Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thrashed by Colonel Kirtz

I started this post on Monday. However, my motivation to write just was not there. It was, of course, raining again in Ottawa and to top it off I knocked my coffee, off my desk, onto the floor. I'm still trying to scrub the coffee out of the carpet. It is still raining but today I managed to drink my coffee so I'm take another shot at this trip report.

Piling into Pete and Iris' white Buick Century we hit the road for Montagne d'Argent after picking up Jeff in Alymer. The weather was fantastic; blue sky, a gentle breeze and 17 degrees Celsius. It was perhaps the best day, weather wise, this spring. A perfect climbing day. It was smooth sailing in our white boat until, well, we thought that we may actually needed a boat.

The Riviere Rouge had crested its banks and covered a section of Rang des Vents. After some inspection we decided it was only about a foot deep in the middle and definitely passable. The boat jokes aside, the roomy Buick makes for a comfy road trip car.

Walking along the Cliff we passed lots of wet climbs and ended up at La Petite Folie. We figured we would start here and then move later in the afternoon once the sun dried up the other areas.

Jeff was the quickest to get ready so he started off up a 5.4 crack on the slab called "Encore! mon lapin" with Pete providing a belay. This meant I was left with the wet and moss covered "Poussinet" 5.4 crack. It was an easy but muddy climb to the first set of anchors. From there I linked into "Le lapin au tambour", another 5.4 crack/slab route. With some climbing through the rather wet and mossy bit at the beginning I was now on dry rock. In the next photo you can see my rope trailing back through the slop.

Since Pete and Jeff where still messing about on their linkup into "Arretez-le quelgu'un!" I lowered to the top of the first pitch so Iris could climb "Poussinet".

I had come to La Petite Folie, a little madness, to try two crack lines called "Colonel Kirtz" 5.10a and "Hannibal Lecter" 5.9+. Both lines are short 10m hand cracks and I'm sure a walk for anyone with crack skills.

Colonel Kirtz starts under a small roof spilt by a finger crack which protects well with a BD .5 C4. Once around the roof and standing up I found secure jams as the crack widened. I placed a high BD .75 C4 and cautiously moved up. Grabbing an edge where the crack juts right I worked my feet up to find a soaking wet crack. As I thrashed around in the wet crack my hands started to bleed as my arms pumped out. I tried to put in a BD #1 C4 higher but the flaring crack and irregular crystals made for a less than inspiring placement. My pumped arms and wet hands were definitely wearing on my mind. I reached for another cam, a black Metolius, and thankfully it placed well around waist level. Not wanting to pull out rope to high clip a bad placement I opted to leave it and down climbed to find a rest position. This just pumped me out more and I came off.

Round two, was a waste as I was still too pumped. Round three, I climbed back up, fixed my #1 cam and tried to top out. Unfortunately I still had tunnel vision due to the pump and missed the obvious jug, grabbed a sloper and came off again. Round four, I grabbed the jug and ended it. Humbled by a 10m hand crack.

After being thrashed by the Colonel I managed to regain my confidence by flashing Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal is a fun route with a cool move to pull the small roof at the top. Having a bit of beta from watching Jeff and Pete's attempts certainly helped.

Later we toured the Petite Canyon which was total wet and dirty. I'm not sure I'll bother going back there; a long walk for nothing special.

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