Well... We haven't seen the summit, yet. We had a ton of work to finish elsewhere on the route for the start of day one:
Ames was busy jumaring 300 feet to organize all our wall junk, from the previous attempt. Meanwhile, I was digging mud out of a seam down on the second pitch... getting it nice and pretty. Then Amy had to haul the fat bag, while I pendulumed all over cleaning our gear under the massive third pitch 5.11 undercling. A couple scrubs here and there with the wire brush had the cling looking perfect!
There was an area in the undercling, where we had previously abandoned a cam, due to Ames being a little shorter than I. But, to be honest, it was a huge reach for me to place the TCU. So, with hammer in hand, I welded a Lost Arrow to the eye...Just in reach! Then, the fun.
I took a double length sling, passed it through the eye and lowered myself as far as I could. Arm fully stretched, about to let go, I hear..."Myles! Should I..." I yell back "Busssy!" then let go of the sling. I went flying through space, running across the wall for thirty feet screaming at the top of my lungs... Totally wild! We finished hauling the bag and got ready for the unknown.
Suddenly, the new pitch, that we thought was going to be easy terrain, turned hard and committing. Wicked face climbing on bullet-hard, red granite turned out to be the crux. Incredibly tough stance drilling and wild moves, unlocked this pitch; to make it one of the best pitches of slab climbing we have found in the Portal. This one hundred and fifty foot pitch, took us around three to four hours to equip and came out to be about 5.11.
With the sun beginning to hide, Amy took the reins. We looked at a crystal dike that would have taken more bolts, which were becoming limited and decided against it. Instead, Amy Jo turned a corner to the west and vanished. The granite swallowed her completely, while she wiggled through an awesome 5.8 chimney, that ended up slashing the crystal dike, exposing all kinds of insane quarts under an overhang.
Another drag of the bag, drop of a bolt, and weld of an inch-n'-half Piton put pitch 5 put to rest. With it getting darker, we were right on our mark. One more cruisy flake pitch set us at our bivy. A big, fat,sandy ledge had us resting in style. A full moon, mosquitos the size of horses, and a fire that blazed hot, made it just perfect...
The next morning we woke to a burning hot sun. We slowly packed our bags and stripped down to our underwear because of the extreme heat. Once the sun got a little higher in the sky, the temperature cooled. We jugged our fixed line to the cam anchor thirty feet above the bivouac and were disgusted with the looks of the waiting wall...grainy, crappy granite was about to ruin the line... real fast!
So, we took the time to look around...
We studied it, analyzed it.
And....oh boy, oh boy did we find it!
Ames had noticed it from hundreds of feet below, amazed by it's striking beauty, and hoping we just might climb the thin, golden flake.
So, we fixed two baby angles pitons and kissed the crappy granite good bye!
We, cut hard left from our bivy site and stared excitedly at the amazing flake and slab system which would become our only entry into the massive fins we want to climb. A quick look inside the bolt bag had us realizing.... Whoops?! We were out of hardware. The flake wouldn't be the problem, but the giant slab would be!
A minor miss calculation that sent us back down our eight hundred feet of line....probably due to the 5.8 slab that turned to a 5.11 bolting mission!
Till next time, when the Nimeciles Return... Again!