Friday, November 26, 2010

Illusion Dweller PART 1 - Joshua Tree - November 4, 2010


When woke up in Joshua Tree Ali an old friend from San Luis Obispo was there along with her friend Web from Santa Cruz. They were looking to climb and I was there rope gun for the day and I was happy to oblige. We got talking about routes and I really wanted a crack at Illusion Dweller.

Illusion Dweller is a five out of five star 5.10b crack climb. It has been featured on the cover of Climbing Magazine multiple times in the past decades. To say it is a classic of Joshua Tree is an understatement. I've wanted to climb it for years but it is always busy, 5.10b has always been very had for me, and most of all a classic of this level deserves to onsighted. Onsighting basically means to walk up to a climb, flake the rope, led and send the climb with no hangs or falls. Because of these reasons I'd been saving trying to onsight Illusion Dweller for decades.

Ali said she was in to belay me and try to follow the route so today I was off to try Illusion Dweller! I was really excited and on the drive over to Real Hidden Valley I even taped my hands for crack climbing. Normally I don't tape my hands but sometimes it lets me climb harder so I did today.

When we got over to the base of the route, even though it was 10 am on a Thursday another party had beat us to the route.  I talked to the leader, a UCSD student, briefly and he seemed solid so we waited and watched.  The photo series was taken by Ali's friend Web.

These are photo's of the party ahead of us:
The start of the route.
About 2/3rd done, the crux is right at the end on the little roof.  He had not made the route sound easy and seem to be struggling a lot.
I watch anxiously, I had thought lower section of the climb was 5.9 so I was feeling very unispired but how hard he was making it sound but he had been leading the route in good style.
He got to the roof placed a piece of protection very low and fired into the roof.
He got into the roof and clearly was struggling.  Web was ready with the rapid fire.
He's still falling.
The rope catches.
He slides to a stop.
After rope stretch and his belayer it looks as though he went around 30 ft on the fall.  Oh that's a little scary!!  And I'm next!  I must be a moron.
Well he got back on it.  This time he put at piece at the base of the roof.
And fell he again.

This time it was a shorter fall with the higher piece of protection.
Back on.
Back off.

Finally, he got on and got his body postion right to grunt and moan his way to the top.
Me sitting waiting at the base of the route for there second to follow and for them to rap off.  How nervous do you think I was after watching that?  Part 2: My Turn tomorrow.

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