Belay Specs Blog

This blog has less to do with Belay Specs and more to do with our employee's climbing and outdoor outings.  We'll talk about exciting news about Belay Specs but we'll talk much more about the trips we've taken and the places we've checked out.  We'd like to share some of our experiences in the hope that they inspire you to check the areas out for yourselves. If you read about an area or activity in one of our posts and have questions on beta, route recommendations or anything else, leave a comment and we'll try to fill you in.

Although we had camped for a few nights with Buddy, Nora, Ali, Chris and Katie we hadn’t all climbed together so we headed to the Decadent Wall in the Breadloaves to get some pitches in together. We hadn’t given enough thought to how busy the are might be on a Sunday morning and had a tough time finding routes to get on. Buddy hopped on Jay Goodwin Route (5.10a) while I put up Kibbles and Bits (5.11a) just to the left. I played with Buddy’s camera and a jig I had made to take photos through the prism. The results are pictures that can show the climber and belayer simulataneously like a blurred edge picture-in-picture effect.

PhilBelayingBuddy

These routes were fun but short and we had been hoping to climb some cracks. I managed to get in line for Adolescent Homosapien, a classic 5.7 crack. The route was really fun and takes great gear. Ali and Alana followed me up it and we rapped off the communal rap line that had be set for the day. After the route the sun came on the west facing rocks and we decided to head home and get ready for the week ahead after another great trip to the City of Rock,

 

Today was long and a bit crazy. We didn’t do a that many pitches but we hiked a lot between them. Since it was Saturday we knew there would be a lot more people so we left camp around 8:00 to try and be one of the first groups on Too Much Fun a three star 5.8 on Bumblie Rock. We got there and found a group of two on it with the leader almost at the anchors. While we waited others filtered pass asking about the wait and the solitude of our morning quickly ended as the groups massed around the base.

Alana started up with her harness loaded down with the 18 or so draws required by the route and quickly entered the low crux. It took her a bit of time but she found a sequence through it and continued up the route. I followed her up, trailing a rope for the mandatory double rope rappel. The climbing was fun but maybe a little over rated. The view and exposure are probably the best aspects of the route. We got down, quickly collected our gear and moved up to a quieter area of the cliff.

Just up the trail is New York is Not the City, a popular 5.10a that was luckily free. The first bolt is pretty high but luckily the climbing is easy to the first bolt. A few more bolts of easy climbing leads to some harder climbing and a nice finish. Alana led it in style afterwards and while she was rappeling and cleaning the route, I checked out our next routes, Bublie Takes a Tumblie (5.11a). This route has an even higher first bolt but more moderate climbing to it. It would still be very easy to mess up somewhere before that first bolt. This route is fantastic with interesting movement and holds that aren’t obvious at first. Alana ran up it on TR and though she had some problems, really enjoyed it. It was just about mid-day so we went off in search of shade and found this great little overhang on the north end of an adjacent cliff line to have lunch.

corlunchspot

Our friends had mentioned they were going to climb the Lost Arrow today so we headed off to find them and check out the route. We walked for 30 minutes under a blazing sun until the Lost Arrow formation came into view and circled up to it’s base. A couple were rapping down as we got to top and pointed us towards the start of the Classic Route (5.7). The route went up in the 1960’s when bolts were hand drilled and climbers were bold.

The route starts with a scramble up a big flake into a dihedral where you can fianlly get some gear in. At the top of the corner, I headed up a juggy face to the route’s single bolt. The wind started howling as I traversed right and up the face to reach the angling roof where a crack offered much desired protection. The route follows the crack to a small corner and then up to a slabby face where anchors mark the end of the first pitch and any real protection. Alana came up the route and, after swapping gear, I set off on the second pitch. None of the second pitch is actually that hard but after a couple pieces in the first 15 feet you turn a corner and head up a feature slab that offers no gear. The rope runs over an edge of crown-like flakes that would likely slice your rope if you happened to slip and take a big fall. My cheeks were clenched pretty tight as I started up the slab and I couldn’t help but think that I hoped my in-laws would never read this post and realize how stupid I could be sometimes. The holds on the slab got bigger and the angle decreased as I got higher and I found myself nearly crawling to the anchors with the strong desire to kiss them in gratitude. I belayed Alana up and we enjoyed the amazing view from the top.

