Sunday, September 12th, 2004

Wine, Cheese, and “Lies” (Climbing at Burst Rock and Lost World)

This is the theme of the gathering at Royal Robbin‘s Cabin on Pinecrest Lake. There is abundant wine brought by Lani and her hunsband from their winery. I don’t drink — I lack the enzyme for alcohal — but seeing people, their faces glowing, pouring all kinds of wine glass after glass, I wish I did. With a glass of water in one hand, I busy the other with cheese and crackers. Goat cheese, sheep cheese, and cheese that I don’t know the names of… My favorite is the shrimps though. Of course, nothing compares to the conversation with 40 or so climbers and mountaineers. They have stories from all over the world, and some of them are so incredible that a person lack of imagination can easily mistaken those stories as fake. Sometimes, the nature is beyond imagination.

Most of the people in this crowd showed up at a cragging area, Genesis, at Burst Rock earlier in the day. Some of them have known each other for years and use this gathering as a good chance to re-union. Some of them, like me, are just excited to meet climber legends such as Royal Robbins and Tom Frost and other local climbers. Ropes are dropped down from the top of many climbs. People chat, joke, and climb. Yesterday, she might have been a stranger; and today, she is holding the other end of the rope that you trust with your life. Without knowing it, I have bagged a few routes: Finger Twister (5.10a, finger crack), The Direct (5.8, wide hand crack), Primo (5.5, hand crack), Thwart (5.11d, face, top rope), Unknown climb (5.10a/b, face, top rope, left of Primo).

On Sunday, under the leadership of Brad, one of the authors of the Sonora Pass guidebook, we, a smaller crowd, approach the Lost World before noon. While there are good climbs all around the gorge, I spend most of the afternoon at the Clock Tower Area. The climbs there are of surprisingly good quality. I can at least vouch for these climbs: Timeless (first pitch, 5.9, lieback), Between Nothingness and Eternity (first pitch, 5.10c, sport), Undocumented climb (5.10b, sport, to the left of Between Nothingness and Eternity), Weapons of Mass Destruction (5.11 b/c, sport, not in guidebook yet), and Cock the Hammer (5.10c, awkward steep crack). Allen and I have decided to go back to continue our exploration at the wonderful Lost World next weekend. Wanna join us?

I didn’t count, but I think about 30 climbers showed up for this gathering.

Tahoe, Kelly’s puppy, is a real superstar!

Socializing is the main course of the day, and climbing is a side dish.

When there are so many climbers around, I’m not surprised to see an anchor like this.

Slay high stepping Thwart (5.11d) at Genesis.

Hunter’s music climbs higher than anyone.

Tahoe receives abundant love at the Crag.

Wish someone could carry me like this on a steep ascent/descent. This is the sort of treatment you get when you are cute, really really cute.

Allen onsighting Weapons of Mass Destruction (5.11b/c).

And Mei follows his steps.

When Brad opens his mouth, everyone listens.

Allen fighting Green Monster (5.12a).