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Climbing Junkie Story #16 Hanging out on Hallet

• Hallet Peak has a difficult 800 foot North face. It became more difficult as I deliberately went off route via a finger crack passing a slow party . The finger crack was excellent, but soon disappeared and I found myself on a long blank face void of holds. On the face, I ran it out about 100 feet above my last good piece of protection before I had the opportunity to set another piece of protection. Here a fall would be twice two hundred plus the rope stretch and line slack.

• Did I mention I was too lazy to bring my rock shoes that day; why carry the extra weight on an easy climb with a long walk off? I used a lot of friction techniques with my boots and slowly made my way to a lone bucket hold. The only good hold on the entire blank wall rock pitch! I was probably sweating blood at this point. Leaving that bucket hold for a faint crack 15 feet away, hopefully this crack might make a descent belay anchor. This part of the climb was difficult and the rope was moving up very slowly for my second. So my partner wondering why the rope was moving so slowly yelled up to me: How is it going?

• It was not going well when he yelled to me at the exact wrong time, at the crux! I was trying to focus, I lost my cool and yelled back at 140dB: Shut Up! Then finding my way to the small crack, move by ninja move, I then nested a single stopper into the crack and made a hanging belay. What a relief! An anchor after such a long difficult run out!

• It is one of those times when you feel that up can’t go up and that you can’t go down that you get into trouble; big trouble. I had already learned that lesson well and without hesitation, I abandoned my only good hold to obtain the unobtainable anchor in the faint crack.

• To my complete surprise when my climbing partner climbed up, He complained: What the heck was that! I was so relieved to have reestablished the route, passed the slow guys, and to be off-belay with a good anchor. I just replied: Hey, you didn't have to lead it! It was quite a day.

• My partner finished off the next pitch in style. With the warmer afternoon weather, came water from the melting snow and ice above. It started dripping more and more as he finished his pitch. It made its way to our exit cracks and with everything wet, it became more difficult. Thankfully, I had the rope above me for that wet pitch. My climbing partner only had a few drops and ways able to climb that pitch in nearly ideal conditions.

• Lead by lead, my climbing partner and I took turns leading into the unknown above. With each lead, there came the gift of not knowing what the outcome would be. It was a great day for both of us and went back to our camp happy as could be. It was the only climb I can recall where I yelled out like that. But after all, he throw off my Grove!

  • Randy
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Washington State

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  • Uploaded on November 16, 2012
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    by Randy T (Randylikest…