“Good routefinding skills are necessary...by and large there is no obvious line to follow...” Or words to that effect, route description of The Flakes. There just aren't any pushovers on the North Face, especially at 5.8. Bet the features are awesome. Just a matter of getting lost, finding yourself 30 or 40 feet up a stack of sucker holds leading into irreversable climbing.
The Traverse looks wild. Those guys were way ahead of the curve; the exposure must be breathtaking.
All these recent threads about some of the best face climbing anywhere face climbing is to be had, making the fingertips tingle with plans for this season, something to train for, even if it's a bit late in the game; I'm grateful Scott introduced me to the place in '77 or '78.
How providential for you guys to have the skills and the vision come together on a virgin wall, pure as the driven snow, that the big wall generation left untouched, for lack of crack systems, evidently.
My partner describes Middle Cathedral North Apron climbing as “touching the face of God.”
I have a deep respect for everything on North Apron area... at a time when I was routinely doing all-day 5.9 adventure climbs in the valley, dabbling a bit in 5.10, I got spooked on the first pitch of 5.8 Quicksilver. That was the easy part- angle kicks up a lot and you are looking at a certain ankle-basher if you blow it before the first bolt on second pitch. I couldn't readily see how I would make it up to that bolt. We ran for the pizza deck. And that is the easiest thing around there?
Maybe I was having a bad biorhythm day, or maybe I just didn't spend enough time getting used to that type of rock. It felt really insecure to me- lots of holds and features but all still down-sloping and a little more slippery than I would like.
Love me some Middle. I count my ascents of DNB and N. Butt as some of my favorite adventures. First time on DNB with Eric Daub, I felt thrashed on the supposed 5.7 chimney. Really spooked me, but Eric was cool playing rope gun, so I belayed. Had a memorable bivi on the Catwalk. I went back the next year and swung leads on it with another buddy. Good times. Bring knee pads for those long chimney's up to Thirsty Spire, which has a habit of earning its name.
^^^ I somehow remembered standing at a belay atop P1 (or maybe P2?) in front of a basically vertical wall with a bolt several body lengths away. I guess I remember it based on how it felt to me at the time rather than how it actually is :)