Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hueco Climbing Day 2

The forecast for today looked perfect, yet the sun began behind a haze that thickened into clouds. The temps were quite cold, but we put in a full day of climbing, and got up some problems. We started the day back at my project from Day 1, "Pumped Full of Semen." I hoped to send it quickly, but had trouble getting warmed up. It took about six good tries before I got it. It's a tough one for me to rate. I got it with less work than most V8s, but my sequence has a two move combo on it that feels more extreme than any other moves I can remember. It's very hard on the right shoulder. I'll call it soft V9. Ashley had hard time warming up as well. We went to the New Meadow, and had trouble working out a problem called Speed Bump. Then we did Lobster Claw, a three star V5.

At this point my skin was gone, but Ashley was still into climbing. We went to Bloody Flapper which is probably the hardest V4 in the park. Ashley tried this on two other trips without success, but today she put it all together. She climbed into the start holds from the ground, took a crazy swing at the crux, and almost kicked me, but didn't. It was a good day, and we're looking forward to more sun on Monday. Thanks go to Jordan for taking the following sequence of Bloody Flapper for us.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hueco Day 1

The weather forecast wasn't good for today. High wind warnings, dust storm advisory, and temps in the 40s. The wind was supposed to really kick up around 11, so we got an early start at 8:30. We went to the top of North Mountain, and tried to get out of the breeze. Ashley did great on a variety of problems with obscene names. After climbing "Daily Dick Dose" V7 she got "Roger in the Bath" V7 and "Pumped Full of Semen" V9. I did "Daily Dick Dose" as well, and got all the moves on the V9. I'll probably get "it" on Saturday. I decided not to type that one again by name. Then the wind got bad. We headed home early. We didn't get many photos today, but we'll get more when the weather is better.

In other news: The Mushroom Boulder is now closed due to erosion/archaeological disturbance concerns. It has two V8 projects I worked on last year, and was hoping to do this year. I'm disappointed that I may never be able to do them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

True Love and Romance.

A couple weeks ago, Justin did a blog post urging women to buy their man an Organic Bouldering Pad for Christmas. Even better is being married to a woman who wants a Big Organic Bouldering Pad for Christmas. This is the beautiful pad Josh put together for us. I asked for a Vedauwoo color scheme, and it turned out really nice. The foam feels great. I've jumped on it from the couch a few times, and it is very firm, but it absorbs energy without any bounce back feeling. The continuous top sheet hinge works perfectly as well. We will both feel more comfortable on high Hueco problems with this pad below us.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sean Drolet Dyno Video

Monday in the gym at Miramont, I watched Sean do an incredible double double dyno where his momentum from one dyno went straight into the second one. It looked very cool, and I wanted to get it on video, so last night I had my camera with me. Sean performed the double double dyno again, and did some others. Check it out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another Day Required.

I felt good and had a lot of confidence that I would climb Full Tendonitis Traverse V7 today. It didn't quite happen. I wore myself out trying to do it one way, and then discovered some new beta that makes the crux a bit easier. If I had worked that part out at the beginning of the day I probably would have finished it. I'll need one more day. Ashley started off climbing well, but fell off of Full Tendonitis. She hit the front of her shin really hard, and scraped it up. That ended her session.
We weren't the only climbers from Ft. Collins in the Black Hole. Shaun (sp?) and Josh made their first trip to Morrison today. Here are a couple photos of Shaun working Air Jordan V5.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hueco on my mind.

In Zen, you try to keep your mind on the present. Eventually you realize there is no escaping from the present. Today I'm here in the present, looking forward to our Christmas break Hueco trip. Sunny days, desert sky, numerous projects less than a month away. Childlike anticipation. Just got to keep working till it's here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pad in Good Hands.

I received word from Todd that he has the pad. Another climber had posted a note on it to leave it be, and no one took it. A happy ending. Thanks Todd!

Last night, Cameron returned a shirt I had left at the Horsetooth Hang. Thanks Cameron!

I've lost three things while climbing, and now two have been returned. The third was a digital camera, probably found by a hiker, that I left at Young's Gulch two years ago.

