Friday, August 31, 2007

Tahquitz and Suicide Rock

Earlier this month my friend Justin and I packed up the truck and headed to Idyllwild to see what all the fuss was about with Tahquitz and Suicide Rock. Right off the bat we were impressed with the 45 degree uphill hike that put a burn in our legs and about drained half of our water supplies. Our first day we hit Suicide Rock and climbed a mellow two-pitch route to get a lay of the land and give me a chance to get my trad feet back under me. It had been almost two years since I was climbing trad regularly out at the Gunks and I had only placed gear once or twice since out at Joshua Tree.

Suicide Rock was amazing and the climbing was excellent with great gear placements. Everything was super sticky and the belay ledges were comfy. Not to mention, the views were spectacular.

Day two we headed straight to Tahquitz with a very slow start in our day not even reaching the crag until about noon. We decided to take down an “easy” multi-pitch 5.7 on the north side of the rock. Pitch one was kinda dicey in that I definitely didn’t have enough small pieces to be on that route and had to get creative and run it out at the top. The belay ledge was confusing in that it seemed non-existent, was very uncomfortable and there weren’t great placements to make it a relaxing experience.

Next, I headed off on pitch two where I was about twenty feet from the next belay ledge and about fifteen feet run-out before I realized there were no placements under a #4 cam, which I had none of. Evidently, the guide book stated you need plenty of small pro and up to a #4 cam. Ooops.

At this point I didn’t feel like taking any more chances and getting to a belay ledge where I had no pro that would fit and would be belaying for a beginner who was only on his second day of trad climbing and maybe sixth day of climbing at all. We were also out of water, baking in the sun…the list of excuses goes on and on. Instead of continuing to run it out and top the mysterious route, we decided to bail – submitting to Tahquitz.

Regardless if I got put in my place, we got some great experience out of it and enjoyed the time we had on the rock and in Idyllwild. Overall I highly recommend the area, but would definitely suggest you climb only the starred routes, which this was not one of.

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