LostArrow

 We hiked back out and on the way decided to get on Raindance a long two pitch bolted slab on Flaming Rock. We had to wait while a couple of beginners led and cleaned the first pitch while having instructions shouted at them from below. Alana had hiked to the car to get some water and use the facilites and while I waited our friends Katie and Chris walked up to the base and looked relieved to see me. Evidently they had just rapped off the back side of Raindance and weren’t able to pull their ropes because their was too much friction. They were glad to hear that we were heading up and could retrieve their ropes.

Alana came back along with Ali, who had been climbing with our friend Buddy and wanted to get in one more easy route for the day. Alana scampered up the first pitch, Ali went second and I brought up the back. I got to the anchor, climbed around the ladies and headed up the second pitch. The hardest moves seemed to be getting off the anchor and then the climbing was easy slab. The topout was great and the sun was getting low in the sky. I brought up the girls, pulled the extra ropes and we rapped to the ground. We got back to the car at 9:30 pm, glad that Buddy and Nora were cooking us dinner at camp.

 

 

Finding good, shady, quiet areas at the City can be tough and sometimes you can get all that you want. We got up and headed to Bath Rock to get on some good routes that receive morning shade, problem was lots of other folks did too. Luckily, we got there early enough to snag Private Idaho (5.9), a beautiful dihedral crack with a funky slot towards the end. I had a lot of fun climbing it and Alana did too although she wished I had gone around the slot instead of through it.

The group of climbers were pretty friendly and routes seemed to free up just as we were ready for them. We hopped on Rollercoaster next, a nice 5.8 sport route that was a better warmup than Private Idaho. Alana led this one too and then we headed over to Colossus (5.10c). Some of the other folks at the cliff wanted to get on Colossus but didn’t feel up to leading it so I put it up on their rope and draws. It’s a neat route with a crux that comes out a hueco near the end of the route. Up until then it’s not bad but exiting the hueco feels very committing and a bit desperate. I agree with the 3 star guide book rating.

We moved down the cliffline to check out Coffee and Cornflakes, a 10a sport route with a first bolt 35 feet up. It was busy with other climbers so I decided to check out Gemini a 12a classic face route. The start is similar to Coffee and Cornflakes, a bit run out on reasonable terrain but things get tough after clipping the second bolt and trying to pull onto the headwall. The climbing is crimpy, thin and lots of fun. I hung at every bolt trying to find holds and sort out the moves. Most of it wasn’t too bad once holds were found except for the crux where I spent 10 minutes and took a long fall trying to sort out the moves. Eventually I got through it using small crimps and high feet. I knew the route wouldn’t go down today so I cleaned it. I’m looking forward to getting on this son a future trip when I’m in better shape and the weather is better.

In the mean time, Coffee and Cornflakes had freed up and it was a lot of fun. The high first bolt doses take some pleasure out of it but the climbing isn’t too challenging. Not wanting to deal with that drawback, Alana ran up it on TR and had a blast, enjoying the movement on big holds.

The sun was coming around the cliff face so we headed up to the north end of the Broadloaves to eat lunch at some shady picnic tables. Mid-day shade can be hard to find so we sat here a while and waited for the shade to swing onto Morning Glory, a three pitch 5.10 on the Anteater formation. When we finally did get to the route, no one was on it so we geared up. The first pitch (10a) involves some tough slabby mantels and a delicate traverse. The second pitch (10d) had some very thin, dicey parts that took me a long time to sort out. Alana didn’t feel up to taking on the pitch so I linked it together with the third pitch (10b) and headed up and around a corner. The bolts and gear posibilities are pretty slim towards the top but the climbing is easy on big holds. Even so, I was very happy when I clipped the chains.

 

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What our users have to say

After wearing these belay glasses for one day, we felt like idiots we didn't get a pair sooner! Seriously, anyone who climbs (and subsequently belays) should have a pair! They work for ALL climbs (not just steep ones), saving the neck, and providing a safer belay because your belayer can actually keep watching you from nearly any angle. In fact, the ability to view your climber from almost any direction and have good peripheral vision means even if you catch yourself eying another climber on your project, you can still keep your eye on your climber at the same time! 

Ben and Lindsey Kunz, Seattle, WA. Read more at her blog

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