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Septembelanimous: Travels with The Blue Streak

October 15th, 2010

The sun has been shining steadily and the temps have been unbelievably warm here in southwest Montana. I spent the first week back home climbing in the Gallatin canyon, rallying up local bike trails and having pints with friends I had not seen all summer.

It wasn’t too long before we began to scheme on some new route potential in the southern Beartooths. We had been eyeing this spectacular crack system that was defended by a ominous 15-foot roof and it now seemed like the time

Equipping the 3rd pitch through the 15' roof.

to go piece it together. We left the Gallatin Valley in the “Blue Streak”, a 1986 foggy-blue Subaru with a white stripe down its center. Off at a top speed of 65mph we meandered through many a two-lane roads finally arriving at our lengthy dirt access road. This little Suby shines best on the dirt and we quickly navigated with controlled sideway slides to our destination.

The first day we checked out the line making sure it would go, and decided it would need a few bolts to piece the cracks together.

On day two, we began our ascent armed with a double set of cams, may nuts, one 60-meter lead line, a 60-meter tag line and a  bolt kit. The first pitch was a slightly dirty 5.10+ that ended in a bat guano filled slot. Pitch 2 got us in to the goods: a 5.11+ flared gaping mouth of  a crack that traversed over 20 feet.

Pitch 3, a 5.12-, followed incipient cracks on thin gear for 50 feet to the base of the roof, which we named the route after – “The Traditional Bitch Slap” or TBS, due to the way we felt after pulling through it.

Pitch 4, a 5.11+, started off just above the lip of the roof, right into a tough stem corner. The climbing was sustained stemming with a powerful lay back crux.

Back on the ground, we enjoyed a tasty frothy beverage and loaded back into the Blue Streak. Pressing play on the tape deck and dropping the transmission to four low, we established the Blue Streak’s theme song that weekend, and those fine cuban-rooted-rhythms blared through its one speaker as we climbed up the steep hill to once again to access the two lane roads that would lead us home through a gauntlet of ungulates.

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