Sunday, May 3, 2009

West Virginia Trip – Part 10 – The Party

---- Current location – The Gendarme Climbing School, Seneca Rocks, WV, USA - Temp: ~9DegC ----

Unfortunately, this post will not nearly be as epic as previously implied, sorry.

Today, the weather is the worst is has been the entire trip. Usually, it rains all night and drizzles during the day. Last night, it started raining and is still pouring harder than I have seen yet.

Yesterday, however, the weather was slightly better. It rained a bit in the morning and eventually dried up. So, The Dans and I headed out to do Conn’s East (5.5), a three pitch route that would take us to the South Summit. The approach was heinous. We slogged our way up to the base of Seneca, from which point we had to do some exposed scrambling to get to the base of the climb. Chico (the dog) did not particularly enjoy this, so we had to hand him up to each other. Once at the base of the climb, we dropped our gear and scrambled into The Gunsight for lunch. It was quite the beautiful day. We dropped back down to the base of the climb and racked up. I lead the first pitch, a long diagonal traverse along a giant flake. Rope drag was incredible on this pitch. The Dans followed and Dan R set up to take the next pitch. Once we all arrived there, Dan FM took us to the summit. It was a great view and The Dans had really wanted to get up there, so that was good. We double rope rapped to the base and pulled the ropes. Dan R’s brand new 70m got stuck in a constriction about 40feet above us (D’oh!). So, Dan FM got to climb the first pitch of Conn’s East Direct (5.8) to retrieve it. Once we got the rope down we walked South along Broadway Ledge and rappelled off – with Chico, of course. This was quite the ordeal. We had to build him a harness, shove him into my pack and then Dan R rapped off with him. It was pretty awesome. Once back on the trail, we made a slippery descent and headed off to the party.

Figure 1 - Lunch in the Gunsight.

Figure 2 - Dan FM at the summit.

Figure 3 - Me topping out.

The party was pretty fun, but not nearly as epic as we imagined it would be. The beer was pretty good – and free! The food was delicious – and free! The prizes were great – and free! But, there was something missing. It just didn’t seem like a crazy party. The three of us cleaned up when it came to prizes. Dan R won a chalkbag, Dan FM won a Misty Mountain harness and a pair of socks, and I won a Black Diamond #1 C4 Cam – schwing! The party died down around midnight, so we all went up to the campsite and fell asleep.

Now, it is pouring rain and we are trying to figure out what to do. Hopefully we figure something out.

Figure 4 - Dan R rapping with Chico.

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