Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Climbing at the Sanctuary by Georgetown Hospital

Last Sunday, Sean and I decided to try out a climbing area we've never hit before. We got the Austin Rock book by Sean O'Grady. In the back of it is a section titled Georgetown Hospital. Being that we are in Leander, and Georgetown is just a jaunt in the country eastward and not too far...and the fact that we decided to sleep in...we decided that Georgetown would be the spot.

We got the directions from the book. Parked in the Georgetown Hospital parking lot. At first, we were like..where is it? So sans gear, we walked to explore. We walked up to the back of the hospital, going towards the antenna. We passed by a loud piece of machinery, some sort of condensation machine, possibly, then back by some delivery trucks, then found the trailhead. We found another parking lot closer, so we moved the car and parked there instead.

Sean with the hospital behind him

The trailhead literally was right behind the hospital. On the bright side, if anything happened..the hospital was right there! We followed the trail down the canyon, which was not too far at all. And there were the walls. We took out the book to establish our groundings. And sure enough, right there, right off the trail, was The Sanctuary, the main wall.

The Sanctuary

We walked around a bit..Sean went one way, I went the other. I went the less trodden path. I could have used a machete to hack my way through the overgrown bush. There was a nice traversey bouldering problem further away. And I'm sure if it were cleared, you could have made something out of the walls (although relatively short, so maybe some bouldering problems?). I made my way back to the Sanctuary and explored the boulder across from the Sanctuary.

I could have used a machete

The boulder across the way looked difficult on the side facing the Sanctuary. On the other side, though, it looked fun. Easy, but fun nevertheless. There is a crack that goes vertically, then diagonally. Cracks are always interesting to explore.

Sean found the Pulpit area, where two other climbers were at. We decided to park it at the Sanctuary and explore the routes. We decided to start on Good Book, a short 5.9. It looked interesting. It didn't look *that* bad. But what a bitch of a route! Sean lead it with many rests and falls. Pulling the bulge near the top was the difficult part of the route. Neither of us are really good at pulling bulges, and could use some better technique on them.

Needless to say, if he had that much trouble leading it..I was going to toprope it that day. Well, it was an interesting 5.9. I'd call it a rather difficult 5.9 if you're not 6ft tall. Seriously. I love outdoors because there are more features. But this route gave me nothing to my short (dis)advantage.

Cleaning and setting up a rappel off of Good Book (5.9)

Sean took the easy way up to take this photo (don't worry, I'm slinged in to the chains, off belay)

I struggled in a few spots, short limbs, interesting maneuvers. I finally got to the evil bulge. It took me a few tries. Well, more than a *few*. And finally, I was able to mantle with my left foot kicked out over the bulge, kick my right foot up slowly...there wasn't really much to grab onto over the just had to stay close to the rock and bring your body over it..then finally..once I was on the bulge, it really turned out to be quite a nice ledge (a bit sloped).

Rappelling is fun, too :)

We moved on to Narthex, a 5.10 according to the book. Sean attempted the lead. Getting to the first bolt was simple. All hell broke loose after that. The moves after the first bolt were pretty stout. After many, many tries, we decided to drop a toprope on the route to check it out.

Sean taking the easy route up to set up a toprope on Narthex

Sean rappelling off of Narthex

Sean set up the toprope and rappelled down. So it was my turn to climb/toprope the route. 5.10 my ass!!! Now, it may be a 5.10 for someone 6ft tall. But for little ole me...I made my way up to where the first bolt was simply. Piece of cake. After that...there's this crimp that Sean can reach (he's 8 inches taller than me). It's a great crimp...if you can *get to it*. I tried, tried, tried. Nope, I'm still a few inches from reaching it.

Dyno time! So the only way I'm going to reach that damn crimp is to dyno for it. Ironically enough, I've been working on a V3 at the gym where I have to dyno to a go for it..*miss*...go for it...*miss*...I tried many more times till I finally got the crimp and landed it. Woo! I got to the point where I got the crimp with my right hand, work my left hand over to the other side of my right hand to grab the crimp where it's better (I couldn't dyno that far), what? The next move was a dyno for Sean, even, who is 8 inches way in hell...not many features to work it...I had to give in after that. I had worn my fingertips pink after dynoing for the crimper...

Sean got on Narthex and had a hell of a time through the cruxes of it...needless to say, we got off that route..we'll revisit it another day...

We headed over to the boulder by the Sanctuary, but facing the opposite side (aka the easy side). The boulder has anchors all over the top of it, so we dropped a toprope in the middle of the crack. We both climbed the crack, the face, and to the left of the crack. It was..pretty damn easy. Fun nevertheless.

Heading out...

After that, we decided to head out..after tons of mosquito bites and a chigger bite in my crotch area (arg...squatting to pee sucks!)...I was done. It was good to explore the area. Next time we know what we're in for. And what's good is that it's not even that far from home..maybe about 20 minutes out...


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