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Red Rock with Sam A. and Carly J.

December 3, 2011

Sixty feet out and I felt confident and in control. The 5.6 terrain offered me plenty of security, even if the sandstone was characteristically fragile. I was leading well. My gear was textbook when textbook-gear was possible, and creative in all other cases. But as I belayed off an exceptionally creative anchor I questioned whether or not I was actually leading well.

I moved over those 5.6 pitches as well as they could be moved over, but perhaps I was neglecting some of the most important aspects of leading. We were 300 feet off the deck and I was the only person with trad climbing experience. Is risking a catastrophic fall acceptable in those circumstances? Is it acceptable to belay someone on a sketchy anchor when they don’t fully understand just how sketchy sketchy-anchors are? It is easy to decide for myself that such a route as Lean Lady was within my sphere of acceptable risk, but had I decided to take my friends beyond their limits? Perhaps.

I belayed Carly to the top of the route just as the sunlight disappeared from the tops of the mountains to the east. However, my appreciation of the beauty was cut short by a personal emergency. Carly belayed Sam while I tried to decide whether or not juniper branches were better suited for ass-wiping than rocks. In the end I tried both, and neither worked well.

It was dark when we started our descent. Sam ran ahead while I stayed back with Carly. We walked and downclimbed slowly, and had much time to reflect on how much we loved this sport.

 

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

 

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

 

By Carly J.

By Jacob B.

By Jacob B.

By Sam A.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 4, 2011 8:23 am

    Amazing trip!

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