The Crag Booty Dilemma
Its mid June, I’m mid route and there it is mid crack. In-situ gear. Crag booty. You beauty!
Ive accumulated a wide range of retrieved or found goods in my time. Just like a professional gambler, I hope Ive got more than Ive lost.
Sometimes its a cam, the dark art of removing same among one of the finest games that can be played out on a rock face, apart from actually climbing that is. But on this occasion its a singular nut, stuck but moving ever so slightly inside a crack. Its not been here long and there’s no obvious sign of rust. It looks like it might come out with the right amount of persuasion.
Decisions, decisions. Its a reasonably tough climb and I’m mid lead, but Ive done it many times before, I’m in no hurry and its a pleasant day. Do I clip and move on, leaving my second a gilt edge chance to retrieve or give it a quick go myself?
A complex game ensues. To start, I convince myself that the person that left it there had an inferior ability to me in the art of extracting gear. I tentatively investigate the movement of the gear, using guile, but mainly a nut key. I move the metal around in its range of motions. Probably in the same pattern its all ready been moved 100 times previously. The tentative changes to aggressive. The aggressive progresses nothing. I shake out arms and concede that my second will certainly have an easier time, whereas I had to contend with keeping balanced, they’ll opt to hang on the rope and have the free use of two hands. Surely that’s the only obstacle to success. Ive no more to offer. I admit defeat.
I announce the plan aloud to my second, as if to seem selfless and that I wish them to have a go at the fun, but really all I want is to avoid further pump and increasing fear.
“Ive two of that size all ready sure, who needs three of anything?” I fail to convince myself. Its not about getting extra gear though.
“You’re on belay, off you go”.