Friday randomness: Lesser Flatiron Gerbil

Chipmunks: friend or foe of the Lesser Flatiron Gerbil?

It’s Friday afternoon. It’s a holiday weekend. Let’s slack off.

(Do you think my boss reads my blog? Yikes!)

Anyway, for a bit of Friday randomness, I’ll tell you about the Lesser Flatiron Gerbil (gerbillus fleshredus) I encountered while climbing yesterday.

I met a friend bright and early yesterday for some backside Flatiron climbing. No slabby east faces — just steep pockets, pebbles, flakes and gerbil teeth.

Yes, gerbil teeth.

Friend is working on a climb that reportedly has a gerbil tooth on a key hand hold. He showed me the evidence (since I don’t climb well enough to get within 50 feet of the gerbil tooth) — his crimping into the gerbil tooth had pressed a tiny but dark bruise into one of his fingers.

It’s not surprising the gerbils can get up there. I’ve seen chipmunks and squirrels climb V10 boulder problems. They climb 5.14 with no rope, no sticky rubber on their feet like we inept humans have to have. So surely the Lesser Flatiron Gerbil can leave a tooth on the crux of Friend’s climb, 100 feet up.

Still, I did not experience the gerbil teeth until we moved over to Der Freischutz. Though I didn’t see any gerbils running around, they must be there. Some of the crimps on the west side of this rock are just littered in gerbil teeth. I was smashing my fingers into loads of them to get up these climbs.

Gerbil teeth are sharp.

Today I’m recovering from a definite net loss of fingertip skin because of all of those gerbil teeth. But I’m cursing that which I’ve never seen. Where are all the gerbils? Are they nocturnal? Shy? Or endangered?

And why are they losing so many teeth?!?

Anyway, lesson learned. Here’s the best worst way to climb on gerbil teeth:

1. Climb when it’s too hot to climb.
2. Find crimps gerbils have left many teeth on.
3. Crush sweaty fingertips into gerbil teeth.
4. Grab quickdraw.

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