April 12 , '07
Written by Ben Kiessel
Ben- “Brad what are you doing?”
Brad- “What do you mean? There is off-width on the first pitch.”
Ben- “Come on you pansy, It's a ten foot section of 5.8 we're not going to need a #6 that thing is so heavy. We won't be able to climb anything after hauling that to the base of the climb.”
Brad- “Better safe then sorry.”
Ben- “We'll be fine.”
And so began Cenotaph Spire.
After climbing Family plot on the Tombstone we headed over to Cenotaph Spire to give it a crack. The first pitch was supposed to go at 5.10 or C1, and after looking at it I decided that I could probably climb it. Climbing out of the cave was not that bad but while trying to pull over the lip onto the slab above I broke off a foothold and nearly fell. Luckily I was doing a reverse arm-lock (yeah…I'm that cool) and didn't fall. Pulling over the lip I thought the pitches difficulties were over, but I was sadly mistaken. Unfortunately I didn't know that Paul Ross is a off-width eating machine because what he rated 5.8 ow was more like 5.12 R. After hours (probably more like 2-3 minutes) of trying this heinous ow I asked Brad to walk the 50 feet (more like a half mile) to the car and grab the #6. Once I received the #6 I promptly put it in the crack and stood on it. Ah yes, this must have been the 5.8 that Paul was talking about.
Brad led the pitch 2 traverse, which was super cruiser. At one point he was standing on something like 5 equalized pieces all of which were placed in a sand box. Following the traverse was also interesting but luckily I could batman up the rope to avoid the sand box. If I remember correctly Lisa cleanly climbed through this section.
Pitch 3 was mostly a bolt ladder; I use the term ‘bolts' here loosely. With a thundercloud moving towards us we decided to save time and link pitch 3 with 4. This saves time but causes some issues when trying to mantel onto the summit. As weird as it sounds we were able to have Lisa jug a rope on the East side of the spire while Brad cleaned the route on the west side of the spire. Be warned! While Brad was cleaning the last pitch the bolt that protects the summit mantel, fell out. This will make the pitch much harder. In case you were wondering, the bolt that fell out was 3/8” X 1½”. Makes you wish you knew how much bolt is behind that rock.
More Pictures from Lisa...
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