I met Hardly in Eldo today at 6:30 a.m. and it was 43 degrees with a strong breeze. It was also pretty dark. The sun had risen and lots of clouds to the east would prevent sunshine when it did. We bagged our more ambitious plans for the Edge and headed to the west side of the Redgarden Wall. Yes, this wouldn't provide us any sunshine, but it wasn't there anyway and we knew from experience that things were much warmer on this side and out of the wind.
Without a real solid plan, we headed up the trail wearing tons of clothes. Sure enough, it was much warmer on the other side and I mentioned climbing Suparete (11a/b) the other day with Bill Briggs and how I had learned a few tricks while watching and following Bill. We decided it was time for me to redpoint that pitch. We did Mr. Natural (8+) as a warm-up and then I sent Suparete without any problems, doing my direct start as well. This climb is now one of my favorites. Done correctly, this route isn't so desperate and the climbing is so cool.
I used all my tricks to get up to the final bolt, where the climb traverses a bit left and becomes a trad climb for the finishing 5.10 section. It still took me quite awhile to figure out the best way to do this traverse and I found a key right foothold that I hadn't been using before and now I think this section is solid as well. I finished up the lead, placing a couple of small cams and belayed Hardly up.
Hardly froze his fingers solid going up/down at the start of the crux. He had forgotten about the completely hidden hold around the corner that allows you to get your right foot up high in preparation of going for the arete pinch. When he finally found it his fingers were numb and the rest of the climb proved pretty challenging for him, but he didn't come off.
We downclimbed the West Face of the Lower Ramp (5.0) and then Hardly led the marginal, finger-crimping route known as Toys for Tots (11a S). This has two bolts on it and the hard climbing is pretty well protected and then there is a freaky 5.8/9 slab move above where a fall would put you very close to the ground.
I followed without falling off and we traversed right to the tree at the top of Mr. Natural and rapped back to the ground. We were hiking out just as a couple more parties were hiking in. They'd have nice warm weather for their climbing...