Matt offered to take me up Westeron Wynde (5.9) in the Sandias. I couldn't pass on the rare opportunity to get on a climb which is beyond my comfort zone.
When we arrived at the parking area for the Sandia Crest trail, the chilly wind was howling. We decided to at least do the approach hike before calling it a day so that we would at least know how to find it in the future. By the time we arrived at the base of the climb, the wind had calmed significantly, so we decided to give it a go.
Matt, just before starting up the first pitch
Seeing the warm, sunny rock on the opposite side of Echo Canyon was a bit torturous from my cold, shaded vantage. My feet were quite numb before I started following Matt up the first pitch.
Matt working his way into an awkward bulge
Matt plugging some gear before pulling the crux move of the first pitch
In an attempt to reach a sunny belay ledge, Matt stretched out the rope and linked the first pitch with 90% of the second pitch. I then led a very short distance to a belay ledge for the third pitch. While belaying Matt up, I snapped a quick photo of the tram passing by the mouth of Echo Canyon.
looking down on Bush Shark Spire from the second belay
looking down the route (Matt set up the first belay at the ledge with the dead limb)
self portrait on the second belay ledge
Matt smiling from a very airy position at the top of the route
Even though both of us would rather have been skiing, we managed to make the most of an unusually warm December day in the Sandias.
Once we got back to the car, I took a meat hammer to Matt's knuckles because he refused to stop singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" during the hike out.