Sespe Gorge, Black Wall - Trad Climbing
My plans for this past weekend went from hiking my butt off to climbing here at Sespe Gorge with my friend Jake and his family! I probably needed to hike to train for this next weekend, but I really have a hard time saying no to a climbing day, even if its only for a few hours.
Jake invited me to join him and his family on Saturday here at the Black Wall in Sespe Gorge to do some trad climbing. I've done quite a bit of sport climbing over the past year or so, but haven't done really any trad climbing because I don't own any of the gear.
First up, we climbed a route called Ending Crack (5.7 trad), and my first time on it I just toproped it. Then Jake convinced me to lead it. This was my first time placing gear, so I left up some of his placed gear from the top rope and practiced placing gear in between his for my first pass of the route.
Jake had my camera, so I actually have pictures of myself on the routes this trip... and this butterfly :)
The crack was super positive, and on top rope the route was a piece of cake. On lead, I was slightly more nervous, but I realize it was mostly in my head.
Jake's kids entertained themselves playing in the stream by the crag. They also gave me the name Apple, not sure why, but I accepted the new name for the rest of the day.
The most nerve wracking part of trad climbing was placing the gear and wondering if it would hold me if I fell.
This crag was pretty sweet, and had lots of plant life...
And was this amazing sandstone.
The end of the first pitch of this route is a traverse to the right to a set of bolts. There is a second pitch, but we didn't do it today (will have to come back i guess!).
Top of Ending Crack's first pitch.
Poison oak all over the place.
Beth, Jake's wife, led the route after me.
I belayed and chatted with the kiddos, while Jake took most of the photos this trip.
The second route, Tree Root, I onsight lead (the first pitch). It was maybe a 5.6 trad route.
It was interesting because not all the gear placements were straight forward, and I found myself placing gear under flakes at times instead of in a crack.
And at one point I had about 12 ft of runout because there was literally no place to place gear.
But it was awesome! You can see both of the two cracks I climbed in the picture below.
California is pretty amazing like that... literally it feels like you drive and can find crags all over the place on the sides of roads.
I'm really glad I decided to go climb with Jake, Beth, and his kids on Saturday because this crag was amazing and I got to do something I've never done before... lead 2 trad routes. I'll definitely be coming back here to finish up the second pitches of these routes and try some of the other trad climbs on this wall. That being said, now I want to climb more trad, and need to save up some cash to buy a nice rack of cams and nuts... which aren't cheap at all. Hmm.. I never thought I'd say I wanted to buy a new rack, but I guess California got the best of me. Damn that peer pressure.