Goat Rock 2x NN

Thu, Dec 14, 2017

With: Jackie Burd

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
previously climbed Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Jackie was home early from UCSB, her first visit since leaving for school in September. She was almost a week early due to the Thomas Fire burning in Ventura and now Santa Barbara counties - poor air quality had gotten the administration to postpone finals until after the Christmas break, sending most of the students home early. Jackie's high school friends weren't yet home from their respective colleges, so she and I hung out together that first week. On Thursday we decided to go rockclimbing, heading to Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mtns to do some rappel practice, something she hadn't done before. Giving the day a chance to warm up from the chilly overnight temperatures in the low 40s, we didn't arrive at the state park until almost noon. By this time the weather was far more pleasant, in the low 60s, and actually a bit too warm when we were in the sun without a breeze. We spent about 20min hiking the trail to Goat Rock, then up the staircases around the right side to the top where we set up shop for the afternoon - there were other visitors to the formation, but we were the only rockclimbers and had the run of the place.

There are a couple of bolts on the south-facing, east end of the summit area, though the hangers and nuts have been removed, rendering them useless unless one happens to carry such things with their climbing gear (we didn't). Instead, we ran a sling around the very large horn to the north, ran some additional slings over to the edge and rapped off from there. We did two rappels apiece to start, the first just a slow and easy descent, the second with some hops and jumps as we became more comfortable on the rock and the route over several overhangs in the cliff. Our 60m rope just makes it down to the base of Goat Rock, a roomy, shaded spot with a fine view overlooking the Santa Cruz Mtns to the south. After the second rappel, I toproped Jackie for a climb back up the south face, a fairly easy climb with the largest assortment of holds one could possibly hope for. At the top she pulled up half the rope, tossed it back down, and made a third rappel down to the base. It was then her turn to belay me up, after which I gave her a belay from above and brought her up for a second go - she easily made it over the small overhang that I had passed on - I'm simply not flexible enough to make it over that feature.

While Jackie took a snack break, I moved the rope over to the west end of the summit where there is a collection of four bolts from which we set up another line going over the great roof on that side of Goat Rock. This is a far more serious rappel with something like a 60-foot free rappel dropping straight down to the bottom. We each did this one once - quite the experience dropping such a distance, but Jackie seemed to be barely fazed by it. Afterwards we did a little prussiking practice as I showed her how to climb the rope vertically. We didn't have enough time to go all the way to the top, so it was just 5-8ft off the ground before coming back down. We needed to hike back up to the top and send Jackie down one more rappel on the original line to retrieve the gloves she had dropped there earlier. I pulled up the rope after she had descended, packed up the gear and met her again at the bottom before we hiked back out to the parking lot. About four hours of good fun...

Matt Yaussi comments on 12/14/17:
Nice of you to not "forget" you had an ascender with you for your daughter to use while prussiking. ;-)
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