Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First trip to Seneca this year

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Finally got out on my first trip to Seneca this year!  It was 2 months and 10 days since I had touched rock, pretty long time.  I was definitely anxious to get out.  The extreme heat, large crowds, and rusty climbing skills weren’t enough to keep me from having a great time. 
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Seneca is the first place I really started climbing, it’s where I learned my chops and have so many fun and/or painful memories.
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I picked up Derrick and Patrick and drove down late Saturday night.  We arrived at Princess Snowbird campground at 2:30am!  Nonetheless we were up at 7:30 and headed over to the rocks.  We started our first climb around 9am. 
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I have always wanted to climb Tomato 5.8 and it is one of the few 5.8’s I have not done at Seneca.  Our initial plan was to warm up on something easier but you’ve got to be pretty flexible – especially on crowded weekends.
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The climb was super fun especially the second pitch.  I wimped out though and took a rest.  I was only 2 short moves from the end of the hard part!  But I seriously think I only had the energy for one.  Next time I’m climbing something and I want to take, tell me NO! 
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We went up to the summit.  It was Patrick’s first time!  I’m sure it will be the first of many.
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Next up Derrick wanted to lead Madmen Only 5.10a.  Definitely have to give him credit, he had lots of confidence and was climbing strong this weekend.  This is the first 5.10 at Seneca.  He led it pretty smooth.  The climb is super hard (Seneca 5.10?) and we were climbing in the direct sunlight.  It was not so smooth for Patrick and I.  Let’s just end it at that.
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Next up we search for some shade on the east face, south peak.  Conn’s East Direct 5.8 is another climb I have not been on before. 
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So far this trip I am doing all new climbs!  I lead it ok, although I am somewhat slow at cruxes.  I manage to pull it off and I am feeling good about it. 
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Well by the time Patrick and Derrick climb up it’s time for some pizza at the Front Porch restaurant.
Bonus – Zen was playing Saturday night!
Next morning I meet Sam from Pittsburgh and we run 14 miles on the North Fork trail before 11am!  It was a great run definitely burning some calories there.  After I run I break down camp and meet Patrick and crew over at Seneca.
The plan was to climb at the Southern Pillar.  That place is an oasis of cool temperatures.  We were lucky to find very few people there and our choice of routes. 
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Derrick, Brian, and Raphael were on Slipstream. 
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I ended up leading the first pitch of Roy Gap chimneys 5.6.  The rope is already up there so we top-roped the first pitch of Climbing Punishment 5.7. Patrick is feeling good so he decides to give it a shot on lead.  Very nice job, it was a smooth lead.
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Then we each get 3 sandwiches at Yokum’s deli and drive back.  I’m ready for the next trip!
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