Our next stop for the day was Ultraman Wall. There are 8 routes here, ranging from 5.6 to 5.9, from 100' to 165' tall. I kinda wanted to get on Ultraman, a 110' slab, but it was rated 5.8+ and I wasn't feeling my oats quite THAT much. :-/ So I decided we would go up Scent of Ultraman, a reasonably well protected (7 bolts) 110' long 5.7 route (noted by the green line in the photo), and the first one we came to when we finally worked our way over and up to the base of the slab. Since it was another bolted route, as I geared up and Michelle and Claudia flaked out the ropes, I left my trad rack reluctantly in the pack, and loaded up with all of my quickdraws. Gazing up the rock wall I could see the first four bolts fairly readily. I was admittedly a little bit nervous, for once again, a new route into the unknown. But I've been on 5.7 slab on Stone Mountain where pitches can run 200' with only a couple bolts for protection. Here I'd have 7 in 110'. That made me feel muuuuch better. :-)
Ropes flaked, I started to head up. The first bolt was 20' above me. I reached it with no problem. In fact, the getting to the next few bolts was almost boring. I grew concerned that my partners of the day would be in tears from such an unexciting route.
However, by the 4th or 5th bolt (can't remember now), the route got a little spicy. Suddenly my attention was torn from the landscape behind me (see photo right; the parking area faintly visible is from where we started the morning; the visitor center is the low building in the distance before the hills) to finding exactly how I was going to make the next moves. NOW we were talking! I gingerly made a few moves up a steep section of the slab, delicately placing my feet on small holds, gripping edges with my finger tips, until I could get to the next bolt and clip it.
But it wasn't over with yet. The fun continued until I got to the last bolt, then the climbing eased off a bit.
We had thought to try and set a top-rope up on Clutch Cargo, a 5.9 to the right of Scent of Ultraman, but as I looked over to the anchors 15' away, I could not see an easy way of reaching them. I thought maybe I could get to them after rappeling down. So I continued up the last 15' into a semi-sheltered alcove with chains at the top of my route.
I then belayed Michelle and Claudia up. They came up without any problems, but both noted that they could easily tell when the 5.7 section hit. :-) (photo at left is of Michelle just getting into the 5.7 portion of the route). Then we rigged the rappel line and they went back down. I followed last, and attempted to bounce over to the anchors for Clutch Cargo. Alas, I was only able to get within 4-5' before I was pulled forcefully back by the extreme angle of the rope to the anchors we were rapping from. No way could I get over to set up the top rope.
As it was starting to get la
Despite the hour of t
We drove around the loop road and found Carlos and Francesca's car at one of the last pull-off parking areas to the canyon climbing areas. We were about to leave a note when they breathlessly came running up to their car. It was quite late by this point, about 5:45p, and Carlos was aware of the late departure fines. But the parking area was still fairly full, so we didn't think there'd be any major problems for them. We headed back to Vegas to grab showers before they arrived (five people, one shower, gotta plan this out carefully!).