8 Jul 2002 - 1:06:47 AM
Woo hoo! I led a 10a! I led a 10a!
Okay, perhaps a little bit of explanation is in order. (If you don't know what a 10a is, here's a page with descriptions of various ratings systems.) I've been rock climbing since 1995, basically, and leading since 1997 (my first lead was a 5.6 trad route called, appropriately enough, First Lead, located in City of Rocks, Idaho). I've done only one other trad lead since then, but lots of sport leading. Even though I've climbed 11a's on top-rope, the most difficult route I'd led was a 5.9.
This past weekend, however, a group of us met up at Squamish (both planned and by coincidence) for a little climbing. We spent the first day at the Chek area a little ways north of Squamish, at Foundation Wall. I led a couple 5.9's, then top-roped the 10a. It didn't seem too bad, so I pulled the rope, loaded up on quickdraws, and tied into the sharp end. Of course, the route felt harder leading it than it did on top-rope, but I managed to get the redpoint (lead it without falling).
So, yeah, it was a great climbing day for me.
The next day we did an absolutely gorgeous three pitch route named Star Chek in the nearby climbing area called The Gorge but somehow managed to break it up into four pitches. Spent a lot of time in the sun, enjoying the view of the bouldery, fast-flowing river, the cliff faces, the distant mountains, and railroad tracks on the other side of the river (even saw a train clatter past at one point). Too bad I didn't bring a camera.