|The last moves through the rotten band|
So, what's the moderate climber to do? Forgo all that great climbing above? Never! The 5.9 climber's approach to this route is to climb the first pitch of Touch and Go (burly 5.8 vs. burly 11+) to the super cool second pitch of Jules Verne (which has an even more dangerous and harder start than T2), which gets you to the Upper Ramp. From there you can follow the upper five (guidebook) pitches of T2. The locals call this either T1.9 or T1.5. Mark and I headed here this morning.
Mark hadn't climbed since the Diamond and I had only climbed once. We were both getting a bit out of shape and weren't ready to quit climbing for the year. I have one more big climbing objective on my radar for this year, so I need to stay somewhat in shape.
I pulled into the Eldo parking lot at 6 a.m. I was surprised to see another car parked in my spot, the first spot. It was a tall guy and a girl. I popped out and said, "It's no big deal and I'm not upset, but you parked in my spot. You don't have to move it, but I'm just letting you know for next time." They were cool and weren't even there to climb! They said some friends of theirs were going to climb the Naked Edge and they were going to shoot some photos. That's cool. We started gearing up and the tall guy told us that his friends were training for the Naked Edge speed record. Now they had my interest. "Really?" I said. "Are your friends Scott and Brad?"
Sure enough, they were. When Scott and Brad pulled in I learned that they were going to give a show at Neptune's on the Naked Edge speed record. Mark and I offered up the use of our photos and video, thinking these would be a huge help over the photos this guy was going to take from below the route. We tried to tell the guy that he should be more over on the Fowler Trail. From his proposed location he'd be taken the ultimate long-distance butt shot!
I tell newcomers to Boulder to "be humble", as you never know when you're talking to some world-class athlete who looks like a normal human and is really modest. If you've not humble, you can easily get your foot stuck in your mouth. I know this one dude who made this mistake at the base of El Cap. He didn't know he was talking to Scott Cosgrove and Steve Gerberding (Valley legends) and when they revealed their plan to bivy on the Block instead of the usual last bivy on the much higher on Long Ledge, said, "If you get off from there, that would be amazing." They responded, "We can do amazing things" and the light slowly started to come on for this tool...
|Onsighting the 5.9 fingercrack (yes, I see that #3 Camalot)|
I led up the second pitch to the Ramp and Mark followed nicely, cleaning climbing the pumpy dihedral. We walked up the Ramp to the start of upper T2 and I combined the 5.7 pitch with the 5.9 fingercrack pitch and set up a semi-hanging belay on a tiny stance before the 5.8 slab pitch. Mark followed, climbing remarkably well despite the layoff. He onsighted this tricky pitch. He was feeling the effort at the belay, but wore a satisfying grin.
I led up part the 5.8 slab to the easy 5.6 ramp, which was covered in lots of disgusting bird shit, but it didn't last long and with care you could avoid almost all of it. It took me a bit to place the safe gear and climb through the tricky, weird, intimidating rotten band. I pulled up the rope and Mark followed quickly to the rotten section. In the midst of the balance moves out to his right, he messed up his feet a bit. The handholds are so bad here that reversing things would be difficult. I was well below my belay device (setup in guide mode at the anchor) in order to take photos and I'd have had to climb back up there to give him slack, if he wanted to reverse things and try again. He didn't call for slack, though, and tried to push on through. Unfortunately, it wasn't an easily salvageable position and Mark fell off.
|Climbing through the "Rotten Band"|
|Topping out on T2|