This past weekend I put up my first climb, which I named Franklin’s Tower (after a song from my favorite band the Grateful Dead). It is a fun and varied mixed climb* just north of town on Poncho’s Vista. For better or worse I was committed to putting up my first climb on lead so needless to say it was pretty exciting.** I drilled the first bolt from a stance and the second hanging from a hook. About 2/3rds of the way up there is a sweet finger crack that leads to either a ledge on the right or a direct finish straight up the face. It goes at hard 5.11 with 2 bolts for 40′ to anchors.
It was cool to see such an obvious and aesthetic line not yet established so close to town. This area still has great potential.
*”Mixed” means that the climber uses both fixed bolts, drilled and placed by someone like Jed, and removable camming devices (cams) to protect him or her from a fall. Climbs with only bolts for protection are referred to as
“sport” climbs, whereas climbs protected only by removable cams and gear are referred to as “traditional” or “trad” climbs.
**Climbs can either be established “on lead” or “on rappel.” Bolting on rappel is considered much easier- it involves approaching the route from the top, drilling the anchors at the very top of the climb first, and then lowering down the face and drilling and placing the bolts while hanging on the rope. Bolting on lead is much less secure- Jed had to carry all his hardware, his drill, etc with him from the ground up;
falling was certainly a risk.
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