Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Having decided the night before that Chrimson Chrysalis was a bad idea we entertained thoughts of Sour Mash 10a, our only concern was that Kristin had hurt her shoulder toproping an 11A that I'd led when we'd been in Bishop so we went to our back up plan.....Frogland.
On the drive out to Black Velvet canyon we passed up the actual turnoff into the dirt road and took the wrong one........so I'm sitting in the back seat going "this looks wrong" and Demian (Kmac's roomate) is giving directions based on reading the guide book (but not looking at the directions) from memory. Kmac finally takes the guide book from Joe and figures out we've gone too far. We arrive at the parking for Black Velvet in spite of the fact that Demian (nice friendly guy) is still trying to give directions based on memory. For those of you who've never been there before look for an area where a large number of cars can park near the turnoff of the dirt road just past the cattle guard, keep driving down the road until you get to a metal gate. The guide book says to turn left on the 3rd dirt road this is WRONG as several new roads have been cut. There is now a sign at the gate (we'll see how long it lasts) with an arrow that says Black Velvet Canyon turn left here. Now that we're getting ready to start hiking I chug half a liter of water and we set off. The trail is wide and well traveled with a slight grade. Eventually we have to leave the main BVC trail and head up a steep hillside to Frogland Buttress/Whiskey peak. This quickly turns into switchbacks reminscent of Tahquitz..........except Tahquitz has shade and trees. This is the desert baby.........the heat gets to me and I throw up the 1/2 liter of water I'd chugged earlier (good thing I'd decided we were doing Frogland instead of Sour Mash that morning, Joe and Demian had gone to do the first 3 pitches of Triasic Sands and then TR Wholesome Fullback) ). We get to the base and rack up.....we're off and running up the big white flake that marks the start of Frogland and up the dihedral I go....we eventually catch up to the party in front of us who informs me that the party in front of them were moving really slow and had even bailed off the route the day before. They'd allowed one fast party to pass but were refusing to let anyone else by. I brought Kmac up and we kicked it on the big ledge......we decided that since eventually the climbing got easier they'd move faster. Which they did but not by much. We topped off with the last of the light and started the descent........in the fading light we messed up and after making up our own special variation we ended up in the gulley used to approach Black Velvet. Kristin went up to look for the packs and gave me the keys to take to Demian and Joe since at that point having led every single pitch I was pretty much physically useless to her. The hike out in thin climbing shoes was exruciatingly painful and slow.
The next morning Demian and I went back and got the stuff we left........the hike in and out is easy when you're basically not carrying jack shit.
It was still a fun epic and Kmac is tough as nails.

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