I got out with Tony Bubb yesterday. We basically did the world's slowest ascent of Anthill Direct. I know Tony was a bit sore from the race and he has a dorked up ankle with doesn't allow him to bend it much, but it was quite a switch in speed. I guess I'm jaded now because of so much fast climbing. Fortunately, Tony goes about the same speed on hard ground as easy ground. He literally climbs 5.10- as fast as he climbs 5.5. I think his 5.5 speed is slow, but his 5.10 speed is fast. Yet they are the same speed... Curious.
I led the first pitch, which is actually a bit of an adventure pitch and involves some heads up climbing and gear placement. We did a variation (forget what it's called) on the 2nd pitch. It's rated 5.9+ and off to the right. It's got one hard section and it might be 5.10- to lead (only followed it). We then set and anchor and rappelled the second pitch so that we could do the variation to the left of the second pitch. This one is called Semi-Wild (5.9+) and I had backed off it before because of lack of gear and hard climbing. This time Tony backed off it because of some wasps, so we did the regular second pitch of Anthill Direct.
I strung the next two pitches together and these are super high quality, airy pitches. I'd rank these as some of the best moderate (around 5.7) pitches in Eldo. Stellar stuff. Tony led the final pitch up the 5.9 lieback exit. This is a cool, burly, committing exit, but is over pretty quick.
We downclimbed the East Slab descent and I went back to the base to retrieve Tony's back and shoes (I bought my shoes with me and left no gear). Tony had a very slow, painful descent in his climbing shoes. I've done enough of that and carried my shoes this time. It was a fun time out.