My conclusion from this unintentional experiment in human nature is: Climbers are usually good people, and they help each other out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Morrison Season Begins.

With snow on the ground at most Front Range areas, it was time to head to Morrison. The sun was shining, the temps were pleasant, and the snow has already melted off the hillside. We saw Annette standing in the Lobby as we pulled in. I was excited to see her, as Annette knows the area better than anyone. She is always happy to point out problems, and she knows beta for all body sizes. She has saved me days of work on many occasions. It had been a while since I had worked on one of her problems called "Pointless" V6/7. I wasn't quite sure of how it topped out anymore. Annette showed me the problem, gave me beta for the start, and I managed to send my first Morrison project of the season pretty quickly. Thanks Annette!

Annette on her warm down.

With my goal for the day accomplished, I moved on to the "Full Tendonitis Traverse" V7. I couldn't put it all together today, but I hope to send it soon. We also met Morrison locals Joel and Mo. Annette had mentioned Joel a few times, saying he might have beta on problems that would work for Ashley. He showed Ashley how he gets through the crux of Otis, and I took some pictures of him working a dynamic problem I hadn't seen before.

Now for the downside of the day. Getting the daughters to use their potty in the car, and getting them into their seats took a lot of concentration. I got distracted and ended up driving away without our bouldering pad. I didn't notice until we were home, and it was too late to drive back. It's very used, but still pretty good. I posted a message on the FRB message board. An unintentional experiment in human nature has begun. Will we get the pad back? We'll find out.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Red Feather West

Jacob gave us a tour of some unclimbed problems today at Red Feather. Four new problems got climbed.

Beta Particle V4

Jacob doing the difficult first move of Hindu Death Cabbage V6.

Ashley climbing Sunny Daze V6. She also did a sit start traverse into the problem called Long Sunny Daze V7/8.

The weather was good, the problems were fun, and there is so much more to see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Day on the Emily Boulder.

Yesterday, we headed back to the Emily boulder to try the three projects we didn't get last time. One got sent. One broke, but we think it could still be climbed. The other we decided was way beyond us. Then we thought up a new line which has become our new project. Ashley sent the first project, a sit down start on a rail. We thought it would go with a big move from the rail to a crack system, but the left leaning angle made this difficult. I could slap the higher crack, but I would fall off to the left every time. Ashley eventually unlocked it by using two tiny crimps in between. I came very close, but couldn't quite get my weight over the high step. It could be anywhere from V5 to V7, maybe V4 if you're tall enough to reach the right part of the crack. Ashley is on a "My Little Pony" kick at the moment, and named the problem "Rainbow Dash."

She insists that the next problem she gets a first ascent of will be called "Pinky Pie." This has me left me doubly motivated to get strong enough to send problems before she does. I don't want to let her ruin areas with silly names. If you're going to name boulder problems after cartoon characters at least pick cool ones like the Thundercats. Even the Smurfs are way cooler than My Little Pony.

We also climbed a problem that Jacob named "Emily's Meditation." It's quite fun, and is probably V4 or 5 depending on height.

After hiking around and checking out some other problems Jacob gave us directions to, we drove home to prepare for the Inner Strength Potluck and Slideshow night. We had a great time catching up with everybody. The food was great, and all the slideshows were a lot of fun this year. Thanks to Mike and Tracy for organizing and holding this event each year. It has become one of our favorite traditions.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Today, we went bouldering with our new friend Jacob. He offered to give us a tour of an area west of the Ceremonies that he has been developing. I've had great days at Redfeather, but I've also spent days hiking without finding much of anything. I really had no idea what the day would be like. I was quite impressed by the first boulder Jacob showed us. It's called the Golden Buddha boulder. It's only a five minute hike from the road, but it's hidden up a small gully. It has a well featured roof on it's North face featuring a warm up traverse, and some exciting dynamic up problems that go at about V3 or 4. From the top of the boulder we could see the golden Buddha at the top of the Great Stupa. The wind was a bit strong. Jacob recommended the Emily boulder, and thought it would be out of the wind. The picture in the guide he's put together looked cool, so we headed there. We hiked through a beautiful meadow surrounded by granite formations to a nice sized boulder with a crack going up it's East face. Jacob said he hadn't done it yet. We took turns figuring out the beta. Ashley unlocked it first.

