We went climbing with Hinton and Yudai at the Grande Grotta the next day, I was still feeling very tired and weak and as a result only climbed a polished 6a+. Jess and Joe started projecting again. Joe picked something he knew wouldn’t take him much time, an 8a+ going up the middle of the cave. Jess picked one that would test his mental game and endurance, pushing them to the max. A 40m 7c was just an endurance fest of steep tufa climbing. One would get fatigued very quickly and dehydrated about half way up, and the ability to keep going after that point is incredible. He said to Joe and I not to let him down till he made it to the end. After another fall at about ¾, he said he was parched and needed to come down. Did Joe and I let him down? Of course not, trying to push, he only got more frustrated and after 5 mins of just hang dogging, we had no choice but to lower him. We were not in the mood to put up with the wrath of Jess Tarry. Dave and Yudai took our advice on classics and went off toward Panorama doing many of the routes we did on our first days (Cyclops, Bitman, Uncle Ernie, Uncle Bert, Kaly Pipe), all amazing routes.
|Jess on his endurance fest project|
Neither Jess nor Joe sent that day, but had definitely made progress on the routes. Soon the day of climbing was over and it was time to head back. Jess was tired and after dinner went to bed. Joe and I went to Daves for a drink and some Greek dessert which I now forget the name of.
We head back to the Grotta the following day and jump on our projects; today I feeling much better and picked out a short 7a+ to project. The beginning and ending were easy, but had a middle part that had and extremely hard sequence of moves. Joe commented that is was the hard 7a+ he has ever done. After one session of working it I was able to work out the moves, involving a killer toe hook. After that each time I jumped on it, I was going for the send but failed all 4 times. Jess gave up his project after one more try, he didn’t feel like he was making any progress on it and was not having fun anymore. Joe sent his on his second try of the day. I was losing power fast on the 7a+ and when no one had anything they wanted to do we decided to gear up and do a 4 pitch route going right over the cave of the Grotta. It was an easy one, and we want to do it for the view, it was also Joe last day, we thought it would make good bonding time.
|Multi Pitch started in the bottom left corner|
As we were packing our bags, Dave and Yudai came over, they had finished climbing as well. Dave suggested going in teams of two. Yudai didn’t want to go, it was his rest day. So we split up. Jess and I went first, and Joe and Dave followed. Jess led the first pitch, which was surprisingly difficult and took some time figuring out where we had to go. The second pitch, I led, and had one of the coolest sections ever. Its hard to explain in words, but everyone after agreed with me. It was fantastic climbing, and soon we were at the beginning of the last pitch. Jess and I talked and decided that since it was Joe’s last day, we had to mess with him a little bit. This pitch was grade 5.8 and traversed out and then started going up. Jess led and on his way he began ticking the tiniest holds he could find. Ticking is a way of pointing out all the good holds. We knew Joe took this seriously and after using a couple well-ticked holds at the bottom, we knew he would fall for it. Near the top, the route goes out right, but there are no bolts so we didn’t know. Jess continued up and thus ran out of bolts, luckily he made it to the top. On his way up he was still ticking and chalking up hold, really putting in a lot of effort to make it look legit. After scrambling around the top he finally found the anchors and where the route should have gone. I followed up, knowing not to use the ticked holds. I made it up and for some reason yelled back to Dave, the route comes up right, which Dave then told to Joe who was going to lead it. I thought that was it for the prank he would never fall for it now.
I sat back and waited, trying my best to escape the sun while Jess went ahead to look for the anchors in which we repel down off of. After about 10mins I hear yelling coming from Joe. “Dave! I don’t know where to go! DAVE!!!!!!!” I remember thinking; there is no way this worked. I crawl out to the edge and look down, nothing there. I then looked right and there is Joe 20 feet away from me level and on the cliff, holding onto holds that have prickly cacti pocking out. “Tyler! Where are the anchors!” “Way over here” I replied. “You have got to be kidding me!” He traversed over and finally clipped into the anchors. Jess by this time is back and laughing, and Dave comes up, telling us all the funny things Joe said on his lead.
“Dave! I’m on the shittiest crimps, ones two fingers! This is actually quiet ha….Dave! there’s a Jug out right! Those bastards sand bagged me!”
“Dave he went up left, this hold has a lot of chalk on it, he must of rested here for a while!”
These are a few lines coming out of the mouth of Joe Skopec! I was on the ground laughing so hard. After we got our giggles out and Joe got his curses out, we hiked to the repel. 62 meter repel in Birkenstocks was quite interesting and a first for me. It was an amazing last day and one that we will joke about for a long time. After we made the last supper, ate together outside and drank while Joe packed. We convinced him to stay up, he might as well be tired on the plane. Soon we were passed out and it was 6am. Joe woke me up with one more successful steam roll, we said our goodbyes and he was gone. Bye Bye Joe.