After briefly discussing the possibility of getting in a final weekend climbing on the east side before the freezing temperatures crept in Cody, Michael and I took advantage of a nice weekend weather window and headed out to Vantage for Halloween weekend. We were treated to brisk, dry weather and fewer crowds than usual. Cody got in some awesome leads at high grades… not bad for a gym climber whose only been outside once. Michael worked on endurance. I worked on climbing and leading in general. We arrived Friday night and tentatively drove through the campground road with my car in search of a campsite. The roads are in better condition, though still rocky. The toilet paper problem had definitely improved. We put up Michael massive four person tent… and explained to Cody which way to orient himself as he had never been camping before!

We began the next morning at Sunshine Wall and warmed up on Solar Therapy 5.7… we all found that route uninspiring. Plus the Sunshine Wall routes that we wanted to do afterwards were taken. So instead Michael led us over to the little climbed Moonshine Wall. We had the area to ourselves. We climbed XXX and White Lightning… both excellent 5.9 routes worthy of repeating. Cody also Led of Yo Mario 5.10A… I was unable to get over the crux move in the beginning. I was told that after that the grade eases dramatically though.

After having lunch beside Powerhouse Wall  which features gnarly routes (I left some of Eric’s ashes there so he could check them out and begin projecting) we walked over to the Feathers. Cody led up Arterial Bypass 5.8 and the classic Hardening of the Arteries 5.10A (apparently its has a massive pump factor!). I was over-gripping at this point due to memory flashbacks of Eric so I only did the 5.8 and called it good for the day.

The next day Michael led up Don Coyote 5.8… a awesome route with fun moves that is slightly overhung. Next I led one of my favorite sport routes Updrafts to Heaven 5.5 which begin as a fun chimney and finished on the face. A tight squeeze rappel though! Michael and Cody climbed Satan’s Wagon 5.10B (fun, but hard classic) and Blood Blister 5.10A on Satan’s Pillar. With them tired from the tough routes I took my turn and led up Feather in My Cap 5.5 (like a staircase and not much fun) and Ruffled Feathers 5.7 (much more fun). We finished the day on Desert Shield 5.9 led my Cody. He didn’t find it inspiring, but I loved the touch moves over the bulge. Content we packed up and headed home… driving right into the rain as we crossed onto the west side!



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