Here's a photo from the first ascent, 20 years ago (in 1994). I'm hanging from a bolt placed at the end of the scary hooking section. This photo was taken from the hanging belay about 50 feet off Vampire ledge. The first bolt is a 3/8 incher that protects the tough hooking section. Although it doesn't look too far here, it's a distance of about 20 feet to the next bolt (that I'm hanging off).
So if you try it in one pitch, skipping the hanging belay, if you blow it just below the second bolt (that I'm hanging off here) I'm guessing you'd fall at least 60 feet (figuring 30% rope stretch) but wouldn't hit Vampire ledge.
I've talked to a few people that have taken the fall!
Thanks Josh. The crux hooking sections are relatively safe, since the wall is very steep and the falls would be clean, plus you're far enough above Vampire Ledge that you shouldn't hit it.
The most dangerous part is an expanding flake right off the ledge that can't be avoided. You nail a little crack then stick a cam behind a dinner table sized flake. As I remember, when I weighted the cam, it opened up a little wider! If someone wants to add a bolt here to avoid it altogether, I'm cool with that.
Above the expanding flake is a bolt. From there you tension traverse left, nail some thin features (A3), then there's a bathook hole, a bolt, and a little more nailing up to the original 2-bolt belay. Since this pitch winds around you'll get serious rope drag if you continue past the 2-bolt belay, which is not what you want for the tenuous hooking that comes next.
The next pitch has 4 bolts, several bathook holes, and plenty of scary hooking. Looking at my notes, I used 2 Black Diamond Talon hooks (these work in the bathook holes), a logan skyhook, a pointed Leeper hook, and 2 Fishhooks. The key for me at the crux was balancing on multiple hooks at the same time. This pitch ends at the Vampire belay.
Pitch 3: Move left to a bolt, then tension traverse left (or 5.12) to another bolt, then traverse left across a ledge (5.10) to a 2-bolt belay at a small ledge.
Pitch 4: Incredible face climbing straight up past 5 bolts (5.11+, A1 or 5.13a) ends at the 2-bolt belay shared with Stairway to Heaven. This pitch was free climbed by Scott Cosgrove at 5.13a after rappelling down from the top, and was given the seperate name "Infinite Justice" when done free.
Pitch 5: One aid bolt leads to free climbing, joining the Vampire finish to the top (5.9)
The topo in the 2001 guidebook is pretty acurate. Bring a few knifeblades, a few small Leeper pitons, and couple of baby angles.