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.