Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grand Teton Multi Pitch Level 2 Class with Exum

Longest workout ever…

Our multi pitch level 2 with Exum consisted of almost 11 hours of learning, hiking, belaying, and about 5.9 climbs. 

It's our Day 2 for Multi Pitch Class with Exum! Neal and I are waiting to start at the guide post!

We arrived at about 7:30am, didn’t actually break for lunch until about 3pm and left the mountain around 6pm.  I had to snack a lot of protein bars and trail mix to keep my energy.  I was grouchy due to lack of breaking for lunch.  I now know that I need to tell my guide when I need to stop to eat.  Thankfully our guides, Susan & Micah, were great, even when I was grouchy!
We started off bouldering and learning some techniques for down climbing on rock and testing the rock for slick spots.  Susan and Micah also taught us to smear with our foot rather than edging the foot along the rock while climbing.  Smearing is something I am not use to, but it’s very helpful when you don’t have a huge hold for your feet.  Smearing is very literal, your portion of the sticky shoes smear across the rock for footing.
Kim climbing with her feet smearing.

Also, we learned chimney-ing (not sure how to spell that) and stemming when you are in a crack.  Chemney-ing is when your butt and arms are on one wall and your feet are on the other wall and your shimmy your way up by pushing down with your hands and smearing with your feet.  Stemming is when your right hand and right leg are on one wall and your left hand and left foot are on the other.

Then the belaying and climbing started.  We all were tied into each other with the rope and climbed on boulders to practice our belaying.  Then we did 2 more difficult climbs.  I freaked myself out and fell on the very first grip, Kim did the same thing after climbing a little higher, Neal slipped once, and Dad fell at the very top at the end of our last climb of the day.  Greg was the only one in our group, besides our guides, that was able to climb without falling.  He has experience climbing natural rock.  For the rest of us, this was the first time we climbed on natural rock.  I would call it very successful! 
This is the area where we climb and a little map of the routes.

My leg may not have liked the fall, but it was great training for my mind so not to freak out as much when I am thousands of feet above the ground on the side of a ledge.

Climbing was slightly annoying today because we had multiple pitches (routes within a climb) where after we belayed we were waiting on a ledge to do your next pitch along with 2-3 other people.  It’s a good thing we are all family and like each other, because those are close quarters!  Our ropes would tangle a little and we would have to find a way out by ‘jump roping’ the rope of your back and under your feet or doing ‘yoga hand’ to get the rope from around your back.
You can see the multiple pitches in this route.

Think of 3 people, each with two 50 foot ropes attached to them, each person having one rope attached securely to a wall with very little slack, the extra rope in piles around their feet, all on a 3ft by 1 ft space, all a few hundred feet above the ground.  That’s terrifying and exhilarating!

Thank goodness we have a day off to recuperate before climbing the Grand on Wednesday and Thursday!

Have a great day and try something new! (No, you don’t have to stand on a 1 foot ledge 100 feet in the air!)

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