Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitties climb outside at Little Si: fun and success for all!

Last week, I kicked off the beginning of July by climbing outside with a group of three other Whitties–Tristan, Tom and Sebastian–at Exit 32, better known as Little Si. Little Si (near Mount Si) is a short, family friendly hike (2.2 miles one-way) but it is also a very popular local crag for Seattle climbers. I’ve only been to Little Si once before, but I’ve wanted to go again for a while…so I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to do so!  Little Si is only about an hour or so from Seattle so it’s the perfect area for a day trip.

The trip went nearly perfectly–we ran into a few minor problems during the day but none of them stopped everyone from having fun and being safe.  The first issue we ran into was that the guidebook I brought for the area was pretty outdated. It was made in 1999 and a lot of new routes have been established in Little Si since then so we had some trouble finding the climbs we wanted to do. Fortunately, the other climbers there helped us find the routes we wanted to do and prevented us—many times–from jumping on the wrong routes. Nonetheless, when I intended to climb an easy, breezy 5.9, I accidentally jumped on a rather hard 5.10c. All the holds were slick and slopey.  Noticing that the “5.9” I was attempting was suspiciously difficult I traversed over to bigger holds, which turned out to be the 5.9 I wanted to climb- which was called “Devil’s Advocate.” Someone in our group also forgot a harness, but that really wasn’t a big deal since we were able to share harnesses.

Other than that, the trip truly went well.  For many reasons (not in any specific order):

1.The weather was perfect: cloudy, but rainy, neither too warm nor too hot. When I was resting or belaying I wore a jacket but when I was climbing I was perfectly comfortable in a tank top and capris and never got too sweaty.

2. I had great climbing partners: All of the guys I climbing with were really easygoing, fun to talk to, and like me (at least I’m assuming), love to climb outside.  They were also safe, experienced climbers so I never felt at any point that my safety–or anyone’s safety–was in jeopardy. We all wore helmets, and no one got hurt in the least-unless you count my fingers bleeding a little.

3. Other people were nice. The other climbers (not in our group) that we ran into were extremely nice, helpful and even supportive. I saw Josh–who I know from climbing at Vertical World–and one of his friends. We also met a couple that were friendly and really helped us find routes due to the guidebook dilemma (see above paragraph).

4. The climbs were fun for everyone. Our climbing group was comprised of climbers of a variety of ability levels, but we were able to find routes that were appropriate for everyone. For instance, we warmed up on a great, three-star 5.9 called “Reptiles and Amphetamines” that everyone was able to lead without too much trouble.  But I also was able to try “Rainy Day Woman”, a classic 5.12a for the area. This route was perfect for me since I wanted a route that was both fun and challenging.

5. This outing was both fun and successful. As I said in my previous blog entry, I’ve noticed I tend to climb better or be more ‘successful’ when I’m having fun.  This trip only reinforced this observation. Everyone got up some climbs, seemed to being having fun (as I’ve emphasized many times) and it looked like everyone was trying their best. Personally, I was excited to have a relatively successful first attempt on Rainy Day Women. I did not do it without falling but I only took/fell twice. However, I would not have done that well if I did not get some good beta from Josh and some support/belaying from my fellow Whitties.  I also had fun on the route and enjoyed both the movement and that it was nice and long–80 feet to be exact!

But this is hopefully only one of many trips I will make to climb outside this summer. I’m desperate to get back to Little Si and redpoint Rainy Day Woman as well as try some of the other 5.12s there.  And I just made plans to climb outside with my friend Kayla at Vantage, Wash.–a desert like area that is conveniently much drier than the Greater Seattle Area.

Climbing Dictionary (for those new to/less familiar with climbing):

Slopey(adj.): Climbing holds that are characterized by being round with little to no edges. The noun is sloper. I don’t like slopers much at all because I find them difficult to hold on to.

Traverse (v.) (“traversed” in entry): To climb in a sideways direction.

Lead (v.): To lead is to clip the rope into carbiners, called quickdraws, as you ascend a climbing wall. If you fall, you will fall to wherever your last quickdraw is located, so lead climbing has the potential for big falls.  Lead climbing (“lead” can also be a noun) is often distinguished from top roping. Top roping is when a climber climbs up a wall where the rope is already clipped into an anchor at the top of the wall. Top roping is ideal for beginners because it does not require the climber to clip into quickdraws and if they fall, they will not fall very far. This is complicated stuff to explain (which is why I’ve put off defining it for so long) so if you’re still confused put these terms into Google images–it makes more sense when you see it.

Beta (n.): Advice on how to do a certain move or series of moves on a specific climbing route.

Redpoint(n.):  To complete a route without taking or falling at all.

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