spyork and I had another go at toproping Fat Merchant's Crack yesterday. The first time was described here:
This time we approached via Scheister and Harding's Chimney, but first Steve warmed up on Farley.
I got the Scheister 1st pitch, which I wanted to try leading left side in. My outside foot slipped a couple times but it turns out if you jam your body into that flare hard enough you (probably) won't fall out.
Steve led the Fat Merchant's anchor approach (= Harding's Chimney 2nd pitch). This approach offers (a) horrendous rope drag for the leader and (b) minimal verbal communication.
Instead of continuing up and right to reach the north Sugarloaf summit (barely visible washed-out upper right) you stay left, tunnel through, and downclimb a bit to the Fat Merchant's anchor block. Here's a view looking up the gaping maw of Harding's 2nd pitch (left variation).
At the anchor block we found our 2-year old slingage faded and questionable, so Steve graciously donated his cordalette to back things up.
Now let's see...what's a good knot...
You'd toprope off this anchor, wouldn't you?
The first step rapping over the edge is the worst. Here's Steve on his way to place his Valley Giants for directionals (they felt more reassuring than the bigbro we used last time).
And the obligatory panoramic. Climbing Fat Merchant's wasn't any easier than last time but it's still a good full-body workout!
I am sore today.