Horse Rampart Climbing, 11.10.2012
The first half of November is a golden period for the climbing season at Devil's Lake. Crowds have thinned dramatically, the low winter sun shines generously through the bare trees, the yellowjackets are sleeping again, and there is a wonderful, quiet stillness in the air. It might only be 55 degrees, but bring a sweater and a thermos of tea and it's purrrrrrrfect climbing weather.
Quiet times are good for visiting popular areas we might avoid in busier times. We walked the tracks down to Horse Rampart, home of some of the best moderate climbing at the Lake, and set up some classics. Roger's Roof (5.8) is possibly the best way to destroy your left hand while learning to hand jam, while Debauchery (5.8) next door provides a more elegant, sustained, and interesting journey with lots of good twists and turns. More crack appeal can be found on Via Apia (5.7), a gorgeous splitter crack with a wide top, and Primak's Surprise - featuring the mysterious 5.? rating - offers some unique and awkward opportunities for physical discovery.
Phil finally sent me a production version of his new belay glasses, and boy are they nice. The ones he brought out this summer were kind of rough, and didn't sit right on my nose. But these refined glasses fit like a dream... when I actually forgot I was wearing them (really), I knew he had nailed the design. Everyone wanted to try the glasses out, so we passed them around and I chased a few product shots for my brother. It is sort of difficult to look "good" in Belay Specs... they make you look pretty alien, see four-eyed Dawson in the gallery... but from the right angle (see Kayne above), they can look pretty sharp.