Devil’s Lake in the Fall

Picture if you will for a moment the most glorious Fall day you have ever seen at your local climbing crag. Picture in your head the trees ablaze with full fledged Fall colors. Feel in your fingers that great feeling you experience as you climb out of the shadows onto the rock that has been basking in the early morning sun. Imagine the incredible views perched atop the crag belaying up your second as the sun warms you to the optimal temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Now imagine experiencing all these things as your newly purchased camera is sitting back at home because you had a minor lapse in judgement waking up at 5:30 to go to the crag.
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If you had done all of these things this past weekend, then you would be me.

So while there is no photographic evidence of the glorious day that Nate and I had at Devil’s Lake, rest assured that it totally owned. Our early departure time had us setting off up the CCC trail just as the sun was cresting the Eastern horizon. While the base of the deserted East Bluff was still in shadows, the sun was beginning to warm the rock above as I racked up for our first climb, Full Stop (5.6).

Once we finished with Full Stop, we quickly made our way to Brinton’s Crack (5.6). I had been wanting to lead this route all Fall, but due to its popularity there was always someone with a toprope on it before we got to it. Needless to say it was worth the wait. The route has very intesting climbing the entire way which made for a very enjoyable lead. I will definitely have to go back to lead the direct finish which goes at 5.8 or so.

After those two routes it was Nate’s turn. Nate had been itching to do his first Trad lead, so after a few pointers he racked up to do Full Stop on the sharp end. Despite a few nervous moments he did a great job with solid pieces and a solid anchor.
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Nice work Nate Dogg. Special thanks to the people climbing Berkely nearby who offered Nate a beer to celebrate…maybe in 6 years.

To wrap up the route portion of the day we did Foreplay (5.6) which was enjoyable despite leaving behind my shiny new #8 BD stopper.

After Nate’s first gear lead, my highlight of the day came when we stopped on the way back to the car to try the boulder problem Gill’s Flatiron (V4). Somehow, after all these years of hiking past this classic problem I had never really tried it. The problem climbs a dead vertical 15 ft “flatiron” using really small crimps to gain a very technical left hand undercling move where you have to get your feet up higher than I thought possible to reach an easier hold and then the top. It took me a few tries to figure out the beta so when I figured out the moves and made it to the top I was pretty psyched. Apparently Gill chipped one of the holds which is obviously perplexing but it is still a really fun problem. As usual on a Gill problem, it is really hard to imagine how someone could have climbed this problem 50 years ago!

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6 Responses to Devil’s Lake in the Fall

  1. Nate Dawg November 5, 2007 at 3:45 pm #

    A few nervous moments, try nervous the entire time. I almost peed my pants placing the third piece. Not to worry. Still wanting to do it again.

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  2. Tony November 5, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    No photos means it didn’t happen.
    Good work though Nate, think we’re ready for the Dodge?

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  3. Tony November 5, 2007 at 4:49 pm #

    And speaking of pictures even though I asked already I’m getting impatient for HP40 pics. Nice job on the prompt team site update though.

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  4. Climbing Narcissist November 5, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    If you want things done in HIGH quality it will take a bit longer. I can’t help that I am spending all my free time giving back to the kids.

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  5. Nate Dawg November 5, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    Maybe after sessing it out on toprope. We need to ghet up to the lake to tony.

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  6. sir narc November 5, 2007 at 6:13 pm #

    yes you do

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