After spending much of July in the front country due to the east side fires and Eric’s sudden illness it was a relief to be back outside on the rock this weekend. Jeff and I drove to Exit 38Friday morning, arriving at the trail head for Far Side at about 7:45am. After some wandering within the intertwining maze of trails we finally made it to Interstate Park…named to the view of I-90 below. There are copious sport climbs in the area, both long and short routes. Most route at in the 5.6-5.10b range.

The day was forecasted to be hot, bright and sunny. All bad things in my book. Luckily and good amount fo routes were shaded by trees. We began on some easy short pitches In the “Swerve” 5.7, “Midnight Scrambler” (5.7) and “Nocturnal Remission” (5.8). We both led the routes to get in an much lead practice as possible, plus we were in no hurry. Next e climbed “Swarm” (5.7) which shares and anchor with a 5.10b “Carnage Before Bedtime”. We left the rope up and top roped the 5.10b which included a cruxy diagonal finger crack with a secret hold. I struggled and ended up doing and heel hook boulder move which i would never do on lead. Jeff  repeated the route on lead!

We traveled further up the trail to do the Multipitch which combines the lower :” Eating Dust” (5.6) with the long (10 bolts) upper pitch “Insomniac” 5.8. I led the first pitch which began with a gigantic high step boulder move to get onto the bulge to access open book pitch. The belay station chain were, of course, located in full sunshine. I baked there while belayed Jeff up the second pitch which is great fun. One must be certain to make a right turn and the small pillar (there is a bolt on it) and not follow the grassy ledge. Some heart pumping fun moves on top, but really textured rock.

There was one route we both really wanted to do, a 4 star 5.7 called “Kiss of the Crowbar”. There was a group in front of us so we waited. It shouldn’t have taken long, but the neighboring group was climbing a 5.8 that shared an anchor with “Kiss of the Crowbar” and they believed it was unsafe to have two people on the chains for some reason…they were very inexperienced and refused to believe Jeff when we explained it was safe. So we had to wait until everyone was done with both routes which results in us sitting around for over an hour. But it was the hottest part of the day, so we didn’t mind so much. Finally we both led up the route. The first clip was about 15-20 feet off the ground (maybe more) and the most difficult section. Most clips were a bit hidden since the blocky route was slightly overhung. The holds were solid though the the route definitely deserved it 4 start rating, great fun! We packed up and headed out after we both completed the route at 4:00pm. Great day and we avoided most of the sun!

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