We lucked out again as Sunday proved to be a cloudy day with hardly any sun out in the desert of the Frenchman Coulee or Vantage as we climbers call it. We had only a half day to spend climbing as Eric didn’t want to get home too late (160 mile drive). We decided to spend a few hours at The Feathers: a line of pillars just beside the road and campsites of the Frenchman Coulee.

The routes on the Feathers are short and sweet ranging from 5.0-5.11+. All of them (with two exceptions) are bolted sport climbs. It is usually essential to begin climbing prior to 9:00am  here for two reason. First, this is where most climbers flock to since the rock in right beside the road. Second, it gets hot really fast (the sun first hits the west side, then the east side about an hour later). Today neither of those factors were in play.

We began by warming up on the “Becky Route” 5.7 on the West Wall. It is one of the longer climbs on the Feathers with some tough sequences and long reaches (for short folks like us). Eric and I then headed over to the famous lone standing tower beside the main wall of the  known as Satan’s Pillar. There are several routes on the tower  including  the two star “Blood Blister” 5.10a. Eric lead up this one with several falls, not due to technique, but the mental game. He sent the route though of course! Next I led up one of my favorite routes on inside a gap in the main beside Satan’s Pillar wall “Updrafts to  Heaven” 5.5. This is an awesome chimney route that easy but is heaps of fun. I highly recommend it even if you climb 5.13!

Me leading "Updrafts to Heaven" 5.5 chimney

Me leading “Updrafts to Heaven” 5.5 chimney

We moved to the West side to send “That’s so Funny I Forgot to Laugh” 5.9, a fun arete climb. Then we moved back East for “Feather in May Cap” 5.5.. an easy but reachy vertical wall. Then we hit “Desert Shield”, another 5.9 arete. There are several new routes that do not appear in the guidebook Frenchman Coulee. Eric climbed an unnamed route near “Don Coyote” which had a small roof in the middle of the wall, He suggested it was rated anywhere from 5.9-5.10b.

Eric wanted to get in one more tough, classic before we headed home. Eric logged some more air time on “Medicine Man” a 5.10a, but again his perseverance paid off and he topped out gracefully!

 

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