Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Roping up at Bushwhack

So here's where some people are going to say, "I thought this was a bouldering blog."  Yes, it is, but I mentioned when I started out (see Q&A) that I'd be posting about other things from time to time.  And with a big trad-climbing trip coming up this summer, I'll be spending a much larger percentage of time roped up in the next few months.  But don't worry, I'll make sure plenty of bouldering finds it way on here as well.  It's just hard to focus entirely on bouldering when places I visit have stuff like this:


Anyway...  Saturday a group of us went out to Bushwhack Rocks (see Indy's guide for directions and route descriptions) and planned to do a mix of toproping, bouldering, and trad leading.  It didn't exactly work out that way, but at least we didn't carry the pads up for nothing.

Mark 'Indy" Kochte and Todd Hill put the pads to good use

After taking an initial walk around the boulders, we set up a few topropes down on the Main Wall.  We did a few of the classic climbs including Beginner's Crack (5.6), The Way Life Should Be (5.7), and Siren's Call (5.9-), as well as the previously unnamed slab now called Bifurcation (maybe 5.10+/5.11-).  The Way Life Should Be was a particularly fun climb, starting on a big undercling and smearing the feet up a slab while laying back a right-facing flake.  With a smooth parallel crack behind the flake, the perfect fit of the cams more than made up for the occasional awkwardness of placing them.  In fact, the crack was so nice that at one point I placed three cams within a 4 foot section, simply because I could!

Todd Hill reaches through Beginner's Crack.  Photo: Mark 'Indy" Kochte

Mark 'Indy' Kochte tops out Beginner's Crack... carrying my shoes

Pennie Close on The Way Life Should Be

Me on The Way Life Should Be.  Photo: Mark 'Indy' Kochte

Emily Close on Siren's Call.  Photo: Mark 'Indy' Kochte

Me on Bifurcation.  Photo: Mark 'Indy' Kochte

Pennie Close on Bifurcation.  Photo: Mark 'Indy' Kochte

We then headed a bit further to the Ice-Nine area, home of the best looking splitter I've seen in Maryland.  Flanked by Indy's Harem (5.4) and Earthquake Prediction Theory (5.6), the aptly named Spellbound (5.7) starts with comfortable hand jams and great feet through a few small overhangs, and then moves out across a face to finish.  Although I only toproped it, it looks like a fun lead.  The crack would eat up medium to large cams, but gear gets a little thin after reaching the face.  If the crack weren't so short, this would be a Maryland classic for sure!

Brian Linacre pulling through Indy's Harem

Todd Hill tops out Indy's Harem

Me on Spellbound.  Photo: Emily Close

We also set up two ropes down on the Suk Me Wall, named for the lovely bit of graffiti along the right end.  On the lefthand rope we did several variations of a yet-unnamed 5.7.  We then finished the day on The Golden Hour (5.8), named for the beautiful yellow light bathing the rocks as we climbed.  Quickly breaking down the ropes, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset from the cliff top as we hurried to reach the fire access road before dark.  Can't wait to go back!

Brian Linacre grabbing the first ascent of a yet-unnamed route

Mark 'Indy' Kochte guiding us through The Golden Hour.  Photo: Emily close

Last light at Bushwhack.  Photo: Mark 'Indy' Kochte

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