I don’t have a photo of the 4th pitch of Knights Errant (5.8) in the Swell -- this one is looking down P2. But I was gripped leading P4 on fragile sandy holds, going farther and farther with no pro.
Late in the day, after we regained the canyon floor, we found that the route’s first ascentionist Paul Ross had been watching us through binoculars on P4. It seems that a previous party got off route in that spot (it’s not obvious) and experienced a horror show on unprotected, terrible rock. Paul seemed surprised or relieved that we didn’t.
I'd like to add this one to the list... Church Bowl Terrace. Not to be confused with the two other more popular climbs, Church Bowl Chimney or Bishop's Terrace. No, this was a brutal flared squeeze chimney that I've occasionally done after rappelling from Church Bowl CHimney... and it keeps me humble every time. I am too scared to try to lead it and am always thinking, "damn, this is 5.8?!?!?"
Another runner up... Harding's Chimney at Sugarloaf... 5.8 squeeze, run-out, another humbling old school 5.8.
I also am a little embarrassed to admit it, but that first pitch of Traveler's Buttress at Lover's Leap always makes me hesitate at the top through that damn bulge, still haven't found a way to do it without saying, "watch me, i think i'm gonna pitch."
My favorite 5.8 pitches?
p4 of Nutcracker... I know it's borderline cliche to mention it, but I do love that pitch, so varied from some friction moves to jamming and my favorite move on the whole route is pulling through that bulge using a downward hand jam to mantle on!
also p1 of one hand clapping, splitter twin hand cracks, awesome!
also that second-to-last pitch on sons of yesterday, the hero pitch with the laser cut perfect hand crack
p.s. Ed, I definitely hear you on the stemming/chimney pitch of Braille Book. That was one of my first climbs in the valley and I remember I kept thinking, "thank god this isn't 5.9!"