Thursday, February 24, 2011

02-20-2011 Matilija Creek

It had rained intermittently the last two days. So we figured there might be some snow at the higher elevations. Frank really wanted to go check out Matilija, so that's where we went. As we came up the 33 we saw White Ledge Peak, and the Topatopa Bluffs blanketed in a light layer snow. All the hills surrounding Matilija Canyon were dusted with snow as well. It was an ice fest on the trail.

As the sun rose higher the ice started to melt away. It was kinda like walking in a cold rain.

My pants were soon soaked. The water level was much higher than it usually is. I liked this, as it made the route finding a little bit more challenging. I had to wade the last pool before the rope climb up the main falls. The falls were going off impressively. It was bit on the chilly side, so we rested up in the sun for a little while. Then it was back down the ropes.

That's me at the top of the the third "rope"

Action shot from the base of the first rope.

I have to say the ropes up there are in scary condition. The first one is old purple dynamic rope that's been there for several years now. I think it's two pieces of the same rope joined together with a bunch of overhand knots. The second looks like a 10.5mm static rope that was placed in the last year or so (it used to be more of the purple rope). The anchor is a pathetic little sage plant (I think it's sage).

Note the sandstone lip on the far left

This is not an adequate anchor

This is not safe in my opinion. Furthermore the rope passes over a abrasive lip when weighted. It's looks like the person who placed it tied a loop with a bowline then girth hitched it to the brush. This means there's also rope on rope abrasion (I didn't see any core shots, but that doesn't mean there aren't any). It looks like a disaster waiting to happen to me. If your going to use those ropes try leaning into to the rockface as opposed to leaning back. It will be slower, but you will have less load on the rope. If there is a catastrophic failure leaning back will result in uncontrolled tumbling down the rockface, whereas leaning forward you should just fall to your chest and hopefully friction will keep you from tumbling down to injury. The third "rope" is a piece of triple braided cord joined with a piece of accessory cord. It's just plain stupid. I saw scary abrasion on the tri-cord. I didn't use it, I used the natural hand holds in the rock, and friction to get up and down. Please be careful.

West Falls

We stopped by West Falls for a little bit. Then we headed back. The ice had all melted away by this point. So I got to enjoy dry pants for the walk back to the Jeep.


  1. Nice falls. I'm curious to know how you got the shot with the four exposures of you next to the falls.


  2. Frank stood real still and shot of a series of shots. Then I just cut and pasted myself into the one image with Photoshop.

  3. I should have added some color into my legs while I was at it.