Disclaimer: First TR ever. Kind of disjointed - sorry. I've never been a good writer, but I wanted to at least share a little beta with whomever may be interested.

Re tape: I had played with the idea of getting hand jammies (or spider mitts, or whatever they're called now) but wound up (pardon the pun) just using tape. I stayed in Jumbo Rocks campground, and the rock there was the first thing I touched. It is really biting and grainy, and it convinced me to get tape and learn how to use it. My crack technique sucks, so even though the rock wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, it was nice _not_ to come back with hands ripped to shreds.

Speaking of my lousy crack technique - anyone out there do the alternate start to Mike's Books? It's the climb that goes up two open books on Intersection rock. Anyhow, the climb goes at 6+. The alternate start is the short section of flaring crack with poor hand jams that starts at the ground and ends at the ledge directly beneath where the proper climb begins. I floundered so hard before I could get the one vital hand jam to stick. Anyone else have any experience with this problem?

(Note: I guess you can't answer in this thread, but I've posted the same thing in "Other Areas", so you can answer there. - thanks.)

Other climbs:
Tiptoe (5.7+) - this is one that's much harder on lead, where you have to toe and hand/fist jam your way up in order to place gear, while the second has an easy layback cruise-fest. Fun climb.

Mental Physics (7+) - Great climb, tricky to find, tricky approach from trail. Didn't do second pitch because the runout really scared my partner. In my opinion, the 5 feet directly above the bolts is the crux of the climb, and you wouldn't want a guaranteed factor 2 fall right on top of your belayer if you slip before you clip the next bolt. My recommendation: Set a gear anchor 15 feet below the double bolts, and treat the bolts as your last piece of pro before the 20 ft runout to the next bolt. Then if you fall, it's at most a factor 1 fall on the double bolts.

Tiptoe (5.7+) - My first ever "sport" (all bolted) climb. 20 ft of pretty easy slab climbing (pay attention - you don't want to fall here!) to the first bolt, then a cool pair of dikes to face climb past two additional bolts to get to the top. Scary experience: inexperienced belayer dropped her partner who fell to the ground from about fifteen feet up on the climb right next to mine. He was fine, probably in part because he fell on top of _my_ belayer! My belayer was knocked over, but fortunately didn't pull me off the top of the rock where I was setting up an anchor. Worst case scenario - he could have yanked me off, lost control of the rope, and I could have fallen to the bottom of the rock. Ouch. Like I said, scary experience.

Upper right ski track (5.3) - a good first climb.

The Bong (5.4) - Fun. Short.

Beginners Two (5.2). It's longer than you think. From the standard belay position, we ran out of rope (60m) when my partner was still 30 feet from the anchor at the top. Later we took a beginning leader up it - she got totally sketched out and had a hard time finding gear. Couldn't finish the climb, and I had to solo up to coach her down. I think this speaks more to her readiness to put her theory into practice outside of the gym then it does the climb - but beginning leaders beware...

Other thoughts: Hot and Sour coconut soup at the Thai restaurant is good, and the Saturday night scene at the Crossroads Cafe was great fun. Nice folks all around.

Final thoughts... when can I go back!