Sweet Jesus

Supertopo Post, May 2008

Thank you John for the hats off to Sweet Jesus. And to Pat for memories of my favorite climbing ground. And to all for showing the energy and passion of what's it like going onto those great, sweeping knobby walls, sometimes all the way up, sometimes not. Maybe most important, it appears John is well enough to climb again. Fantastic and hope pain and any immobility are gone.

What to say? Well, yes, the old green dot neoprene soles were pretty slick, in spite of sanding them as I did when new. And the welts on the Kronhoffers were not very integral to the upper - they didn't stick out, but had some separation. I epoxied that junction to fill the gap and reduce bending when edging, but the epoxy cracked and needed constant redoing. The result never came close to a modern shoe. It meant we looked at the rock differently - lots more edging, less smearing.

Chris did the first part of the third pitch, then I did the rest. I was so excited to get over the little crux and start climbing rightward, I didn't think much about the second swinging off the crux. Chris rightly yelled, "Hey, what about me?!" And so in went the bolt to protect the second but there still is some swing potential there. Years later, I did the route again with Bruce Cooke (after which the Cooke Book is named) and Tom Fukuya and Bruce was very happy to be in the middle to get both a top and back rope. Maybe that's the trick.

As for how the route wanders around some and is run here and there, we always looked for cracks, ledges, indents, black streaks, any place we hoped would get us up with holds and protection possibilities. Sometimes we read the rock right, other times not so right. And, in the backs of our heads were the greats of the time and times before who impressed upon us the bolt was last resort, a scar, a blotch to be minimized. On top of that was the fast setting sun and the demands of hand drilling from sometimes bad stances. So, the results are there, sometimes great, sometimes mediocre, sometimes perplexing and scary, but locked inside as the best stuff of life one still carries around.

Thanks to all for rekindling the memories!