Sandia Super Weekend - Aug 2013 
Thursday, August 22, 2013, 10:10 PM - Weekend Fun
I got up at 7:30am Saturday morning to do the round the mountain ride. The few few miles weren't too bad but there was a head wind heading up to Bernallilo. Then the climbing started. I was going fine until the gravel road, where I ran out of water and catastrophically bonked. I was only on the last 3 miles of gravel before intersecting the crest road but without water it was hopeless. I meant to grab a couple cliff bars on the way out of the house too, but I somehow forgot. Plus, the slow riding while dodging rocks and patches of washboard road was really hard on the skinny tires. Eventually, I couldn't keep it up and I had to start walking. I ran into a east mountains man missing some teeth who offered me water in an antifreeze jug. After he took a swig, I gave it a smell and filled up my bottle. After that I could ride a 1/2 mile before needing to rest some more. After 3 looong miles of this, I finally ended up on the paved crest road. Finally I got up there and rolled down to the ski area, climbed the final hill at about 3 mph, and then sailed down to the Lizard Grill on North 14. I was too exhausted to bother braking so the turns were a little exciting. At the restaurant, I stuffed myself on a veggie burrito and easily drank 5 monster cups of water and lemonade to try to get some strength back in my muscles. It worked! I made the final 20 miles home without too much agony. In the end it was a 70 mile ride with 4500 feet of gain. Burly!


At this point, I figured I'm in for a nice evening of rest. WRONG! I got the mountain rescue page out for a mission for a hiker lost somewhere off the trail on La Luz around 7:00. So I loaded up my pack and went out to try and find this guy. Fortunately, I got up to incident base quick enough that I was on the 3-person strike team. The Metro One helicopter spotted the guy using a cell phone GPS waypoint before it got dark, so it was relatively straight forward to hike up to Chimney Canyon and bushwack through the cacti, shrubs, and trees to the GPS coordinates. We had the helicopter use the spotlight to help guide us the last few hundred feet to the guy. The patient was about 20 years old and in the air force, but while trying to hike down from the crest he went exploring and got lost. It seemed strange, but at least he knew to call for help when he ran out of water and it was getting dark. (People sometimes don't do this since they think it'll cost them, but it's completely free!) So we assessed him, gave him some water, and hiked out on the old Chimney Canyon climber trail. The news media was there when we got out to get a shot of the action, but I left pretty quick to go get a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, I was up at 6am to go climbing with Andy, a friend from the mountain rescue team. We planned to do Warpy Moople even though it was at the limits of my skill and comfort zone. Plus there have been some major injuries and deaths on the route, so that makes you think about what you're doing a little more seriously. Turns out it was every bit as challenging as I expected.

P1 - I led slowly, but it wasn't too challenging. Had a hard time placing gear for some reason.

P2 - Andy smoked the 5.9 move off the deck with a handful of cams. I decided halfway up I'd save my strength and aided through the roof, pulling the last couple cams as I moved past them.

P3 - I got hopelessly lost by taking the dihedral up to the roof. The move got very hard, so I planned to down-climb, but then decided to try a hairy traverse. It was tense (!) but I made it through slowly. The opening move was fingertips and smearing--something that I hate with my worn shoes.

P4 - I lead the 5.8 pitch to give Andy the crux. We could have made it to the bolts but the rope drag was too much and I had to make an anchor. There was a small roof that I did get up to, but then found myself wearing out, so I stuck my foot in my cam loop and stood on it. Cheating? Maybe, but I didn't have the least bit of remorse. I clipped the bolts and brought Andy up.

P5 - The scary traverse to 5.9 R face climbing! I don't know how Andy pulled it off, but he got up that thing. I was stressing about that pitch all day, so it was good to finally knock it out. The traverse wasn't so bad except the 25 lb backpack was trying to pull me off the edge. I got though with some small holds and then worked up the face. It was tough climbing, but anywhere that seemed too much, there seemed to be a piece of gear handy that I could give a pull on. I only did this 2-3 times, but it made things much easier for my next pitch. At this point we had drained all our water though, so it was starting to get a little desperate.

P6 - I led the 5.8 face into an offwidth. The face was tough, but I found pro regularly, so I was feeling ok. I chose to traverse right and it was a good decision, this led to easier stuff and the crack to the final belay stance.

P7 - Andy led us up to the top of Muralla Grande. The sun set and I got to climb the final pitch by head lamp. And then it started to rain. And then the lightning started. We found the stashed water and hiked back to the van.

It was 16 hours door-to-door and 11 hrs 45 min roped up. That's a big day! Needless to say, it was a tough bike commute to work Monday.

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