We departed at 4am from the dirt road and began our first leg of the approach. Smashing down 120 to get to the Bridalveil Falls parking lot at 4:30am.
This time, we didn’t botch the approach and got to the base at 5:30. Fortunately there was a fixed rope on the catwalk so we were at the base of the bolt lasers in no time. By 6am Doug started up the bolt ladders while I sorted gear. We brought a mini haul bag with 2 gallons of water, snacks, and storm jackets.
Once Doug fixed the line he pulled up the mini haulbag, and I started jugging up the two most overhung pitches on the route. With lack of sleep and being sick, this posed a real challenge. I ended up doing a mix of re-aiding and jugging. Eventually I got up to the belay and began the third pitch.
The third pitch took me a little more than an hour and half too lead mostly from me contemplating the hook/mantle move up to the intermediate belay. After that, I did the few aid moves to the bolt ladder and cruised through it. When I got to Guano Ledge, I made a quick anchor and started pulling up the small haul bag. The small haul bag, filled with water and snacks arrived quickly, but Doug arrived shortly after making my break short lived. I was pretty sick the week prior and did not get any better for the climb. My whole body ached and cramped while I sat and belayed Doug.
Between wiping endless snot on my jacket and giving out a little too much slack, Doug was off on pitch 4. There is a significant amount of fixed gear on the pitch through the traverse and Doug blazed through it linking the 5th pitch as well. I lowered out, cleaned the traverse and quickly jugged through the bolt ladder.
When I jugged up to Doug I felt even more sick than when we started so I gave the last pitch to him. It was now dark so the head lamps came out and Doug finished the last C2 pitch with a breeze and scrambled to the summit. The summit of leaning tower is weird, but oddly expected. It’s more of a summit ridge with no real solid ledge to just stand on. We topped out after 12 1/2 hours of climbing, which definitely wasn’t the fast time but it was in a day which is all that mattered.
Unless we do a winter ascent of something, I think this marked the end of our season this year. It wasn’t a bad season at all, I broke my ankle on the Nose, we climbed The Prow on Washington Column, did Lurking Fear on El Cap and finished off on a one day ascent of West Face, Leaning Tower. I’m sure other people have better season but for two average climbers taking time off work & school, not a bad season at all.