Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Little School After Work

Beautiful LCC

A goal of mine ever since my good friend Court texted me one day mid-summer as he was alone, jobless, and climbing all the time saying he had soloed Schoolroom, was to match that accomplishment. He had done it with a rope and harness on his back as the general descent is down the so named Schoolroom rappels. Who wants to solo with a rope and harness? That defeats the whole fun of soloing. So my desire to solo the SR died for a time, until about 2 weeks ago when I found myself watching BD poster boy Ari Menitov solo SR then downclimb into the Green A gully via a very easy 5th class blocky chimney. Holy Smokes Batman! He pointed out the line to access the chimney, and ever since I haven't been able to convince myself soloing the thing was a bad idea. So after psyching myself up by watching "alone on the wall" a few times I set off after work with my wife's blessing in hopes of an uneventful solo.

Schoolroom is easy. Its 5.6, 4 pitches, and gets 3 stars in the Ruckman guide. However, it is not to   be underestimated. It provides a variety of climbing styles, from hand cracks, to finger cracks, to chimney/offwidth, to slab traverse, all rated accurately at LCC 5.6. I have climbed it a number of times, but not this year. I was a little antsy at first as I couldn't remember exactly how the traverse was on pitch 3. I started up pitch 1 about 6 pm, opting for the original 5.6 start versus the 5.7R start where a sketchy mantle is required despite the gorgeous finger crack appeal. All went well through the first 2 pitches as secure jamming abounded. Pitch 3's OW felt as secure as a chimney can, then the traverse came. Its all there, but thin and no hand jams. I slowly made my way across it without incident, though it was definitely the mental crux. I had never climbed the 4th pitch as I have always done the 5.8 Movie variation instead, which is excellent, though harder than my current soloing aptitude. So I guess I onsight soloed the 5.6 4th pitch. Wahoo for me. Move over Ari, I'm the new poster boy now.

Pitch 1 hands. Super good

2nd pitch fingers
Inside the pitch 3 chimney

Virgin terrain for my hands-pitch 4 hand crack

I was a little nerv about the descent but my confidence in seeing Ari do it(and he's like 45) made me not sweat it. I picked the first downclimbable terrain I saw, then schwaked up to the landmark tree, and found Ari's chimney. Sweet!

The descent blocks, with the huge tree landmark, mostly for Courts reference

Went back to the base of the climb to grab my shoes, and developed the urge to do the 5.7R version. If its R then whats the difference soloing it right? Manned up and did the mantle move, then downclimbed the original version. Fun day in LCC.

Is this a huge accomplishment? Not really, but its a step forward for my mental game for sure. 


  1. "nerv." nice abreve.
    the canyon looks great.

  2. Good job Spence. Keep up the blogging. You are an internet sensation.