Today as Matt and I were getting ready to climb, we started to talk with a father camping with his daughter. We found out that Nicole had always wanted to climb, so we invited her to come with us. Chris, her father, is not fond of heights, but told her she could climb if she promised to be careful.
After watching a couple climbs, Nicole was ready to go for her first climb. Dirty Ernie was the routes name. It was a 5.7 that followed a flake crack. Wearing Matt’s shoes and my harness, she worked her way up to the top. For this being her first climb, I was very impressed.
The weather looked like it could turn foul at any time, but we continued to climb. Doing routes 5.6-5.8 Matt or I would lead, Nicole would follow on toprope, and one of us would climb to clean the anchors. Not wanting to waste any of the climbable weather, we didn’t stop for lunch until two. Chris faithfully kept us supplied with snacks and orange juice and prepared lunch once we were ready. Even though climbing wasn’t his interest, he cared about it because it mattered to one he loved.
Even though Matt was a far better climber than Nicole or myself, he patiently did routes below his level. He did end up doing one route that was particularly challenging though: a 90 foot 5.11+ called Xenophenia. Falling a number of times at the cruxy last two bolts, Matt stayed determined and found the path to the top. Neither Nicole or myself were interested in attempting this challenge.
We ended the day on a short 5.6 that followed an arete. To reach the start, a short class 4 scramble was needed and the first bolt was about half way up the route. To the right was a deep and narrow crevasse that would not be fun to fall into. Even though the route was well below my limit, I was glad to reach that first bolt. Nicole followed and Matt came through last. We reached the end of our climbing day at eight o’clock.