Shady Summer Climbing at Misery Rocks, 6.13.2012

Gavin at the crux of False Perspective (5.6)
Gavin at the crux of False Perspective (5.6)

Scampered up to Misery Rocks yesterday with Dawson and Gavin to climb under the lovely  shade of the hardwood canopy. Misery Rocks is one of the southern-most formations on the West Bluff, hugely popular with groups due to its assortment of easy climbing, convenient access, and ample room for lounging, lunching, and cavorting at the bottom of the climbs. In fact, we shared Upper Misery with a friendly Chicago-area church group, about 10 grade school kids and their counselors, all super excited about climbing. I've never had such a reliable cheering section.

Dawson was excited to get back on rock after an extended winter gym season, expecting to be more capable than his last Lake outing in November. He started off testing his mettle on Weeping Wall (5.9), which welcomed him back to the Lake with a challenging thin, sequency crux right off the ground. With a small army of kids watching, Dawson and I made valiant (if frustrating) first efforts, laying the groundwork for what would ultimately be a successful learning curve later in the day. In the meantime, we took in reps on False Perspective (5.6), an inside corner which changes to a large crack half way up and Pillow's Edge (5.8), a route following a tall, diagonally-leaning slab. Both climbs are stellar for their grade; we felt lucky to have such good fodder with only two ropes.

Dawson grits hard on Weeping Wall (5.9)
Dawson grits hard on Weeping Wall (5.9)

Wehought about setting more routes toward middle of the day, but there was still action to be had on the same two lines. After piecing together the moves on Weeping Wall, I moved on to Failing Wall (5.10c), a well-dubbed line which provided a few stout slaps across the face. Razor-sharp edges provided great positive edges, but also made it difficult to hold onto for very long on the overhung terrain. Just next door, Gavin was game for Fat Man's Misery (5.4), a strange chimney climb originating in the cool cave beneath The Pillow. Starting deep within the cave, Gavin climbed opposite walls high into the cave's apex, then escaped out the top and into a secondary chimney next to Pillow's Edge. Another fun, interesting, entertaining route.

We checked out routes below Misery Rocks at the Pantry Wall, including the steep, imposing Bread Board. I think we climbed there last fall, amidst dry leaves and November quiet, but approached from below. The Misery Rocks areas is closely connected to The Pantry, Porkchop Buttress, and Dungeon Wall, Dutchman Rampart, and Frigate areas... it just takes a bit of poking around to connect the dots. Lots of good climbing here, and it's all pretty shady.

After a bit more scouting, we packed up and left, just in time for our Wednesday ultimate frisbee game in Madison. A good day, mostly credited to the shade protecting us from the withering heat. Not so miserable after all!