Late fall weekend at Castle Crags
Castle Crags turns out to be a great option for a big multipitch weekend late in the season. Sue Nelson and I went down on November 3, and on Sunday did the (North)West Ridge/Face on Castle Dome, using the new 5.9 bolted bypass to the first three, worst pitches on the climb, including the scary traverse. Good decision, as we started at noon, and there was enough loose rock on the rest of the climb for the whole climb. But really fun climbing, even when I went off route into a 5.10 move to gain the ridge and avoid belaying in the cold windy North face shade.We got down the vey exposed 3rd/4th regular route with only a few route debates. Fortunately, there are no really sketch moves on the descent that are also really exposed; the hardest moves are into the nice safe gully halfway down.

The next day we wanted to climb on Six Toe Rock, but it was quickly in the shade and very windy, so after barely finding the start for a future visit, we swung around to the warm sunny not-windy Indian Springs side. And spent the next 4 hours bailing off a 5.9 that was really a thin 5.10b, and wandering around looking for something we could definitely tell what it was. Well, it was a nice hike and rest day!

Tuesday we got up early and went up to check out the small Emigrant Lake crag by Ashland. it was 28 degrees as we drove up, 38 when we got out of the car, but the crag is south-facing and by the time we were roped up, fully in the sun with warm rock. A perfect half-day of fun bolted moderates to 5.10a on excellent sandstone!

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