In Through The Out Door - 5.8- R (M3/M4 WI4) (Cave Grade III)
Stumbling around high in the Flanders basin looking for Kalakay's obscure Fact or Flanders last winter, Bubba and myself discovered a most unique feature: out of the ceiling of a small alcove adjacent to Flanders Field, a tunnel rose into the darkness, with a window of light at the top revealing it's exit. A crack in the rear of the tube made its safe ascent look feasible; however, lacking either headlamps or whiskey, we decided to save the project until we were better prepared.
On Sunday, we returned with proper equipment. From the ground, it appeared that this tunnel might exit onto the Field proper, making the situation unclear as to whether this was a rock, mixed, or spelunking route. Anticipated all three, I set off with a rack, tools, and a headlamp. The climbing proved moderate, with good stemming, chimneying, and solid stances on which to place lousy gear. A fall would mean a bloody Price Is Right, Plinko-style rattle downward, making you wish that Bob Barker would have neutered your father before he met your mother. Three quarters of the way up, a small window opens to the outside- I found myself thinking of the Eastwood classic, The Eiger Sanction, the railway tunnel, and the opportunity to chicken out. However, it was much too small to escape, so my thoughts soon drifted to the bare-breasted heroine of the Sanction, which seemed to help me forget the string of rotten gear below me and the loose Hyalite cobbles I was standing on.
Finally, I crawled out of the top of tube to a small stance about halfway up Flanders Field. With more ice, a short downclimb would allow one to finish on ice. At the moment, however, there was not enough ice formed to allow upward progress nor a v-thread. The rock nearby looked unsuitable for pins or bolts, making me wondering how I was to get back down. Eventually it was decided that Bubba could lower me down the outside, using the rock surrounding the tube as my anchor. Bubba followed and cleaned, lowering back down the inside using the same technique. It felt wrong somehow, but it got the job done. Like drinking imported beer or kissing your cousin.
All that was left then was to give it name. Now, Bubba and myself are more sensitive to political correctness than most, so we had to avoid the obvious, offensive temptations- we couldn't possibly name it Return to the Womb, Ascending the Descending Colon, Flander's Cornhole, Human Hamsters, Holy Hemorrhoids, or Ticklin' the Sigmoid . That just wouldn't be right. Instead, we called it "In Through the Out Door". For the Led Zeppelin album.
If the absurdity sounds intriguing, approach to the base of Flanders Field. Climb up the gully to the right and into the small alcove. The route is above you, climb to the daylight. A standard rack, with double 3 and 4 Camalots would make the climb a bit safer, although it still probably deserves an adult rating. 5.8-R. If Flanders was in, I guess it would be M3/M4, WI4. A headlamp is required, as is whiskey. Bourbon would be best, but Canadian will do. Find your groove in the tube!
cleatis and bubba