We just threw our haul bag off the first tower...
Seven pitches of wide stemming, large dihedrals, and run-out arêtes have lead us to this point. Changing our original plan of two days/one night on the wall, into a single push, we were forced to use the empty shell of a giant, orange haul bag.
Boots, gloves, hand drill and all nonessential crap were jettisoned.
The bag soared!
Two more towers to climb.
Pitch Eight was a down climb to a very sharp ridge. A short haul with our small bag of pitons and water jug almost sent me flying off the Eastside.
“Amy, when I say ‘Let Go’ I mean lower it out slowly… My bad!”
We are now in the notch underneath two giant headstones; guardians of the second tower. A bit of wandering around in the wrong direction, we decide the cat walk highway just makes sense.
Amy bags the Second Tower.
A giant, knobby boulder must be climbed, and then down climbed on the backside to a very, very rotten wall. A quick summit of Tower 2 ½…also very rotten.
Amy bags another.
She then takes me across another rotten, sharp ridge to a down climb boulder problem which I can only describe as pure shit!
“The hand and foot holds are pulsing and crumbling…” I yell.
I’m thinking to myself, “Amy was top-roped for this”. Our only option was to throw the rope around the rotten horn on the arête of the boulder and hope the holds don’t blow off. They’re still pulsing.
Back on solid ground. Some ridge climbing and quick down climbing around and through a hole takes us to the notch of the third tower. A huge pine tree marks the start of the next pitch. A splitter crack rises above the pine, a dead end. I turn around the arête and with a coil of rope in hand cat jump to the slab below. We climbed a broken dike, the gateway to the Death Zone! Guillotine flakes and suspended blocks must be used, oh so gently.
Through a cat claw shrub to some summit blocks… Amy bags the Third and final Tower.
A rappel off a pine tree drops us perfectly into the descent gully.
Fourteen very different pitches of climbing made up this adventure. The sun is still shining, but now, the real work…descending the snow in climbing shoes to find our bag!