On our first trip (1/8), it was pretty cold when we got there in the morning, so we headed to the Cookie Cliff, one of the warmest crags in the Valley. It contains a host of classic, mostly harder (mid 5.10 to 5.11+ cracks), from one to three pitches.
Our first objective was Outer Limits, 5.10c, one of the cliff's signature climbs.
When we got to the base of the climb, the bottom was really wet (snowmelt), but I decided to go for it, as it would be good training for the Diamond. That turned out to be the right call, as the route lived up to its stellar reputation.
Finger cracks, liebacking and few delicate face moves lead to unrelenting and steep #2 and #3 sized crack. A full 35m. Awesome!
There were several very friendly deer wandering around the base of the Cookie Cliff.
I'm pretty sure I took more photos that day, but I can't seem to find them. Maybe the deer ate the film?
Anyway, we climbed Catchy (5.10d) at the Cookie Cliff, and then Knuckleheads (5.10b) and Sherrie's Crack (5.10c) at Pat and Jack's Pinnacle. Catchy was awesome and on par with Outer Limits in quality. The other two were fun but not super classic.
We celebrated MLK day with another trip to the Valley. Our first objective for the day was Lunatic Fringe (5.10c), a highly-regarded 5.10c on Reed's Pinnacle Cliff.
It's about 140 feet tall, and is possibly my favorite pitch of 5.10, anywhere.
Anna heading up the nice, low-angle jams on the lower part of the pitch.
Into the business.
Cranking through the first crux (steep thin hands).
Though this photo doesn't do it justice, the rock here is gorgeous!
More steep hands and laybacking.
You didn't tell me there would be off-width on this climb!
Another cruxy section of thin laybacks.
And more steep thin hands.
And a final crux of tips laybacks and/or wild face climbing.
Another party was roping up for the route as we rapped off.
From there, we walked over to Stone Groove, a shorter 5.10b. It's much harder than it looks, but is a fun off-fingers challenge. I thought it was maybe harder than Lunatic Fringe, but Anna cruised it.
After Stone Groove, we headed back to the car for lunch. This is a lousy shot of Lunatic Fringe, from the car.
We weren't quite sure what to do next, but finally settled on Reed's Pinnacle Direct (5.10a), a classic 2-3 pitch climb on the same climb. We had climbed Reed's Direct last year and had a sort of mini epic on it. This year, things went much better and we both sent it.
This is pitch 2 of Reed's Direct, as seen from the parking lot. Sustained, steep "hand-locks".
Reed's Pinnacle Cliff. If you look closely, you can see Reed's Direct (white streak on the left side) and Lunatic Fringe (white streak on the right side). Both end less than a third of the way up the cliff (the wall kind of blanks out above them).
The belays on Reed's Direct don't offer any good opportunities for photos, so I didn't get a chance to take any.
We considered trying to do another route afterward, but it was already 4pm and we had a long drive home ahead of us. We were pretty pumped at that point, anyway.
Anna and I were both pretty psyched about how well we climbed. I had five new 5.10 onsights for the month (plus a RP of Reed's Direct), and Anna made vast improvements in crack technique. She was also kicking my butt on most of the thinner cracks.