With a few more trys we all sent it. Ashley decided to name it "Tao of Emily." It's aesthetic, and feels like solid, tricky V5 to us. In the meadow, the weather was good, and we spent a long afternoon working on three other projects on the Emily boulder. The sun was beginning to go down as we left, and the angled light made the formations surrounding the meadow look quite dramatic. It was a great session. Thanks Jacob, we're looking forward to heading out again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Three Day Weekend.

After parent/teacher conferences last week I got a three day weekend. The whole family was sick though, so it limited our plans. We didn't want to take the girls outside, so on Friday I went out on my own for a session at Vedauwoo. I didn't send my project, Iron Maiden, but I did all the moves and restored my muscle memory. It was a beautiful day, hanging out in the sun between attempts, and having some time to myself after long days of conferences.

Friday night we went to the Day of the Deadpoint. The costumes were quite entertaining. Ashley had a good time, and climbed well despite being sick. Paige Claassen, a 17 year old from Estes Park, climbed very strong, and won the female open division.

Saturday, I finally got an opportunity to sit down and watch my copy Underground Chuck's new compilation called "Monday Mojo."

I really enjoyed it. About half of the films are well done shorts from Rocklands, South Africa. The other half were filmed in Colorado or Hueco. I love to see areas I climb at in videos, and this one has Clear Creek, Dinosaur Mountain, Penitente Canyon, Redfeather, Millenium Boulder and Mt. Evans. The landscapes are a main feature of each film, and that brings out the atmosphere of each area. Most of these films had already been posted online, but I had only seen a few of them. You can get a copy at for only 15 dollars including shipping. I'm not connected to this website in any way, but I enjoyed this film and the pricing strategy. I'd like this DVD to be a success so Chuck will do more of them.

Sunday, I really found out how addicted to climbing I am. The weather was fantastic, but the girls were still really sick, and I had a lot of grading to do. I really felt like climbing, but I couldn't. Instead, I spent 30 minutes on the slackline, and that helped me feel a little better.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Short Las Vegas Trip.

We went to a wedding in Las Vegas last weekend. Wedding festivities filled most of our time, but we managed to make it out for a hot afternoon at Kraft Rocks. Our Dr.Topo guide didn't have up to date approach information and we got yelled at by a landowner who was a complete jerk. I'd like to call him worse, but some of my students visit the site. It was too hot to get motivated on hard problems, but I've wanted to do the Pearl for a long time. It was very difficult in the heat, but I managed to figure out some beta that worked before we left. Definitely a tricky classic.

If you head to Kraft Rocks don't go down the private drive. There is a legal approach trail one block to the West.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eldorado Canyon Bouldering

The weather didn't look good for the mountains yesterday, so we decided to stay on the Frontrange and take a trip to Eldorado Canyon. Our plan was to hit the Ron's Keg and Pony Keg boulders to warm up, and then head to the Nightmare Block. We hadn't been to the Keg boulders before. We ended up finding enough problems to fill the day there and we never made it to the Nightmare Block.

I always have a good time at the Eldo boulders, but I've learned to disregard the grades. Nowhere else have I had to work so hard for problems rated V3-6. The only V5 I've managed to do there is Germ Free Adolescence. I've tried others, and they often feel impossible. We warmed up on some good V2s. Chip's Arete is a V2 that took a couple tries before we commited to it. Trust the high step and it's easy.

After our warm-ups we got shut down on a V5 going up from a hueco on Ron's Keg. Rather than getting discouraged, we went to the Pony Keg boulder to try a "harder" problem, the Fingertip Traverse V6. The problem suited Ashley with high feet, and crimpy holds. She sent it quickly, and started working on an extension. I managed to send it soon after her, but it felt really hard. It's a cool problem.

Wisps of misty fog were blowing through the canyon all day. It gave the whole session a dream-like fantasy feel. Quite beautiful, we may have to get down to Eldo more often.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

An Unexpectedly Good Day for Bouldering.

