Looking down into the pit of doom
That's what I yelled when I topped out a stunning first ascent today. The yell was as much an exclamation of how good the problem is as it was a declaration of my relief to have survived the whole ordeal. Actually, to say I would have died if I'd fallen would be a gross exaggeration, but I was scared...really scared.
Yet again, Tim had the vision. He found the cave and cleaned it. He called me from work yesterday to tell me how excited he was to climb on it and how I'd "freak" when I saw it. He was right, but it turned out I'd actually seen it before. Three summers ago I'd been hiking around and found this very cave. At the time, it was the home of some wall rat and was complete with a mattress and a boom box. I saw the line but dismissed it as too dangerous because, at the time, I couldn't imagine managing a landing of that caliber. Three years later, I'm a different animal.
Tim and I both tried it from the ground initially but I immediately became convinced that the top was too hard and too dangerous to try without some knowledge of what was to come. So out came the rope and harness. I've never before top-roped moves on a problem, but I can confidently say that I have no regrets for doing so on this occasion.
Looking out of the pit of doom, Tim on top-rope
Armed with a little confidence gained from top-roping I was able to send on my next attempt. Don't be fooled though, it was not a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination. I nearly lost it on the last move as the video Patti captured will attest to. Tim was able to send on his second attempt after top-roping, he fell early on in the safe zone on his first attempt.
I am so psyched about this new problem, it is incredible. I'm also really grateful to Tim for having the vision to make it a reality, for the work of cleaning it, and for including me in his first day of attempts.
I also am grateful to Patti for her endless encouragement (every time we climb) and for her patience. She also put on quite the show nearly completing a devious highball called "Zero" at the end of the day. I'm sure she'll get it next time.
Patti bearing gifts!