4th of July Weekend - Part1: Barn Bluff

The 4th of July Holiday weekend was a busy time for me!  Now that I've finally got some photos edited I thought it was about time to share some of the fun that was had!

Starting Friday morning I met up with Nick, Wei, and Madeline to drive down to Red Wing, Minnesota to do some sport climbing at Barn Bluff.  Residing along the Mississippi River Valley an hours drive southeast of the Twin Cities, Barn Bluff is comprised of Oneota Dolomite, which offers many a crimpy hold for climbers to attempt to stick to.  This can be especially difficult in the summer months when the sun is beating down on the cliff face.  

Nick about to climb as Wei waits to belay

The day started with a warm-up on Looking For Lust(5.9).  I made my way slowly up this climb. The holds felt a little greasy, possibly sandy, and with each move I was unsure of where to place my feet.  But I stayed relaxed during the ascent and eventually made it to the top without taking a fall.

Nick making his way up!

From here we made our way around to the Cyclops Area.  Nick set up the draws on Work Ethic, and seeing him move up the route reminded me that I had tried this climb 3 years earlier during my first visit to Barn Bluff.  On my first go I fell a few times but eventually made it to the top.  I came back down for a rest and some water, then took a shot at Suicide Squeeze and managed to flash it!   

Brian, Wes and Madeline refueling.

After another rest period and a PB & J I was ready to give Work Ethic another shot.  I made it past the second draw and fell moving through the crux.  At this point I came down to the ground, determined to do the route from the bottom. I gave it another go (okay the two draws were still clipped, but who cares, right? :) This time I moved more confidently through the lower crux with some new beta which included a bump from one right-hand undercling to another slightly higher, before moving to the high left-hand crimp-rail.  Moving up the climb I came to another difficult spot with a right-hand gaston from which you have to move to a high left-hand pocket.  I sat there for what felt like several seconds.  It felt as though my right hand could slip from the gaston at any moment and my feet were not secure either.  But with my fellow climbers yelling encouragement at me from below, I knew I had to make it work.  I shifted the fingers of my right hand and managed to find a slightly more incut part of the hold and found a better left foot.  From this position I was able to step down on my foot, push with my right hand, and reach my left into the high pocket.  After this I moved my right hand up to a good jug and from there it was a cake walk.  The ascent may not have been in perfect style, but getting all the moves down in one go was still very gratifying, and I hope to make it up the wall more smoothly next time!

Ryan on Roof Burner

After clilmbing Work Ethic I was feeling pretty pumped. My climbing endurance is pretty poor considering I'm mostly a boulderer, but we battled on to attempt Living All Over Me.  This was probably my favorite route of the day.  There is some very cool movement in and coming out of the crux gaston move.  I managed to make it to the top hangdogging a few times along the way, but it's always good to have projects!
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