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|Buffalo Aidfest - 21 & 22 November 2015.
||16-Dec-2015 At 10:41:21 AM
The lead up to those shenanigans was the day before, when TimP accompanied euce and I down Defender, to obtain his wall aspirations fix.
... And an interesting kaleidoscope of perspectives that was too!
After the initial breath-taking commitment to the abseil down Defender we re-belayed our fixed line so as to minimise rope-wear on the rough and rounded top-out, due the anticipated rope-jugging rope-stretch induced movement when we passed back this way again later. This even though the rope-protector had been deployed below the abseil station, as only one in that location is insufficient.
So, bypassing the scungy sixth and seventh pitches, all three of us arrived at euce and my planned bivy spot atop Pitch five.
We then agreed that TimP would descend on the 60 m lead rope with a knotted end loop in it, to the next belay about 50 m lower, that I described to him as consisting of two carrot bolts and a bit of trad gear off to the left side in a crack.
The plan was that euce would follow him down once he had set the lower belay, she'd secure herself to the belay, I'd release the lead line, and they'd take turns leading and belaying each other on that pitch. Meanwhile I'd descend on the static and clean their leads of pro, be available for helpful advice if required, as well as general paparazzi duties, etc.
A good enough plan, yes?
The alluring yet mischievous whispering, or was it roaring(?), of nearby Crystal Brook Waterfall cast her magic spell over our feeble attempts at communication once we separated.
I noted to myself that it was taking him a while to set the new belay, but couldn't see him when peering down the vertical face below, because the required belay is located under a lower minor rooflet.
Crystal Brook must've thought he was OK, as she continued to thwart communication...
Hmm, time to change perspective.
Our plan morphed to rigging the remainder of our static as a loop below our belay, allowing euce and I to descend on separate strands, and then link up with TimP and the original plan, while allowing him the freedom to monopolise the dynamic he was on.
As I arrived at the anticipated belay location as described earlier, I noted some things; ...
Since my last time here, the belay has been upgraded to heavy duty stainless steel hangars and the carrots have been smashed-over as redundant, though if one knows where to look a lower original still exists.
There are a lot more newly placed fixed hangars dotting the free-climb lines on this part of the wall.
Oh, and TimP was nowhere to be found!
Where is TimP? (Far-out, I am saying... Heh, heh, heh.)
Obviously the magic of Crystal Brook was alluring indeed, for she had enticed him to descend closer to her calling, and I could just make him out seemingly about a half rope length lower, below yet another sub-rooflet, but thankfully still a very long way above her clutches. It appears her magic was stymied by him running out of rope while trying to reach her!
I found him recovering his composure by working over a cordalette system trad belay he'd set, to distract himself from such calling...
Iíll insert his feedback here (from a week after that event), that post-trip freaked me out somewhat; ... after he'd got onto his constructed belay and detached from the abseil, it retracted up out of his reach!!!
Hmm. I obviously did not allow for my own false-reality mental model (perspective), that I had of everyone always being attached by rope at all times while on a wall ...
He had to aid up to its dangling end to re-attach himself!
Now that her spell was broken and our communication re-established, I suggested that aiding the extra distance he was below us, was probably not worthwhile as we were comfortable on our own ropes safely out of her siren-call reach!
He agreed and broke down his belay to come up and rejoin, or was that rejoice(?), with us!
After the spell broke!
TimP re-ascends to the skipped belay.
After the reunion celebrations TimP decided that 'time' was a harsher task-master than being seduced by Crystal Brook, and it would be more expedient if he continued jugging up to the higher bivy-belay, where he could comfortably top-rope euce while she obtained her own aid fix, as her perspective hadn't suffered spell-warpage to deter her from it yet.
A very wide perspective aid learning session it turned out to be too; inclusive of trusting 'progress pieces', ... read only two lobes engaged of slcd's, vs well placed protection; husbanding gear then back-cleaning, and leapfrogging pieces as particular sizes ran out; and discovering that combined free-style+aid moves are legitimate in aid, to enable high step access for upcoming placements.
Note: TimP's improvised belay was located about where my rope (lower right hand side) disappears...
Woo-hoo, two slcd lobes actually do hold body-weight!
I was extremely impressed with her determination, resourcefulness and adaptability, as I don't believe many would want to learn those aiding skills in such a radically exposed location as the awesome Defender 5th Pitch, undoubtedly spell-bindingly beautiful as it may be!
A full-on learning location and gutsy effort to say the least.
Her heavy duty learning curve came to a climax not far below the higher belay, when she had to transfer from a widening crack to a smaller one leading up rightwards to the belay.
From a high ett-step position in the wider crack she managed to wide-reach and hastily place a Metolius Link-cam in the narrow right hand crack, and clip her second ett to it. However her body pendulum move onto the newly placed ett caused the link-cam to rotationaly pivot in its placement and the twisting action caused it to ping free, releasing her from the subtle aiding spell that she had woven for herself!
TimP deftly caught her fall and with rope-stretch euce ended up back at my level below her last location, where I had been enjoying the nuances of LittleHammer cleaning of securely placed protection items.
With such a short distance remaining above it gave opportunity to re-assess perspective, and she decided to re-do the transition-crack move so as to stick it; then discard the couple of straightforward moves further above by jugging to the belay. This allowed TimP to jug out and rejoin his family in timely fashion, as the afternoon was now waning.
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