Monday, July 12, 2010

Full Sun

With the Saturday temps for Hamilton forecast at 90 degrees, we left Missoula at 6:30am to maximize our climbing time, arriving at the rock before 8:30am. Ken and Dane went straight to QED, while Tim and Michael set up on the Tick Farm to clean and mark bolt placements on a new line right of No Dick Tick. It was interesting to watch the shade pattern as the morning progressed. The Tick Farm stayed fairly comfortable until around noon. The new cracks, Li'l Crack and Give and Take, down and right, were cool the entire morning. The upper half of QED was also in the shade until 11:00am, much later than we had anticipated.

Around midday, we were psyched to see other parties arrive, including a strong team comprised of Deanna and UM route setters Hobbs and Daithi. Deanna quickly walked No Dick Tick. From the vantage of QED higher up and to the side, it was great to see how steep and impressive the route looked with a climber on it. As stated before, this will surely become a Tick Farm classic.

Dave Hobbs above QED crux beginning The Bulge

Progress and ever-longer links on QED are happening. Ken managed to get the roof first try, while Dane has totally dialed the route's 12a crux. But once the crux is behind you, there's still 60 feet of sustained climbing above, including the Bulge, the Stairsteps, the Roof, the Standup and the Headwall. The key will be patience, strategy and a boatload of power-endurance. We continue to clean up the few remaining chossy sections and work out the gear placements on the lower half. The route is evolving into a high-quality testpiece. It's great to feel we're reeling it ever closer to the send.

The afternoon turned out to be climbable thanks to intermittent cloud bands, a good breeze, and a brief rain shower. Hobbs gave QED a mid-afternoon first try and made an impressive showing by reaching the anchors with only a few hangs. He, Deanna and Daithi then went off to climb Pie for Strength, rapping in from the third pitch anchors located at the west end of the Upper Tier. We look forward to hearing how they liked the route, and will profile "Pie" in its own post soon.

Other highlights of the day: Michael sussed a moderate slab line left of Li'l Crack, and, climbing in one of the other parties, Joe nabbed his first lead ever, climbing Tick Magnet, thin inobvious crux and all. Congrats!

A day's worth of 5.12