Saturday we were at the rock early, and ex-b decided he'd try an 8. He decided on a climb I had notes in my book that both pitches were nice (I had done in 1998, Son of Easy O). We looked up at it and the guy ahead of us was climbing through this roofie area. I thought he was making it harder than it was supposed to be, so told ex-b to go ahead.
So he did pitch one and took a while. As I'm belaying and waiting, I asked the guy when he came down on rappel if that was really the second pitch. And he says yes. CRAP! He said that you need to be secure in 5.8 roofs. CRAP! He starts to make noises about how I could avoid it, and I just said 'I'm going to do it. I just wanted to know.'
So, I follow pitch one, and the bottom was slick so scary, and at one point you have to use a small ledge and my right hand is still a bit messed up so I couldn't do what I needed, so I cheated. Yes, I cheated. I held onto the sling on the gear above and pulled myself up to the next good hold. And I didn't really care one bit. OK, maybe a little bit, but I figured I'd give myself a break. I finished the first pitch, and ex-b was in shock from that pitch. I congratulated him, but he had already been beating himself up about how it was only an 8 and it was so difficult. Jeez, this is different climbing!!!
I looked up. And looked up. So, put the gear on, and thought I'd try the first move and see if I wanted to go further. At least it wasn't slick. Did one move, put in one piece of gear (which I still could have pulled out and got away with backing down), and did one more move. And another move. And finally I said to ex-b, I guess I'm doing the climb. Each move was slow. Another guy came up pitch 1 was waiting and I told them they could bring the second up - I didn't want to feel rushed. But the guy down below said he'd wait for me.
So, I kept going. At the roof area, for the first part I went up and down at least 6 times to find out if I could keep going without gear (no) where to put gear (there) get the gear I needed and put it in (whew it fit) and put the draw in and clip, and then to get energy to keep going. Since I didn't know what I'd find (this was a Gunks 8 remember), at the next decent area in the middle of the roof and before another big roof part, I stopped to put in gear - stemmed out with one drop knee. I actually put two pieces in, and had no chalk so hands sweating and switching hands back and forth while I put the gear in.
Then I went, made it, made it around the corner, and said some expletive, looked back at ex-b and said, that wasn't so hard. So, made it to the belay station and started pulling ex-b up. He comes up in almost no time. Crap! 'you did that so fast!'. He looks at me and says, 'well I didn't stop, just pulled gear and went, and am still pumped out. you did a great job.'
Then the guy who was coming up after us came around the corner. He had the same name as my ex-b so he said hello. I said my name, and he looks at me: "you are AWEsome Pam!" "I've never seen anyone stay so long in the roof." So, that felt good, kinda, since I did spend a long time there when I could have gone through. So, anyway, I gave him some kind of shit as he was passing by, as I am wont to do. Above us, he calls down to me "you're not so awesome anymore". Which was hilarious. "don't you know you're supposed to be nice to people above you?"
After rapping down, we went to do a 6 that I had never done and always wanted to: Moonlight. Ex-b chose the first pitch and I got to do the second, apparently the exciting pitch. And, man, was it exciting. Mind fuck #1 was running into a wasp's nest. Which FREAKS me out. I had to say out loud to convince myself "I'm not going to freak out. I'm not freaking out" and kept going. Then there was a traverse and you had to go around a bulge that sticks out - so you are above open air. Mind fuck #2. I was petrified because the hand holds weren't great and the last piece behind me wasn't so close. Ex-b asks if I want beta from the people who on the ledge with him. NO! Finally finally, hands sweating like mad, I made it around the corner.
You'd think it all would have been ok from there. But noooooo. #1, I had created tremendous rope drag from the pieces I put in on the traverse. #2, the climb is rated PG, so gear is not abundant. And the moves were not easy (for a 6). So mind fuck #3 was climbing up the rest of the way feeling like someone was trying to pull me back down. Brain was toast for the day.
And there's the danger. Although I had eaten, the brain was toast. I was aware enough to tell ex-b to go first on the rappel so he could find the next station, but when I went to rappel, I was just about to step off the ledge and realized my belay device was not in the belay loop, but on one of my gear loops, which is not at all rated to take such weight. That would have been the end of me. So, someday that is how I'm going to die or get severely maimed - on rappel after climbing hard. I'm not looking forward to it and will try to avoid it to the best of my ability, but chances are...
On that bright note, have a nice day. Sorry I didn't check blogs last night - too busy writing this post and listening and participating in Seven Second Delay.