 5 pitch 5.8 that I did with a complete beginner in 3 hours car to car, yes there were gumbys all over it but there are many different ways to pass slower parties and the descent is a straight visual line back to the car, 1/2 an hour at most, these tales of sitting at a belay for two and a half hours are laughable, this thread belongs in the beginner forum
A whole cactus? That must hurt!


g
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Mar 29, 2004, 3:35 PM
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No epic here either when I did it the following day. No food (excluding the Cliff Bar that my partner brought along to fumble on the second pitch), no water, just moving, and passing one slower party. The route does get alot of traffic, and it can slow you down. It is pretty common to get stuck behind other parties at Red Rocks. The best defense is to be willing to change plans. Besides there are so many great routes in there!

Sorry about the little epic. Take comfort in the fact that there were a few that weekend. I look forward to seeing you again, and climbing with you again.

g


jv


Mar 29, 2004, 6:52 PM
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One of Inez's favorite routes. sigh . . .

Epics can be fun, especially in retrospect. A good read. I like your perspective.

JV


climbs4fun
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Mar 29, 2004, 9:19 PM
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Awesome TR Mac. I love that route!!!! Sorry, no epic for me either. We were the only ones on it since we were dumb enough to do it right before Christmas. The smart climbers were in the sun! :wink: brrrrrrrrr


Partner holdplease2


Apr 1, 2004, 11:12 PM
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Hey Kristen:

Thanks for writing that report! I have been on frogland 3x now and never topped out, thanks to slow parties ahead (2x) and the "double rope debacle" which I won't get into now...

Since I got to live the summit vicariously through you, I don't have to go back! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

:)

-Kate.


marsh604


Jul 8, 2004, 3:16 PM
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Hey Mac, were you on Frogland on Saturday of that weekend?

If so, I was about 2 or 3 parties ahead of you! Nice climb, though we descended the wrong gully which was pretty fun :P Thankfully there was lots of fixed gear and stuff to rap off of.

We climbed Dark Shadows on Sunday... real nice 3 pitch with good exposure, and SHADE. ahhh... I wish I was there now instead of working in the office, summer heat be damned!

We weren't the ones slowing you down BTW... at least I hope not :?


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