Should really read the guidebook

April 19, 2005 at 8:33 pm (Climbing)

Took advantage of Sunday’s amazing weather by heading out to a cliff near Morin Heights with a friend to climb a route we had seen the week earlier. Back then, I had seen two guys climbing it, and one fellow seemed to have a hard time at a specific section. Well, that and he was heading toward a pigeon’s nest. My friend and I believed it was a moderate route, just a straightforward early season climb.
So, we gear up and my friend starts out. Gets to the same section and has the same devil of a time. From down where I am, it looks simple enough, so I’m thinking that I’ll dance through it by the time I get there.
Wrong.
It was hard. And this was the beginning of a long day. We stopped in a notch on the wall, sitting behind an unstable rock flake. And, because another team of climbers crossed over above us to climb the rest of the route, we were stuck in that spot for about two hours. In the sun, with (as seems to happen with me) no water, no food and, um, no way to relieve ourselves.
We finally get the chance to continue climbing, my partner heads up, and has an even more difficult time. By now, I’m fed up. I’m thinking, “screw this, we’ll rappel down as soon as possible. My friend gets to the second ledge (another scary flake) after much struggling, and calls me to follow. He also mentions that, “Oh, btw, that really great hold? Don’t use it, it’s about to break off.” Dammit. Struggle, struggle, pull myself over.
“I want down,” I’m bitching. No go, he convinces me that the last two parts are easy, and that we’re finally on the route we meant to climb originally, because it seems that we’re on a route a few levels harder than we’re used to climbing. We’re idiots.
He goes off, finishes the rest of the climb, I’m turning lobster red in the sun. I head off, and get to this whole section of the wall that’s dusty white. With pigeon shit. Everywhere.
Regardless, we finish the climb, rappel down, pack up and head back to car. Luckily, I remembered seeing some stalagmatic icicles the week before, so hike over and, sweet, they’re still there, though melting. Break one off, it tasted soooo good.

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