The weather report looked bad for the weekend. I hadn't planned to get any climbing in. Then on Friday afternoon the forecasts changed. The predicted storm wouldn't hit until Saturday afternoon. We decided to head up Poudre Canyon to an area called the Bog.

The weather was perfect till the late afternoon. We warmed up on an unknown problem. It's a low traverse on sloping holds out of a cave made by two boulders about 50 feet west of Simple. It tops out on a slightly high, but casual V1 face. We didn't figure out how to do a couple moves in the cave, but there was chalk on all the holds. If you have any information on whether the problem I just described has been done or not, name, or grade, I'd like to know. From there we got on some other unknown problems that turned out to be pretty easy. I still can't read Poudre problems without trying them. Some easy looking things are hard, and some hard looking things aren't too bad.

I looked around a bit more, but didn't find much to try. We decided to head back to the Dynesto boulder. The video "Solutions" had Jay Shambo doing a cool looking dyno problem on this boulder. The problem consists of two dynos to get up the boulder. The first between the two best holds on the left side of the face, and the second to the pointed top, out right. All intermediate holds are off. I had tried this years ago, but couldn't stick the first dyno. I'd always hit the hold and spin off. Today I dynoed further to a better part of the hold, stuck it. Eventually I managed to do both dynos in a row. Dynos aren't my specialty, and I'm only 5 foot 4, but it felt about V6 to me. It could be easier for taller people. For me it was absolutely classic. Each dyno was right at my limit. Ashley did a left to right traverse of the Dynesto boulder. I repeated it, and would rate it V6 as well. A couple sharp holds, and an iron cross move are the crux. Fun problems, at a beautiful place in good weather. What more could you want?

Dynesto. I had to hang out while waiting for the camera flash to charge so it looks posed.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Horsetooth Hang 2007 Report

Weeks before the Horsetooth Hang this year, the buzz began to build. This year it was going to be a formal competition. Paul Robinson the #1 ranked boulderer in the world would be giving the slideshow. 150 dollars would go to anyone who could repeat Jim Holloway's Meathook, which hasn't been done in the original style since the 1970s. Rumors were circulating that Jamie Emerson who has climbed Circadiam Rhythm V13, and thinks Crown of Aragorn is soft, had tried Meathook and had plans to send it. Would these visitors win, or would one of the strong locals like Ian Dory or Andre DiFelice who have more experience on Horsetooth's problems take the title.

On the female side there wasn't as much excitement. When Ashley managed to add the V10 Kelley Traverse into her already impressive Hang circuit last year, the chance of another girl showing up and taking the title became quite slim. Ashley had been the female winner of the Hang for the last five years in a row. Sean Drolet had her going for a second when he told her that he had heard "Josune Bereziartu might be coming out from Spain this year." Good one Sean.

I was busy competing, but during the competition I heard and saw a lot things. Ian Dory was crushing. He had done Moon Arete V11, Cheathook V8-10, the Kelley Traverse V10, Powerglide V7/8, and Talent Scout without the undercling Vcrimpyashell.
Andre DiFelice was working till the afternoon and wouldn't be competing. Rumor had it that the pro's from out of town were sending too. Paul Robinson did the Kelley Traverse V10. Jamie had done Mammen Traverse V9. Tyler Landman who had done the second ascent of Jade V15 this summer had entered the competition.

Meanwhile, my time was occupied trying to score well against Ashley. Two years ago in perfect conditions I had managed to climb Powerglide V7/8 and beat her by a few points. I hoped to do it again since I had added Pinch Overhang V6 to my circuit this year. If Ashley didn't send the Kelley Traverse or the Silver Dollar Traverse it would be possible for me to outscore her. She sent the Kelley Traverse second try, early in the morning, and with that she had me beat.

We went to the after Hang party at Hodi's Half-Note. The pizza and beer were good. The sound system not quite loud enough. Then the winners were announced. Cameron announced that the winners of the Mens' and Womens' open category were married to each other. My first thought was WTF! "David and Ashley Lloyd are the winners." I was very confused, and Ashley grabbed the hundred dollar bill, before I even recognized what it was. We also won one membership to the Spot comp series.

