|Mark on Touch and Go|
With the Diamond out of condition, Mark and I headed once again to Eldo so that we'd stay sharp. Mark wanted one more go at Bolting for Glory. We had planned to continue up Anthill Direct, but it was wet and we decided not to.
This time I strung the first pitch of Touch and Go into Bolting For Glory, just to do something different. Mark didn't need to go to school on my climbing, as he knew the route well now. This route is becoming much more comfortable for me and it felt pretty easy peasy this time, save the for the two feet at the crux, which is still really dicey for me.
Mark followed Touch and Go, feeling a touch rusty, and then climbed the bottom part of Bolting for Glory too far to the left, burning some valuable energy. Still, he was clean when setting up for the crux. He does the crux a bit different than I do, but it might be even better. He nearly got it clean, but was too tired, sagged out a bit, and came off. After a brief rest, he made the crux look easy. At the very top of the pitch, on a 5.7 slab, Mark slipped off and fell again! This was a surprise, but underscores that even the top part demands some attention to detail.
Since we bagged going up higher, we decided to rappel down to the bottom of the second pitch of Touch and Go and climb that. Mark had never done the second pitch, which is a complete classic. I normally bring RPs for that pitch and place one at the start, but I left them behind today - stupid. Luckily, there was a fixed RP just a bit above where I usually place one, so that provided the protection I needed.
This pitch is a bit tricky, with uncomfortable, balancy stances for placing gear. If you just run it out, it is so much easier, but today I placed the gear required to be safe. I paused a bit at the crux, remembering the tricky balance that is necessary to unlock the secret. Once done, I was soon at the belay.
Mark loved the pitched and climbed nicely up to the crux. He didn't want or get any beta and he figured out the balance moves. He now wanted another shot at Bolting for Glory, to finally clean it up. To give him a rest, I lowered down first and climbed it again, using Mark's beta, but not feeling any more solid.
Now it was Mark's turn. He climbed the lower section better and breezed up to the crux fresh. He knew just what to do and cranked the move! Above, he was careful not to slip off again and blow the clean ascent. He felt great finally cleaning up that route.
We scampered over to the Redguard Route rappels and descended there, as the ledge is better and it doesn't put you on the ground in a wet area.