This was pretty fun for me, but perhaps not so pleasant for Amanda. Also, I have to admit it felt a little stout for 5.5... but I guess I'm not a wide-crack hardman like back in the 50's.

Trip Report:

Amanda was looking through the guidebook for other climbs in the campground, and suggested we do The Flake. I just started laughing. When she asked why, I explained to her the chimney/offwidth at the beginning of The Flake, and how much she would hate it after her experience earlier in the day. But looking at Intersection Rock in the guidebook, I noticed Bat Crack, and thought it could be a good one, since it's only rated 5.5 and I hadn't done it before. After I mentioned it, it occured to me that, with a name like Bat Crack, it might be wide. Then I noticed the year of the FA — 1952 — definitely a sign that it would be wide. But we decided to go check it out, and if it looked bad, we could try Mike's Books or something else nearby.

Sure enough, when we got over to it, we found that the whole first pitch of Bat Crack was a chimney... in fact, even worse, a squeeze chimney. After we looked at Mike's Books and found a party of three gearing up to do it, Amanda surprised me by saying, “Well, I need to work on my chimneying technique. Let's do it.” I led the first pitch quickly, and positioned myself directly above the chimney so I could try to talk her through it. After much moaning and panting and calling out my name (I so wish I weren't talking about climbing right now), she managed to get through it. When she arrived at the huge ledge at the top of the pitch, she showed off her new battle scars, this time on her left leg, to match the scrapes she'd already gotten on her right leg. Apparently she had a scab from a previous injury on her left knee, and she had scraped it off in the chimney. The entire left knee area of her (black) pants was visibly soaked with blood, and when she pulled the pant leg up, there was dried blood covering an even larger area. I again felt awfully guilty for putting her through such a day of torturous wide shit, but she assured me it wasn't as bad as it looked.

Though we shared the ledge we were on with another party of three, they were taking a different route, so we started up the second pitch almost immediately. This was much easier than the first, and Amanda had a lot less difficulty with it. Still, by the time she reached the top, her wounds from the first pitch had left a long and very visible trail of blood going down her left leg, all the way from her knee to her shoe. She didn't even clean it up, but rather seemed to be a little proud of it! We quickly rapped off and started planning for our last route of the day. After all the cracks (and wide cracks) that we had been doing all day, I had promised Amanda that we would finish the day with a slab climb. Since it had been a little cloudy all day, I was hoping to take a Walk on the Wild Side, so we could enjoy a beautiful sunset from my favorite spot in the park. But there wasn't enough time (nor was there any sunset, because it was too cloudy), so I racked my brain trying to think of a quick slab route in Joshua Tree that's under 5.9. It finally hit me: Trashcan, my traditional favorite place to finish the day, and also home of Tiptoe, a short and fun 5.7 slab.