It was cold in Eldo this morning when I met Hardly at 6:30 a.m. We were the only ones in the parking lot, so things were back to usual. I had on three shirts and my shell, hat, and gloves. We decided to do something easier because of the weather and racked for the Yellow Spur. It was much warmer over on the west side and we almost changed to Suparete/Super Slab, but continued to the Yellow Spur.
Since I did all the leading on Wednesday, Hardly would do most of it today. He elected to do the 10b/c S direct start and had his feet slip off twice before he got in any gear. At one point both feet were dangling. I thought he was going to take a nasty groundfall, but he hung on. This section is very tricky and much harder than it looks to climb and to gear. Stiff and serious.
Hardly strung the first two pitches together and I followed, also finding the start hard. You really need to bear down on this. I zipped up the rest of the pitch and the 2nd pitch and grabbed the gear. I led the 3rd, 4th, and 5th pitches as one and you should never do this! The rope drag is ridiculous. The 5.8 moves at the top of the 5th pitch felt like 5.10. Stupid and slow.
Hardly led the 6th and 7th pitches as one, taking the 5.10b direct finish. I followed and found this section a bit trickier than the last time I was up here. There is definitely one hard move to reach a decent hold before you can turn the corner to the right.
After struggling and failing to remove an abandoned cam a bit down from the summit, we coiled the rope and downclimbed the East Slabs back to the bridge. We had taken it very casually and done the route, bridge-to-bridge in 2h14m. I've done this roundtrip with Hans, simul-climbing in 1h15m, but this seemed pretty good for a conventional ascent. This was one of my first attempts at speed climbing. Back in 1995 or 6, Trashman and I met at 4:30 a.m. to try and get this route down before work. We tried to go as fast as we could (though no simul-climbing, as we weren't into that at the time) and did the roundtrip from the bridge in 2h25m. Now a casual ascent is faster than that... Cool.
I was driving out of Eldo by 9 a.m.