Sunday, September 16, 2012


the Cirque!

 Saturday Annie and I decided we needed to experience the Cirque before the season ended, and with no water up there and a lack of time off, the only solution was to do it IAD. Jacobs Ladder is still horrendous even without all your overnight gear. We left the parking lot at 6:15 along with a busy congo  line of day hikers. We managed to arrive 3 hours later at the mouth ready to hop on Hyperform, a 3 pitch 10a on the wall of identical name. It was stellar. First pitch is a 10a corner, mostly hands/wide hands for a full 200 feet. I only pulled up about 20 feet of rope with our 70m to belay Annie up. A couple OW pods offered short difficulties. Only the Triple O pitch is of higher quality. Pitch 2 was a short chimney to fun thin finger locks in a corner then a cruxy horizontal hand traverse with no feet. Felt close to whipping here. Pitch 3 was #3-#4 camalot size crack through a roof, then stacked loose blocks to the top. My 2nd favorite route in the Cirque! (#1 vertical overhangs). Bomber ledges, great gear, some tricky technical, some wide, and lots of hands, hands, hands.
Hyperform 1st pitch corner

The 10a corner. about as good as it gets in the Cirque

Annie coming up pitch 2 chimney before crux traverse

Fun wide crack

We then set our sights on Out of the Question, a 3 pitch 10b just to the right of the Lowe Route on QMW, that is basically a harder version of that route. I set off on pitch 1 which starts behind a fun thin hands flake, then widens to OW. I clipped a fixed pin then did a fun sporty traverse over to a corner. I placed a green c3 in a weird thin crack, having a blast, and ventured upward hoping for better gear. 10 feet above green boy, with the old pin 15 feet below that, I began to find myself  not having fun anymore. I was not confident in either of those pieces, and could not see solid gear for another 5-10 feet with a hard lieback move awaiting me.I pumped out on these two crimpy flakes with my back in the corner, assessing my options. Dang Lone Peak. My minor elevation headache soon blossomed to a full on stress migraine. I couldn't commit. I downclimbed back to the green c3. There was a fixed rope just off to the right anchored to another route that I managed to grab and I rapped off. I felt stupid and bummed out that I wouldn't commit, but also realized climbing is supposed to be fun. If you are more stressed than excited, maybe that route isn't for you. Moral of story: if you need someone to punch it through a short R section, don't invite me. I can onsight 12a sport jugfest, but thin 10b R trad is my nemesis.

Hiked out in 2:15 in time to watch the most bizarre Utah/BYU game in history. My Aggies almost pulled off another big time upset of Wisconsin but managed to blow it again just like last year against Auburn.


  1. Very nice Spencer!! I was on the other side just Friday on Big Willow. What a weekend.