|Monday Marble Madness, NM|| |
Monday Marble Madness, NM
||Jan 06 2014
|Canyoneering||8.20 Miles|| 8 Hrs 45 Mns ||1.73 mph|
|4,050 ft AEG|| 4 Hrs Break|
|Basic Canyoneering - Scrambling; easy climbing/downclimbing; frequent hand use; rope recommended; easy exit|
|A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit|
These Monday exploratory hikes are supposed to provide interesting challenges, but I'd thought I'd about finished discovering new drainage cuts up in Marble Canyon. Today was to conclude the final new canyon... and the coming month or so would be re-hiking the various cuts and ridges within the area.
Good start... cold morning (18 degrees)... clear sky
I'd checked out what I thought would be N5 (fifth cut off the north side of Marble Canyon North) last Monday, gazing down over the top cliffs. I knew it would present an interesting entry challenge...
... but turning up into the canyon this morning it felt wrong. It climbed too steeply and the big blocking boulder was not in place across the mouth of the canyon. A little ways up the cut it occurred to me that perhaps I was in the smaller ridge canyon I'd looked down into last week... and discounted as too short of a cut to be worthy of hiking or writing about.
...soon, I knew I was not where I intended, other than it was N5... it was the fifth cut, but it was not going where I thought N5 should go.
It was simply going up. I was to find out that this entry was effectively a 300' tall cascading dry falls... that was a scramble beyond what I enjoy. Halfway up I decided to reverse my ascent and look for an alternative route to loop up... unfortunately, turning and looking below I realized I could not downclimb the narrow foot jam slot I'd just climbed up!
That brought on one of those interesting moments wherein thoughts drift to "what if... and why" like, "...what if this cut cliffs out above me?" and "...why did I not charge up my cell phone yesterday... instead of leaving it back in the truck to charge up during my hike?"... and "...when am I going to buy that Spot device?"
... I finally reached the pourover lip of this cascade...
...and crawled over to the small sunlit spot to try to thaw out my frozen fingers! I'd switched out of the nice warm gloves into fingerless leather gloves for the climb. Why oh why do thawing digits hurt like that!? Thawing feet or thawing hands... worst pains I've ever experienced... bar none.
During that first 300' I'd decided not to try to clear a route; I would not be returning nor suggesting this to anyone else... but now, up and warming to the moment, it occurred to me: I'm old and out of shape. In shape... younger... this might be just someone's cup of tea. And, for some off reason my acrophobia (?) had not really flared up! I was not clinging to the rock and clawing my way up the hill (when it does flare up I've been known to do a death crawl up 20 degree slopes!)
In fact... I was sort of enjoying the thought of doing this again... maybe when I'm trained back up... in better shape. Could I wait until I'm younger?
As I continued on towards the line of cliffs above me I had an oddly passing thought: a perverted dialogue from Unforgiven echoed around me: As if the canyon sensed my fear... knew my weakness: "... I'm going to hurt you... not nice like I've been hurting you, but, hurt you bad!"
Should I name this cut Little Bill Canyon?
The cliffs gave me a nice slot to slide through... the canyon was over.
From that point on I hiked the upper edges of successive cliffs. My intended canyon was still three canyons away. I discovered two more cuts between the one I did and the one I intended to do. I also spotted a couple more across Marble Canyon North that would have to be checked out.
Monday Marble Madness would continue for months to come!
I made my way above N6, N7 (Slide Canyon) to N8 (Ortega Peak Cut)... and followed the north side ridgeline of N8 up to the "A" Trail.
It was early enough in the day, so I decided to hit Ortega Peak... easy walking after the 3,000' per mile slope of N5!
Brief stop on top, then down the "A"... with a side trip to check out yet another Marble Canyon spur: 1,000' Cut. It looks promising, if not inviting. That full exploration is for another day. I'd been up since 2am... was out of fluid... had not eaten any breakfast... and not brought any food along on the hike!
I think the GPS miss-calculated my down time. I was moving so slow up N5... it thought I was standing still!
If I were trying to score AEG this would be a stupid way to go about it! For getting back into shape, it may be ideal.
So... tomorrow... a day off!
|Ageless Mind... Timeless Body... No Way! Use It and Lose It. Just the way it is...|