Sunday, March 29, 2009


Friday we went up to the Black Cliffs after I got home from work.  We went to the Mids (section 1) to climb "Little Boots" since my wife hadn't gotten to climb it last week.  She climbed it, then we packed up and left for home because of the wind and cold.  The weather was supposed to be nice for Saturday, so why not come up then?  I did get to climb on my fresh resoles.  My La Sportivas are pretty old, but they fit perfectly.  I like resoling them rather than wasting money on new shoes that probably wouldn't fit as well.

The guy that you want to do your resole job is Fly'n Brian.  Not only does he do the best resole that I have ever seen, he is a bad-ass climber!  I was happy to get them back since I was climbing in my eVolvs and they are great for the gym, but not great for extended wear!

Saturday appeared to be shaping up when we left the house at noon.  We were going back up to the Mids, but this time we were going to be down at section 4 (ref. Sandy Epeldi's guidebook).  When we climbed "Nut'n a Sling" last week, I thought that it was cool to be on a route that wasn't covered in chalk.  That made me start thinking about the "obscure" routes at the Cliffs.  Friday night I went through Sandy's book and made a list.  First on the list was "Nikita".

Bonnie cleaning "Nikita"

"Nikita" is a thin seam with some very cool moves on it.  Unfortunately, it started to rain about half way up.  We had waited to see if the weather was going to get better.  I thought that it was, so I started up.  Five minutes later the sky opened up.  I got to a nice bucket and plugged in three pieces of gear and lowered off.  We hunkered down and ate graham crackers for half an hour.  Then the skies cleared and we were back in business.  I climbed back up to the bucket and started back up and was stopped by a blank face with only the seam and a side pull.  I was able to get a good finger lock in and friction on the face.  I could see a nice jug about two feet over my reach, but I had my right fingers in the seam and left hand side pulling.  I pulled up with my right and reached across with my left.  I was out of balance and on my way down.  Left finger lock, right hand reaches.  Much better.  The rest of the climb is nice.  I had to scoop dirt off of some of the holds where the angle eases.  There is also a giant rock at the top that teeters when you step on it.  I don't think that it will come off since it is on a big ledge below the chains.  I wish I knew who the first ascensionist was because I would like to move the chains to the face to the right of the current location.  The chains are different to clip.

The kids gave it a go.  They both made it to the ledge below the crux, and gave it their all to go higher, but couldn't work it out.  I try not to spew beta at people climbing (including family) unless someone asks, because I like to think that most people want to figure it out for themselves and if they want beta, they will ask.

We were going to try to cross another one off of the Project Obscurity list but the weather wasn't having it.  I'm glad it's not a long drive to the Cliffs.  "Nikita" is a very enjoyable climb.  It would be nice to get some more traffic on it to clean it up.  It's rated 5.8 and takes nothing bigger than a #4 Metolius TCU with the emphasis on sub #2 Metolius TCU sizes and small nuts.


pxy said...

Tell Bonnie Happy Birthday from us.
I enjoy reading this, you are such an animated writer, I fell like I'm climbing with you guys...don't think that will ever happen :)
Love you Kenna

Ralph S. said...

Thanks! I'll tell her. You guys are always welcome to climb or ski with us! Hope the little man is doing great!

Take care,