Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big Science Sent

Submitted by Dane

Last Memorial Day, Ken and I started aiding up the big, atmospheric and intimidating overhangs on Big Science. It was raining, but the route was dry as water dripped off the large visor above, landing 30 feet from the wall. We placed knife blades, RPs and 1/4 inch replaceable bolts as we worked our way up roof after roof.
For the next several weeks we returned to place the permanent bolts and do the obligatory North Rim industrial cleaning of the route. Ken knocked off a small pickup load of rubble from the first ledge.
In late June, Eric and Hobbs joined us on an early attempt to work the climb. Being young and strong (in Eric’s case, more strong than young [ooooh, burn! –ed]), they opted for a horrendous V6 bouldering move at the first roof that required abs of steel to hold a swing from small crimps over the lip. With at least 20 to 30 more years of beer drinking on these guys [don't even try to catch up –ed, again], Ken and I looked for an alternative sequence. Luckily, we figured out a less core-intensive way through the roof that lowered it to V4/5. However, most of the remainder of our summer and fall was devoted to other projects along with a couple of trips to Ten Sleep, and we didn’t seem to find the time for Big Science.

This winter, we decided to use cold weather to put up Scary Math, the harder and longer route just to the right of Big Science. We emerged from the gym this spring excited about these projects and were anxious to redpoint them. In late April we spent a couple days on both routes and were able to figure out the moves. It was time to get serious.

Ken was out of action this Memorial Day weekend; he was taking it easy after a week at Ten Sleep. Even though Ken was poised to send Big Science**, he knew I was chomping at the bit and encouraged me to enlist another partner. Hobbs, who is always ready and willing when you can get him down from his high lines, was the obvious choice.
Hobbs and I went up the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to give it a go, but it was de ja vue from the year before, and we were met with cold, wet weather and gusting winds. However, we put the dreary day to good use and played around on the climb, blowing on fingers and getting more familiar with the route. Luckily, by Memorial Day the weather improved. Hobbs and I each managed to red point Big Science on our first attempt. (Thanks to the support of the always positive Freestone ace, Chris Ferguson, who joined us on Monday, belaying and taking photos.)
The route is fun, challenging and waiting for more ascents. Have at it!

** With Dane belaying and shouting up a well-timed "Get it!" during the crux sequence, Ken managed to redpoint the route Friday, June 08.

The following includes the route description and topo from the upcoming new edition of the guide. Climbing Big Science feels about the same in intensity and commitment as climbing Kootenai's BRIK.

18. Big Science 5.12b. 12 bolts. V4/5 roof crux then jugs, heel hooks and grins to top. Ends at anchors above last roof. One more bolt protects pumpy ext. to Scary Math anchors, but don’t clean or toprope Big Science from there due to rope-cutting edge!
19. Scary Math. To be continued...