Snowy Splendor
I’m dreaming of a white Tom’s Fest…

It’s May 4th, in the Swell. Average high temperature for this time of year? Around 80. Temperature for today? Try 45.

Around 7, I wake up from another less-than-ideal night of sleep. I was friggin’ cold, again. I mean seriously, this is May, how cold can it get? I figured I’d be set with a few blankets in the back of the truck, maybe a fleece if needs be. Not so.

So the plan today was to hit up a Quandary Direct, up Ramp or Knotted Rope, pick up camp, and head for Granary Springs in the Roost. Well, we successfully completed one of the four items on the agenda: pick up camp. The morning started off with another (we’d had a few by now) group discussions. It took about 6 seconds for us to decide to get the heck out of Hidden Splendor, and head to North Wash, where we hoped to find at least a little bit better weather. About an hour later, we were gone. And not a minute too soon.SnowySplendor2
The caravan out of Hidden Splendor. And some nice big flakes bidding us good-bye.

And just when things start looking up, Tom’s car decides it doesn’t want to leave. Apparently the Civic enjoys the occasional swell snowstorm, and isn’t quite ready to leave. After some tinkering and fiddling, the car still works with one hitch: the engine needs to be running at about 3000 RPM’s. Good enough for Tom. North Wash, here we come.CarTrouble
Carol, Tom and Dale evaluating the Civic.


Tent Patching
Tom and Andy performing some minor repairs on the rainfly. Not sure why, it’s not like it is going to rain again….

Once camp is up, it’s time for a canyon. To speed things up, we split into two groups, with one going to Shamrock, and the other to Shimrock. The sky is still threatening, but looks better than it has all day. We left Doug, Paula, Andy, and Carol at the first rap into the west fork. Tom, Dale, and myself headed for the main.Shamrock Group
Half of the group getting ready to drop into Shamrock.

This was going to be my first time in the main fork of Leprechaun. I descended the east fork earlier this year, but it isn’t quite as tasty as this one. At the first rap, we were welcomed by a nice rope, all set and ready to go. We found it rather odd, but slid down it anyways. There were a bunch of harnesses tied to the end, and Dale joked about taking it with us. Turns out, that wouldn’t have been a bad idea. A few hundred yards down the canyon we ran into the group who owned the rope. Apparently they thought they were in another drainage, and figured they’d only need to rappel once. Fortunately for them, we showed up, and they made the last rap on our gear. I won’t mention which guidebook they were using…Dale Rap
Dale on the first rap of Shimrock.

Tom rounds the corner in Shimrock. I think he is secretly cursing me at this point, because I stuck him with the pack. Oh yeah, and the pleasant rumblings of thunder overhead.

About an hour into the canyon, things really tightened up. I was pretty drained from the explorations of a day earlier, so we weren’t exactly flying through there. Compound that with some light rain and thunder, and we were a little tense for a few minutes. Tom took the pack from me and on we went. We concluded the technical section right as the rain started coming down.TomDanShimrock
Tom and I sliding through the skinnys.

Tom Is Skinny
Shimrock is skinny. Tom is skinnier.

The nice stroll back to camp in the rain.


Shimrock’s a pretty cool slot. Not the longest or most difficult, but it gets slotty in a hurry, and it is fairly long. Given the situation the last two days, I was pretty happy we’d finally got into anything. We made it back to camp about 10 minutes after the other half of the group, just in time to fix up some dinner and get out of the rain. Hope Andy did a decent job taping up the tent…

Oh yeah, Ram showed up tonight too.