Me and Rockermike went up there a few summers back and had a blast. Neither of us had a camera but someone sent these to Mike:
Delicate section on the last pitch, before the steep and killer blocks:
Chalking up for THE pitch:
Long shadows from the summit:
Lots of blocky, shattered rock up there, as you can see to our left. I'll second whoever was commenting on the beauty of the plateau - it sticks with you, for years.
Edit: In the top photo of my post, top left side of the pic, you can see the flared chimney feature from Roger Breedlove's photo. Fun pitch.
I think any leader has the overwhelming feeling of "I don't want to fall here!" when they run into the crux section. I fell, tiny nut held, got it next try. Still wouldn't want to fall there next time...
There's a small boulder problem off a ledge on the last pitch that doesn't really take pro - wouldn't want to fall here either, and it's not 5.9.
Great thread. I'm glad someone dug this up...reminded me of a super fun weekend.
A couple years ago my friend Darshan and I were headed up to the Whitney Portal with the goal of climbing Mithril Dihedral on Mt Russell. On the way up the portal road a friend's car broke down. His passenger was a Dutch guy cruisin' around California for a few months climbing. The conundrum was that this Dutchman needed to get back to his car, parked up in Tuolomne. So we agreed to put Mt. Russell on hold and keep headin' up the highway. After a late night encounter with the tool, and a few hours of shut-eye, we woke up to beautiful blue skies.
We stopped at the Mobil station and bumped into another friend, who needed a ride into TM with a plan to solo the Matthes Crest. So here we are, 4 people, with packs, climbing gear, sleeping bags, etc. in a compact car.
After dropping the fellas off, it was time to figure out what to climb. 3rd Pillar it was...
There were a few parties on it already so we started out on some alternative pitches and linked up to the rest of the route higher up. What started out as a bummer the night before, turned into one awesomely fun day of climbing...