Calculus Crack, Tristan Hechtel on pitch one
On our first clear day, we again headed up to climb Calculus Crack. Though wet, we thought we could climb it even if some water remained in the crack. We took a good look at the Apron and discovered that, at the end of the first pitch of “5.7 tree-and-rock climbing” there was a small jog to the left to a supposedly “clean corner (5.8)” to reach Baseline ledge. We’d missed this crack our first time up, when we accidentally climbed St. Vitus Dance Direct.
We headed left at the top of the 5.7 tree pitch to a corner that was anything but clean. Water streamed down the crack and, though less tree-covered than the previous pitch, more plants grew here than anywhere else we’d climbed. After surmounting our second wet, bushy approach pitch, we arrived at a nice-looking crack. I headed up the pitch, which turned out to be off-width, with good footholds in the crack, since it’s low angle, but not full of good hand jams. Since we’d still not added the extra big gear to our rack, I tied off small trees and shrubs in the next crack beside me (which would have been much easier to walk up, since it had footsteps in the mud, but I didn’t want to get my shoes wet, nor did I trust my traction on sloping mud). Clearly, climbing in wet areas requires some adjustments and skills we lack!
The next pitch made up for all the mud. Tristan led a perfect finger and hand crack on clean (and dry) rock over the short headwall and up to easier terrain.
I’d definitely recommend this climb if the approach is dry. I’m not sure when that occurs, as we’ve not seen more than three consecutive days without rain! It was fun even when wet, but it’s harder and less secure.