I remember the incident with the clarity that comes from a near brush with death. I was soloing the slabs with rope in hand... just in case. Mark mentioned the s#$% rope, moments later he is pruning a slab dwelling manzanita with his ass, and next he is wiping his freshly soiled pants down the granite towards me. If not for the shrubs, he likely would have tomahawked though 100+ feet of 5.6 (my preferred medium for performing the tomahawk maneuver is snow). His slide was of a semi-controlled nature: mostly sitting on his pack and glissading on his approach shoes.
Seeing him clutch the flaccid rope, after some moment of confusion, I was able to decipher the dire nature of the scene that was unfolding. There was a moment of terror and disbelief when I realized that I must make a split second moral judgement call: attempt a somewhat futile intervention (putting myself in great danger), or get the f$#@ out of the way and possibly deal with the emotional ramifications of being a bystander of my friends demise.
Being the foolish romantic that I am, I had to attempt to prolong this bromance. My plan was to swing into him at such an angle as to slow his rate of descent, grab his bag to slow him, and additionally direct the good rope towards him as he passed (in hopes that he may grab it). My greatest fear was that he would instinctively latch onto me and drag me down with him.
He never did grab that rope, but miraculously stopped on some small protrusion 15 feet before a near vertical section. Simultaneously, a melange of relief and dread washed over me. I was relieved that Mark and I were still alive, but terrified that he may never want to climb or bivy next to me again. I down climbed back to him relieved to discover only minor wounds.
Now overcome with despair at the inevitable prospect that Mark would wish to bail, I prepared for the walk of shame back down to Mirror Pond. Before either of us could begin a dialog (other than the sort of obscenities and laughter that ensue after such an incident), that crazy bastard put down the 30 foot section of cotton rope that had no business being up there and proceeded to have another go at the approach. I took a deep breath of of that intoxicating Sierra air, and proceeded forward towards the crux of the approach. This time I made sure that I was not in his fall zone. I was both happy to be alive and spend one more night under the stars bromancing with my partner, my climbing partner, Mark.