February 3rd, the forecast for Chattanooga, TN: 60 and mostly sunny for 7 days. Work schedule, cleared for two more weeks. Objective: the first female ascent of Tamer Proof at T-Wall.
As read in Chris Watford's Dixie Cragger's Atlas, "Tamper Proof- super steep, powerful, and complex. Scramble up ledges and climb a short, left facing corner and a thin finger crack. Move past two bolts, in a shallow slot, then out a perfect hand crack in a 10' roof."
The route was originally climbed in 1987 by Jeff Gruenberg. According to local legend Jerry Roberts, "I saw the first ascent, Jeff inverted to a knee bar and totally cut loose both hands to the next move. It was creative for that long ago, his pads were as big but longer than yours, they were duct taped to his hairy long legs - which was gross he sent in style though."
The crux sequence through the shallow slot took less time for me than anticipated. I had the moves and the gear figured out in the first two days on the route. Shortly after, started putting in redpoint burns. Even though you can go almost hands free through the slot, the climb is extremely physical. I found myself melting off the final moves pulling the lip just before the anchors several times. Heartbreaker.
The send came down to the wire for me. I had one more day left in Chattanooga before I had to be home. As I approached the climb for the first time that day I could see water running out of the roof crack. Utterly discouraged and thinking I would go home empty handed, I reluctantly started the 25 minute preparation process. Rack up, tape up (both hands), left Neon pad, right Neon pad, shoe up, tie in. I knew I would have to climb the roof crack while it was wet.
On my first attempt I got warmed up and did some recon to see how much water was in the roof. Amazingly, the water was coming out just below my handjam. My gear would be in the wet spot and my hand just two inches above my gear in the dry. My second attempt went poorly. After an hour walk to look at some other routes and get my head together I knew all I had to do was execute the moves and the gear placements efficiently. I suited up and headed up the route. I climbed calmly and relaxed nailing every move and gear placement. Getting into the roof, where previously I had some trouble, felt easy. As I 'rested' my way out the roof, I kicked in the power reserves and flawlessly pulled over the lip onto the 5.7 headwall to the anchors.
The trip was successful. I spent lots of time climbing and hanging out with seldom seem friends, ate amazing food, drank great beer, and did what I ultimately went to climb.
Have to thank my buddies Matt Ginley and Michelle Smith for putting aside their climbing days to belay me.