Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rooster Rock Lead

Sunday afternoon I was covering new ground, even though I had ventured to this place before.  The place was Rooster Rock, a basalt pinnacle that rises about 120 feet about the Columbia River.  I had climbed here two years ago with the Adventurous Young Mazamas.  The big difference was that then I was tethered to a fixed line that someone else had put into place.  This time I was the one putting in the fixed line.  This was my first traditional climbing lead.  Down below, anchored into a couple of bolts, John Meckel was belaying me.

I remembered the discomfort with the drop off that I felt two years ago at that same set of bolts.  I noticed how much more I felt comfortable today with the exposure as I glanced down to assess how far since I had put in my last piece of protection.  The line of the rope as it dropped down looked good to me.   I focused on placing my cams and stoppers.

Leading up Rooster Rock gave me just what I wanted, a lower fifth class climb to assess my skills and feelings just before our Advanced Rock class went to Smith Rock.  I also got some great feedback from John and I helped get five other Mazamas up to the top.  Check out the smile on Justin as he approaches the summit.
To descend it was a long, double rope rappel.  I was the one who tossed the ropes down, thankfully they did not get caught on anything, because I would have to been the one to free them mid-rappel.