Bedouin Camp, Mirror Wall 08.07.2015

08.07.15

Bedouin Camp, Mirror Wall

N71 Degrees 09’ 814”, W026 Degrees 13.20’

1,234m

 

Bedouin Camp before the storm for blog

Photo by Matt Pycroft / Coldhouse Collective

 

My first day of proper climbing.  Well, the lower pitches were pretty real, but today was a different kind of terrain.  As complicated psychologically as it was physically, testing intelligence and nerve equally with skill and strength.  A long zig zag lead through a steep blank section, finishing only 25m higher than the top of the pink ribbon pitch, but requiring 60m of demanding climbing with many ‘no fall’ sections absorbing an entire extensive rack into its discreet features, and leaving barely enough gear to build a safe belay.

 

 

Waldo is a far better rock climber than he lets on and seconds the pitch free – thankfully, as cleaning a traverse like that from the rope is not really possible.  We are now winding our way right through the blankest section of the first questionable part of the line.  It is complex terrain, but gladly there are some discontinuous features.  After probing uselessly at one corner, I turn my attention to the terrifyingly thin ‘Paper Flake’ – 15m high, 5m wide and at its thinnest, only 1cm thick.  Gulp!

 


 

 

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Leo on the paper flake for blog

Photo by Matt Pycroft / Coldhouse Collective

 

I was able to climb the edge of the paper without tearing it and got to blank section above good gear where I was almost certain that at least one bolt would be required.  Slowly, positive holds began to reveal themselves and after repeating and reversing moves a few times, I finally committed to a cross over and high step that would be hard to reverse.  I made some committing moves on hollow rock to an amazing position and good gear on the lip of a roof – adrift in a sea of mixed geology at the toe of a hidden system that looks like it should link out to the golden corner.

 

 

Easier terrain led quickly to a good stance about 60m below that golden corner.  Half a pitch higher, late and tired, I was delighted but gripped by the sublime crystal corner.  A 15m narrow corner, 100% quartz for every hand, foothold and piece of gear.  So beautiful, like nothing I’ve ever climbed but it’s so scary pulling hard with three points of contact on the crystalline rock, likely to fracture explosively without warning at any time.

 


 

 

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With a thin rack at a distinct change in the rock type, I decided to build a belay and retreat to camp.  I had to remove a few briefcase size flakes and a load of smaller stuff from the area, throwing them as hard as I could away from the out of sight camp below.  It wasn’t until the harrowing tales of death blocks exploding metres away that I realised that I hadn’t radioed to warn them and that although camp is in a relatively safe spot a little way underneath a small overlap, the fall line was not so far away as I thought.