Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Yosemite: Cookie Cliff, the Rostrum, and Generator Crack

Yes, I did it again, and better 🙂

Remember how excited I was when I did it last time? after two unsuccessful attempts, finally I managed to get up Generator Crack. However, I had to start off the tree because I couldn’t figure out how to get up the first five feet or so. But this time, I got it, every foot of it!

Beta for Generator Crack:

Beta for small people (with skinny knees): While standing on the ground, I place a hand-fist stack high, then with the right foot frictioning in the crack — with outside of the heel and inside of toes — I lift my left knee as high as possible and shuffle it into the crack. Note that at this point, the crack is fairly narrow, so the available spots to get your knee in are very limited. Once the knee is jammed in, it’s very secure, so I can do a sit up pushing off my right foot to move my upper body higher — so high that my left leg is almost extended while the knee is still jammed in the crack. Now, it’s the tricky move — because the crack is too narrow to move the left knee directly up, you need to take it out where it went in. To do this, I gaston with my two hands on the two sides of the crack to keep my upper body upright, stick my butt out so that I have room to move my left knee, and then carefully extract my knee from the crack. A couple of these moves later, I’m able to shuffle my whole left leg in, then the battle is over — all you need to do is chicken-wing with left arm, gaston with right hand, use the right foot heel-toeing to push up, and use the left leg kneebaring to rest. Higher, once I get my full body in, it becomes sweet squeeze chimney. I do the entire climb left side in — no turning around is needed.

Beta for big people (Based on my observations when Erik climbed it): The crux is also right off the ground. Because you can’t get your knee in to stabilize your upper body, you can’t move both hands at the same time. So, the key is to find small edges and flakes inside the crack for your fingers to pull on (almost look like lieback), while the feet are doing the side-of-heel to side-of-toe jam. You do need to get the footwork down so that the feet are not thrashing around, which makes it too hard for the poor fingers to cling to the tiny edges. At any given time, you either use one hand and the two feet to keep the body stable while moving the other hand higher or use two hands and one foot for stability while moving the other foot up. A couple of such powerful moves later, you should be able to get your left leg in the crack, then it’s just typical offwidth climbing — all you need to do is chicken-wing with left arm, gaston with right hand, use the right foot heel-toeing to push up, and use the left leg kneebaring to rest. However, because you won’t be able to get your full body in until very high up, you’ll need to stay at the mouth of the crack, and when you get to jug on the left side of the crack, you pull up on it and in the mean time turn your body around. Beyond that jug, it’s a squeeze chimney for everyone.

Hope that helps.

Oh, wait, rewind… Let me start from Saturday morning. Because the weather forecast for this weekend was very iffy, Erik and I decided to leave the Bay Area on Saturday morning (it was more my idea because I really wanted to see the movie March of Penguins on Friday night). So we got out at 9am, and by 1:30pm, we were at the base of Cookie Cliff. We did Catchy, Catchy Corner, Red Zinger (two laps for each of us), Meat Grinder 1st pitch (my lead), Beverly’s Tower (my lead), and Aftershock (we both TR’ed in dark with headlamps).

We hung out with Scott and Micky at the Rock Rendezvous campsite and enjoyed a conversation around the warm campfire that Scott put up. On next morning, although I set my alarm at 6am, we didn’t get up until almost 8am. It was destined to be a relaxed (aka lazy) weekend, so it only made sense for us to arrive at the base of the Rostrum as late as 11:30am. My heart sank when I saw a rope on the first pitch when I approached the start. But it turned out to be Dan and Hamid, whom I knew from the Bay Area. They were planning to do the first four pitches only, so they generously let us pass. Erik linked the 1st and 2nd pitches and we passed them quickly. Four hours and forty minutes later saw us on top. We had a great view of the valley in the afternoon glow. We finished the day by top roping Generator Crack, which added a bit more excitement and satisfaction to the weekend.