Good Peyton. High quality images, coverage! It's true, the heat is daunting. I remember when this route was established. Bridwell and Schmitz actually hated it and had procrastinated a bunch getting it done. There were a number of assaults on it by them you see, prior to the actual completion of the line.
No I guess that technically it doesn't count as a free ascent since i tried to place a head that pulled out. I don't think it really matters what you call it, but the point is that there shouldn't be too much nailing on this route in the future. If you bring offset aliens and are willing to engage in some creative, albeit difficult, climbing, you can do this without nailing. There are, however, a few fixed heads and maybe 2 fixed pins that are required and would have to be replaced if they pulled. I would suggest future parties bring 5-10 heads and a handful of pins just in case.
I've never bailed on an el cap route before despite running out of food and water, so I would have continued even if I didn't find the sweet water cache. I could have gotten by on a bit less, I just would have been light-headed and tired all day.
Yes, having an ant in your ear is freaking psychotic. I slept with tissue paper ear plugs for the rest of the route!
Yes, it does stop raining in NC and the climbing there is actually pretty awesome. Looking glass is like a mini el cap with 7-9 pitch routes, many of which are pretty stout. I'm actually in school in minnesota now so I haven't experienced a NC summer in a while.
The bolt/dowel breaking incident at pitch 17 was pretty scary. I had the bad-looking bolts backed up to the 4" crack about 8 feet down and to the right. The problem was that hauling from that crack would have been a pain (would have had to extend all the way up and over the big block). So I figured I'd just haul off the bad bolts and avoid complete demise by backing them up to a #4 camalot. I made the anchor, rapped down, lowered out my bags, cleaned the pitch, then started to haul. As soon as I leaned back, the better of the two bolts broke and loaded the other one (I equalized them with a shoulder length sling). I immediately unclipped from the whole system (it was a big ledge) and began backing up with more cams (4 total, I think). The problem was that the haul was already loading the one crappy bolt/dowel, so I had to keep on hauling off of it. Every time I leaned back I was just waiting for it to break and shock load the cams. Unpleasant. It also gave me a huge blood blister from pulling up on the haul line to keep from having to lean on the anchor so hard (I don't wear gloves, but at that moment I was wishing I did).
I'll work on more pictures later, but I actually didn't take much more. All of them are ledge pictures because I was too tired during the day to get the camera out.