I met Hardly in Eldo today at 6:15 a.m. We were the only cars there, as usual at this time. Neither of us had any specific goals and Hardly mentioned that he was interested in TRing Derek-tissima (12a, no gear), which is a super direct start to the Bastille Crack. This route lies between the normal start and the Northcutt-Start (10d/11a).
Hardly led Northcutt with one fall (out of practice) and I followed on TR cleanly, but just barely with a number of deadpoints. Hardly then led Northcutt again (clean redpoint) and I followed again (no sack to lead it yet since I was still desperate). I followed cleanly again and with fewer deadpoints, but still wasn't feeling real strong.
Hardly then did Derek-tissima with a couple of hangs, but all at the same location - the crux move where it joins the Northcutt start. The crux of Derek-tissima leads immediately into the crux of the Northcutt start so it's pretty burly.
I took a run up Derek-tissima with many hangs. It's cool and would be fun to work on, but strictly as a toprope problem. The crux move involves a huge reach (deadpoint/throw, really) from small undercling holds to the key handhold at the Northcutt crux. Once you have this handhold, which is small, you still don't have any feet. Tough stuff.
Hardly took another lap up Derek-tissima and got it with one hang at the crux. I then went up Northcutt again and hung a couple of times as I was tired and tried to work out a better sequence. We'll be back to both of these.
A guide showed up while we were doing this to lead a 10-year-old boy and his mom up the Bastille Crack. The guide was belayed by the 10-year-old and the guide looked shakey leading the 5.8 first pitch. He put in 5 or 6 pieces (I generally place just one) and took a long time. If this pitch is tough for you, then you shouldn't be guiding it and you shouldn't be belayed by an unanchored 10-year-old. When the mom had trouble following the pitch, they thankfully bailed. They never would have completed this route safely and if they had, it would have taken a LONG time. They probably spent nearly an hour on the first pitch.
We pulled our rope and then went for a cool down up the Wind Ridge (5.8 start to 5.6). I'd never soloed this route before, but had thought about it. It went great. I felt really solid and we chatted the whole way up. We did all three pitches, including the Conner variation (named for Scott Conner who showed it to Hardly) at the end of the second pitch, which turns a small overhang via big, positive holds.
We were driving out of Eldo by 8:30 a.m. A fun morning.