A community of climbers and skiers exploring Idaho's backcountry and beyond.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
symmetry spire, a rafting epic, and the broken finger fiasco
so with all this business of breaking bones and whatnot, i forgot to describe a few of my latest wild and wacky adventures. yeah, this entry has a lot of text, and no pictures, but it's kinda epic in a way.
last friday, my good friend patty russell and i went and climbed symmetry spire in the tetons. the spire tops out at 10,560 feet, and includes 5 full rope length pitches of technical rock climbing up to 5.7.
now, 5.7 may not seem like a big deal, considering my recent 5.13b/c(?) ascent, but in the mountains the game changes completely.
we started around 5:15 am and drove to catch the 7:00 am ferry at jenny lake to access that area of the tetons. we hiked in 2+ miles, a good portion up steep rocky slopes. as we hit the base, patty thought she spaced her belay device!!! that would have made for some tricky ropework, but thankfully, she did have the thing. whew! patty also said she didn't want to lead any part of the route, which would make this the first time i lead in the tetons.
the first pitches were confusing to lead, mostly just scrambling trying to find certain features outlined on my pocket route topo. and yeah, i got lost a few times. we reached the crux pitch, and it was stunning. a beautiful dihedral, the rock was super polished, and in many places i had only 60-70 year old rusty pitons for protection(the first ascent was in 1938... i assume they put in the pitons). the last three pitches were all stunning, and were so much fun. but, an ominous rain storm was fast approaching and threatening our summit plans. somehow, it hailed and thunderstormed all day in jackson hole, but as the weather hit the grand teton, it was like moses parting the red sea, and we had nice sunshine. it was extremely windy, but no rain. no hail. and luckily, no lighting.
we summited, i ate my sandwich, and we hauled ass to get to the last ferry (7:00 pm). we made the 6:30 one, and were quite pleased. we had dinner with patty's friend, and renowned mountain guide, rob hess, a dude i met earlier this year in city of rocks. then drove home.
definitely took one step higher on the mighty staircase of bad-assery.
then the next day i broke my fingers... but more on that later...
so i decided to go rafting with some friends of mine yesterday. yeah, i was wearing a hand splint thing, i couldn't hold a paddle, and i probably wasn't supposed to get wet. little did i know...
it was generally warm, with mild rapids in the hoback section of the snake river. (i believe)
the rapids weren't really too bad, except one. "kahuna" was very gnarly. it was huge! like, we went into the rapid head on, and next thing we know, the raft flipped, dumping all 7 of us. several of us got caught under the raft, and fought for the surface. my friend bailey was under the longest. it was scary. my bud peter got on top of the flipped over raft and started pullin peeps up, but only four managed to get on the raft before the next rapid. "lunch counter" wasn't particularly big, but after you're all shaken up from bein tossed out, frantically doing a head count, yadda yadda, the story kinda changes. i did not get pulled up, and had to ride the next rapids solo. in the end, we were all ok, shaken up, but ok. i lost a flip flop, and somehow my glasses got caught on my life jacket and i didn't lose em. we were all freezing. and i got my splint wet....
ha! it was such an adrenaline rush, and actually was my favorite part of the day.
and with the fingers... ugh. i probably sound more bitter than i really am. i finally got to see an xray today. i have a fracture at each of the middle knuckles on my right index and middle fingers. tomorrow i get a cast/splint thingy put on, and in 4-6 weeks, it should be mostly healed. so no climbing for a while. but i think that's kinda ok. i've been goin full tilt since january, climbed a bunch of hard and beautiful routes, and most importantly had a blast.
plus, gotta settle in to school, and at least mentally, i kinda needed a break anyway. this year was always supposed to be a rebuilding year of sorts, and what a year it was!
so two parting thoughts:
- do not go to idaho urgent care. they don't have a clue, they were slow, they misread my xray, and frankly, i didn't feel comfortable around their staff, and barely spoke with the "doctor". i don't even remember his name. no clue.
however, the specialist they sent me to has his shit together. thank god.