After getting beat up on the Lower Town wall on first, “City Park, pitch 2”, and second, the beginning of “Sloe Children”, I came back home really defeated and covered with bruises. Sam and I had planned to climb at Index the following day. I told her before I wanted to try “Davis Holland”, but suddenly I was doubting first ability to do it and worrying about my lack of strength. I’m not sure how it happened, but we still decided to go for it. It was our first time going to the Upper Town Wall. We got to the Parking lot around 1pm, and started walking along the train tracks toward the “Tunnel area”. then as I read, headed up the trail, taking the right forks as every turn. It took us about 30 minutes to get to the Upper Town Wall.
The start of “Davis Holland” is easy to spot: the second right facing corner pitch can be seen from the trail, looking left. I was really tired from the day before, and hoping Sam and I would switch leads. The first pitch of this route is advertised as usually wet. It was fully dry for us! That was a first good news. Sam lead the first pitch clean, a tricky 5.9 crack. She stopped at the anchor of “Green Drag-on”, to the right if the “Davis Holland” anchors so we moved the belay from there.
I then headed the second pitch, a 5.10A straightforward long and beautiful corner. It started with fingers, then widened to tight hands with a bit of little off width towards the end. The crux for me was the first bulge. I took 4 green camalots for this pitch, ended up needing two but still placed the remaining two before and after the offwidth section. I was looking at the roof start atop of me while belaying Sam up. Ugh. We had taken a #5 to protect the roof, not knowing how difficult it might be. It was overkill, but seemed like a good and reassuring idea. There was a fixed piece under the roof too, but clipping it would induce a lot of drag.
Sam started leading, a bit nervous to do her first 5.10B/C at Index (which is a big deal!). We couldn’t see what the climb looked like past the roof, so she was climbing in the unknown. On top of that, another climber below had told her she needed a #00 to protect this climb, which was absolutely untrue. She made it past the roof after placing the #5. I couldn’t see her anymore and just encouraged her to keep going. That climb was so fun! I actually enjoyed it more than the pitch I lead, The roof is not too hard, just really, really intimidating. It’s probably better not to protect it and embrace bouldering. The corner crux is thin and technical, but luckily not too long. We then decided to stop and rappel the route (we had a 70 meter rope), after quickly glancing at “Loving Arms”. We got back down really excited about this route, deciding to do it again soon, and hopefully make it to the top of the Upper Town Wall. Nice day and fun pushing ourselves!
I repeated that route with Sara on 7/2/2015. It was supposed to be 95F that day and this route is in the sun until around 3pm, so we decided to really really early.
We camped the night before, woke up at 3:30am, and made it to the Upper Town Wall at 5am. We were already sweating way too much. What an idea to climb in that heat!
I got to lead all the pitches this time, and it didn’t feel too hard. I must be a morning person, it’s easier for me to focus straight out of the bed (or air mattress, in that case!).
Some shenanagins happened though. On the third pitch, I was belaying Sara too tight so it was hard / impossible for her to get past the roof. We could hardly hear each other, it was hard to communicate. She was telling me to put her “off belay”, which I was reluctant to do for safety reasons. I ended up just giving her slack, while she remained on belay. I lost one climbing shoe while trying to get closer to the edge of the ledge. Then I ended up rappelling down to her, to make sure she was OK and understand what was happening.
I knew that I was belaying her too tight but I was also afraid to scare her by giving her more slack to go through the roof/traverse!
Did Again with Andreas later in July. No problem! I begin to know this route by heart.