|Doing the "regular" finish to the Anthill Direct|
Mark and I needed to stay in shape and dialed for the Diamond, so despite my big race looming on Saturday, we met for some quick climbing on Anthill Direct.
I did this route a couple weeks ago with Octavian. It was a more exciting outing than I expected with Octavian falling on the runout third pitch and then me sitting down to change shoes within three feet of a rattlesnake. I had hoped that Mark and my ascent with be more casual.
We took the original first pitch as the start, as Mark had never done it. This pitch isn't too bad, but a little heads up for a the 5.8 leader. There are some runouts and some tricky climbing and route finding and it is a super long pitch. Mark freaked me out a bit with a story about his daughter's boyfriend pulling gear and taking a twenty-foot ground fall on his first lead. I made sure to place lots of good gear and everything went well.
The second pitch is pretty cruiser with just one semi-tricky jamming move over the lip of the roof. Sometimes this move feels insecure and sometimes it feels trivial. Today it felt trivial. Mark did well also. I strung together the third and fourth pitches, as I always do since there isn't a good belay stance. This makes for a 180-foot pitch with some sizable runouts, but I concentrated on being solid. I found a 0.75 Camalot just below the belay, so picked up some nice booty gear.
I told Mark at the belay that I should someday take the normal finish to this route, as I always do the 5.9 direct finish and he said, "Why not today?" Indeed. So, I headed off to the left instead of right to the roof. The going was easy out to the left and I could have continued further, but decided to turn the roof there and head up. I don't know if this is the normal route or not, but it was a bit lichen-covered and protectionless. I made sure not to fall and as I moved up and bit further right things got easier and I ran out most of the rope until I finally found a good crack high on the East Slabs.
It was good thing I didn't take any shortcuts with the belay (I put in two bomber cams), because Mark fell while following! That was a shock. His foot slipped off the lichen and he plunged, mostly due to rope stretch. He quickly was back on and soon at the belay, but was disappointed to have made a mistake there. No worries, though, as that's why we use a rope.
We descended the slabs back to the car and headed to work.