gallons and rainflys. I was close to 100 pounds. I gave Brett the smaller load with the remainder of the water. Brett and I took a couple short trips to get the water and ledges to the base and by the time we were done, Doug and Matt rolled in and they hiked the ropes and rest of the gear to the base. The three of us jugged up the lines and stared space hauling. One of the few benefits of having three people, the hauling is very "easy". The bags left the ground at 7pm and did not reach Mammoth Terrace until 2am. It was a night full of hauling followed by a short night of sleep.
lead of the day to he deceiving Pharaoh Ledges. We set up our ledges (not big enough for three people to sleep) and I took the next three pitches to Grey Ledges to fix. I started my lead at about 8:30pm and took pitch 12 in a little less than an hour. Doug followed up and cleaned the pitch, passed the gear off to me and I began the link for pitch 13 & 14 to Grey Ledges. Pitch 13 was fun, it featured a bunch of cam hooking and and small cam placements. I hooked a little bit extensively but that made the pitch go by quicker. I reached the anchors around 10:30 and continued up into pitch 14's awkward chimney section. With it being night time and aiding, the chimney pitch sucked. With a bit of time and frustration, I reached the anchors, fixed the rope and rapped down to Pharaoh Ledge by 12 at night. We made a quick dinner and began to catch up on sleep we lost the night before.
bolt, being lowered well below the belay, I was top stepping a bolt in my aider and placing a hook with my finger tips. The hook seemed bomber, I weighted it, taking my foot off of the bolt and the took popped. I took a good violent daisy fall cutting my finger open and partially expanding my screamer on my aider. 60 feet below the belay, Matt could tell my finger was covered in blood. I jugged back up the rope, assessed the situation and finished the pitch the correct way. We eventually hauled all of our stuff over to the Cross Roads bivy ( a really nice bivy despite the description) and set our stuff up. Matt took the next pitch off of the bivy and fixed up to pitch 19. We had one of our first early nights, in good position to finish by Tuesday.
Waking up, this was one of the first days we all felt real rested. We packed up our stuff, hauled a quick pitch and began moving. We really found our momentum this day. Switching off mid haul, always having some one lead the next pitch and really got going. Doug took pitch 20/21, through the Great Roof into the Pancake Flake. While belaying Doug on the Great Roof, a couple of NIAD people were cruising through at a sub 10 hour pace. It was ridiculous how fast and controlled these guys were moving, especially at a sub 10 hour pace.
hit bolts. Matt followed up and as the sun was setting, Matt took the last pitch of the day, pitch 27. We fixed our ropes, cleaned our pitches and set up our bivys.
The last time we aided was when we did Leaning Tower in a day in November so our aid skills needed some sharpening and Skull Queen seemed like an easy enough choice. We woke up at 4am in our classic bivy spot, smashed some breakfast, spilled some coffee, and raced down Highway 140 blasting the custom 21 Savage on our way to check off another send.
sweat, but we found ourselves at the base of the climb, along with three other teams and we were last in line.
We were really in it now. We grabbed our number and waited our turn to begin. After 20 minutes, the faster and lighter team bailed due to the amount of teams before them and Doug and I were one group closer to sending. Finally the first pitch was clear and I blasted up it, hauled up our little day bag and ran over to the second pitch to get ready to climb. There are two variations of the second pitch, a 5.10b C1 crack and a 5.11c C1 thin crack. The group ahead of us was aiding up the 5.10 crack so to get things going, I went up the 5.11 crack to the right. We got to the second belay and waited for the group ahead to clear the third pitch. I quickly ran up the 5.8/5.6 scramble and got to Dinner Ledge. At least now we have a comfortable spot to lounge about while we wait in line.
I threw Doug on belay and quickly followed him up pitch 5.
seem that way at all. We had 4 or 5 Metolious Offset cams that seemed as if no other cam would fit, those always found a way in. It almost felt like cheating with those. On this route, leap frogging offset cams made a C2+ pitch feel like a bolt ladder. With more leap frogging off sets, I set up the anchor at the belay and am soon met with the haul bag shortly followed by Doug. Pitch 9 proved to be even more cruiser than the first.
seemed to jump around a whole bunch. It seemed to also be one of the steeper sections of the climb. Doug aided through that no issue and was stoked to get to Pitch 11, the "awesome 10b splitter". I jugged up quickly and Doug was already racking up. We still had an hour or two of daylight and one free climbing pitch left. I was stoked to be rapping in day light.
Doug is a super strong free climber and cruised up the crack quickly. He made a gear anchor at the top and followed up just as quick. We topped out Skull Queen in a day despite the numerous parties ahead of us at the start, and even had a couple hours of daylight to spare. It is always a good feeling when you start the descent of a climb still in the day light. I was more excited to hit the market and grab a celebratory cobra.