New Jack City – Trip Report

Awww How Cute...Climbergirl and her Man Walter Runs up Walk in the Park

On Sunday morning, Walter picked Dennis & I up in his ultra comfy Honda CRV. We drove the 2 hours to NJC. They talked about football whilst I nodded off. We reached the crag around 10am. There were a few scattered vehicles there, but our wall “Sunnyside” was void of climbers.

Dennis & Walter before his "Walk in the Park" Walk in the Park A Portrait Pic of Walter

“Woo-hoo, what luck, we’ve got the wall to ourselves!”, we marvelled. However, just as we had finished warming up on the apptly named 5.8 “Walk in the Park”, my fears were realized. Suddenly, a group of 6 climbers and 3 dogs shows up.

It was so quiet, warm, and uplifting before they came. The contrast was night and day. They unceramoniously scattered the contents of their climbing bags all over the base of Sunnyside. Claiming the three best moderate routes at the crag, without narry a greeting (or acknowledgement) of our presence. I could tell by their mannerisms that they were used to this mode of conduct, but I found it rude and pretentious.

First off, they started spewing beta and bantering about all the 5.12’s in the area. Being sure to state loudly that they were “only going to be at Sunnyside for 1 hour to warm up”. Fact is, they stayed until closing time! And, they were constantly gossiping about people. Usually, I don’t mind and actually enjoy overhearing peoples conversations-but EEEGAAADS, all day of “He said She said” was driving me insane.

We took off to do Cheap Lipstick (5.9) around the corner in the chilly windy dirt pile gully. We THOUGHT when we came back that they would be GONE. Wrong again.

They had covered the crag in ropes. There were only 3 sets of climbers, but there were 4 ropes up (two of which were blowing in the wind)! And FOUR people were standing around watching ONE dude “climb” a 5.12 on a rope that was Stick Clipped through to the 3rd bolt.

I think it’s cool to use a Stick Clip to work a “project” or to protect a scary start. But this guy was obviously not ready to lead at that level. He basically got boinked up by his belayer until the 5.12 part of the climb was over. He then climbed up to one more bolt and proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes making zero progress.

In any case, I think it’s cool he was “climbing hard”-but the three dudes standing around at the bottom who were NOT climbing but who were happy to put ropes all over the wall were decidedly NOT cool.

Climbergirl belaying Walter up Fun in the Sun Clare looking forward to laybacking the small crack in the dihedral.

After Cheap Lipstick, we came back to the crowded house. Walter had chatted with a member of the group and put our rope “in line” at the base of a really fun 5.9 dihedral called “Fun In The Sun”. Walter almost got the onsight, but had to figure out the foot sequence at the crux. After a couple different tries, he got it, and then later went back for the redpoint. Dennis had no problem and did it clean on TR.

Walter going for the Redpoint on FITS Walter goes Left of the crack. Woo-hoo!  Walter got the Redpoint of FITS

So after FITS, I was ready to lead something a bit more challenging. The LA groups’ ropes were still up on the wall, apparently Caspar the Ghost was trying for the Redpoint on the 5.10b, and his sister Casparella was rappelling off of the 5.10c. Finally, they acknowledged the wall hogging (without appologizing) and their superbly chatty photographer came over and pulled their rope. (She left it laying in the dirt!).

Walter dips into Gold Finger

I had my pick of climbs…finally after waiting half the day! I asked for a recommendation, and the LA guys told me the one on the right (Gold Finger) was “more funner”. This is the ONLY reason I’m happy they were there that day.

Clare Cleaning Gold Finger 10b Dennis Flying up Gold Finger Dennis at the crux of Gold Finger

Gold Finger was the *most* fun of all the climbs I did that day. It is tricky down below, with a bulge at the top. Super fun. I didn’t get the onsight, opting to grab a draw for the crux clip and take a couple hangs to figure out my feet. I can’t wait to go and redpoint that one, and also Chick Flakey-which I tried a couple weeks ago.

After cleaning Gold Finger, I set up the one on the left called Dr. Know (5.10c) as a TR. I had to take twice at the top because I was out of sequence. After figuring it out, I must admit, it’s a strange route. I think I’d want to do it on TR once more before attempting it.

Walter Rapping off of the 5.10c

Walter did me a huge favor by plugging his way up to the anchors. It was truly a battle he was fighting. Undoubtedly, the “Christmas Spirit” that has lingered with him after the holidays wasn’t helping him much. But even with the extra weight, I can tell his technique is NOT suffering!!!

It’s just the sweetest thing to see him working the 5.10+ routes with such pluck. I told him that we need a new rating called 5.10w for “Walter”. That got some good laughs. Anyways, for his first time out since Thanksgiving, he did great. He did 200+ pitches last year, so watch out world for the Runklenator!

Speaking of good climbing, Dennis did just dandy on the climbs yesterday. He got up to the anchors clean, and made it look easy. He was climbing strong, and looking fit. I’m so happy his new Five Ten Newton climbing shoes fit and work well for him. As Walter put it, “He is definitely using his height to his advantage.”. Good for Dennis!

All in all, it was a good day of climbing. In spite of the hostile takeover, we managed to have a good time. The ride home went fast. We listened to classic rock on Walter’s new IPOD 30GIG Nano. We talked some of movies we have recently watched, and da guys talked more about football-while I….nodddeddddd….offffffffffffffffff.

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