Friday, January 21, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

October of 2009 produced three new routes and two unclimbed pinnacles in the Menagerie.  I got lucky and got to team up with one of my hero's Tom Bauman for the first ascent of The Snake in the Outback area of the Menagerie. Tom is hardcore, he's been doing first ascents in the Menagerie since 1964. He is one of the best ground up choss climbers ever, so this was a privilege to get him out of climbing retirement for a first ascent of an unclimbed pillar that probably had not been seen by a human in twenty years. Tom's memory was a little foggy and he is still not sure if it was the spire he thought he had seen years before, either way it was good enough for me, but out there still, the real Snake may exist. Up next was the first ascent of The Zebra, the last unclimbed spire in the Keith Creek drainage.  Comparable to The Beast in difficulty, I managed to take a thirty foot fall onto a #1 pecker.  Brian's perfect belay kept me from hitting the deck. With adrenaline surging I yarded back up to the pecker and free climbed up to where the sling I was in the process of placing was still hanging off the horn, I hurriedly clipped in hoisted myself up a full body length higher than I'd been before and quickly drilled the most terrifying bolt ever.  With the bolt clipped the danger was eliminated and the summit was reached easily the next day. That climb still lingers sweet. Brian and I also established a minor new route on Boulder Dome, but like many times in the past Tom thinks he may have climbed parts of it during a first ascent thirty years prior. With trails getting cleaned up any many bolts being replaced, The Menagerie is sure to become the next Smith Rock in a few years.

The Snake.

The Zebra

On top of The Zebra.

Jeff Thomas climbs the first pitch of "Dream Boat Annie" on Royal Arch. September 2010

Jeff Thomas climbs the first pitch of "Dream Boat Annie" on Royal Arch. September 2010

The Bridge. Photo: Greg Orton

Mai Hyman, Will Nazarian & Tyler Adams on top of the South Rabbit Ear. Photo: Greg Orton

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