Hey ya'lls! Just got back from Thanksgivukah, which consisted of a day in the backcountry, two desert towers, a splitter crack, slickrock, over-eating, old friends, bad weather, ear infections, stomach bugs, and driving.
So, let me tell you about something I did two weeks ago while I recuperate from this one.
Fairfield HillI've climbed in Sinks Canyon for years and yet have never made it back to Fairfield Hill. Until, that is, the middle of November. Saturday Dave and I met up and went out for some fun in a new area.
Fairfield feels different from most all of the climbs on the Main Wall. Slab seemed a common theme, though we found a few powerful flakes and cracks along the way too.
Also on display was the aftereffects of the Fairfield Fire from last summer. It made an old classic unclimbable, sadly.
We also met Bob Branscomb, one of the guys responsible for a lot of the routes that are up in the canyon.
- Treats - 9 *
- A thin, techy 9. Makes you work for it, really fun.
- Revenge of the Pygmy Sex God - 8 *
- With a name like that, how could we not climb it?
- Say Hello To Geronimo - 10b **(*)
- A super fun 10b with a great crux through a bulge with nice moves all the way along. Would do again, A+, etc etc.
- Sorta Maybe Kinda Wild - 10b ***
- Very cool, fun route that's pretty unique in Sinks Canyon. You climb up a corner crack and find the crux transitioning off the crack onto a flake, then traversing right and up some slab.
- Hand jams, laybacks, opposition climbing, and slab climbing all in one go. I can't really ask for more than that.
- Houses of the Holy / Second Helping - N/A
- These are some of the classics of the area. Sadly, a juniper burned hot and fierce right against the wall here during the Fairfield Fire of July. Everything I put a hand or foot on came off the wall, so we bailed.
- Not climbable for a while yet.
- Visualize Whirled Peas - 10b *
- It was the weekend of the 10b. I had a hard time on this tiny 35ft climb, but managed to keep going even after some really lousy moves that had me well off route.
- It started with some pockets that fooled me into thinking that was what I would be climbing on, but turned out to just be some very steep slab.
- Last Trip To Tulsa - 9+
- The guidebook has this as an 8. I wrote in it: "8 my ass!" The first bolt is hard, hard work to get. Both Dave and myself had an easier time on some of the 10s we climbed that weekend
- This guy shares anchors with Peas
- Have Mercy - 10c **
- Very fun, with some of the best slab for the weekend (I hope you've noticed the theme). Had a bouldery start, and one wouldn't go astray with a stick-clip here.
- Chainsaw Willy - 10d ***
- Amazing. My favorite climb at Fairfield thus far. You climb a left-leaning crack that has a two-or-three foot ledge over it the whole way. It starts out as jamming and laybacks and transitions to opposition climbing as the crack becomes more horizontal. After four or five heady bolts you surmount the bulge that followed you up the crack, and suddenly you're on incredibly balancy slab.
- You have to work for this guy. We both took a fall, but I can't wait to get back on Willy sometime soon.
Face Dancer WallSunday was more exploring, this time fulfilling my old dream of getting on Face Dancer Wall, characterized by strong, long, balanced climbs. Nothing but good stuff.
- Kamiakin - 10b **
- Stick clip, right by pillar, fun. Good warmup for Face Dancer
- No More Heroes - 10c *
- Hard right off the bat, made me feel strong. Put more weight on a mono than I ever have before.
- Run out in the easier bits, so I'd say it would be hard for the newer 10 climber. Inconsistent but enjoyable.
- Face Dancer - 11b ***
- I've been wanting to do this forever, glad Dave and I finally got on it. Absolutely fantabulous.
- It's a series of long, strong moves up sixty feet of sheer cliff, pulling pockets, gastoning, sidepulling, working for it. The last thirty feet has a lot more space between bolts and loses some of the classiness, but the start is so outrageously good I can look past it. Just, being pumped for that finish wasn't so fun.
So, yeah. A weekend of fun new climbs in my own backyard. Incredibly refreshing after having climbed the same 5.8 (I'm looking at you, Put Down Your Ducky) or what have you over and over and over again. A weekend that reminded me that there's still hundreds of climbs I haven't touched out here.