How did I win the first Horsetooth Hang formal competition since Jim Karn didn't show up to the awards ceremony many years ago? This is what I've learned, and what I speculate. Ian Dory climbed what is probably the most impressive Horstooth Hang circuit ever done yesterday and had the most points in the comp, but he was entered in the Junior division, so he couldn't win the Open division, and as I said before Andre wasn't competing.

How did I beat the other strong climbers? I observed many of the top climbers falling off the Kelley Traverse, and they weren't happy about it. I speculate, that after spending countless sessions bouldering on perfect alpine rock in perfect conditions, they couldn't handle the Horsetooth Hang/Kelley Traverse experience. The long, low ball, not dabbing is the crux, finger wrecking, sharp as hell, nightmare problem they had already seen a girl do, the crowds with screaming kids, the warm conditions, and waiting in line to try problems wasn't fun after a summer of bouldering Eden in alpine environments, and they decided to leave. They left early to climb up Poudre canyon, and I don't think they turned in their scorecards.

A perfect storm of circumstances lead to me being the Men's Open winner. I like to imagine that an observant climber noticed these factors coming together, and placed a lot of money on David Lloyd #488 in the bouldering world rankings to win the Horsetooth Hang Open division this year. The odds were placed at greater than 100 to one against it. Today that climber is flying out to a destination like Virgin Gorda or Thailand with a suitcase full of cash made through betting on me. They will live the rest of their life off the funds, just spending their days putting up new climbs. Maybe that climber is Craig Luebben who organized the Hang years ago knowing he could someday gamble on it and make a fortune. If you are a climber who bet on my win, and you feel guilty, feel free to send some of that money my way.

Thanks to Cameron Cross and all the other great volunteers and sponsors who made the Hang happen this year. We had a great time. It was tons of fun for the vast majority of the people involved.

Steve Woods finishing the corner after climbing Cat Eye.

Andi Rose strikes a pose.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Super Kind Video

Here is the video from Super Kind. Since no one was up there to film, Ashley set the camera on the best rock she could find. It's all from one angle, but it moves faster than I expected because Ashley never stopped to rest. The end is my favorite part. Ashley's excitement from the send ended up being recorded despite the stationary camera.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beautiful Day for Sending Super Kind

Yesterday (Sep. 27th) was an incredibly beautiful day at Rocky. I took the day off school, dropped off Sierra and Autumn at pre-school, and headed up to Rocky to try my big summer project, Super Kind, on the Kind Boulder at Emerald Lake. I asked several people to go with me, but nobody could, so I packed the video camera, the pad, and set off by myself.

The weather was georgeous-no wind and about 70 degress in the sun. However, the east face of the Kind boulder was in the shade and at least 10 degrees cooler than the sun, and the rock was COLD! I was worried that this might interfere with my goal, as I have had lots of trouble in the past sending long problems with cold hands. Nevertheless, I tried to stay positive as I warmed up.

After positioning the camera the best I could, I decided to go for it. The beginning felt smooth, but I didn't stop to shake out at the "rest" because my hands were getting cold. I cruised through the middle section and hit the crux. Amazingly, it felt better than ever before, and I dropped down to the lower section with a lot of control. I was a bit pumped but I was able to shake out a little bit and go for the last hard moves. They felt difficult, but not at my limit, and I couldn't believe it when I got to the hand-jam rest before the last few moves! I was excited and nervous at the same time, and I kept telling myself, "Don't screw up now!". When I made it to the top, I felt like I was dreaming and I wasn't sure if I had actually just climbed the thing!

Luckily, the camera had recorded the send, and I was so relieved and happy to have finally sent a problem that I had worked really hard on. It took me ~8 days over almost 2 months. I have never projected something so long, and it was awesome to send it this season. I was really worried that I would have to wait until next summer to send it and would have to re-work it all over again. Now we can go to different areas and try new things-yeah!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Dave, Sierra and Autumn for being so supportive of me and helping me reach my goal for the summer.

Now to get ready for the Hang tomorrow... Ashley

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Taking it to the Next Level. In a couple ways.

When I get tired of my plateau (see a post below on how to plateau) sometimes I try to take my climbing to the next level by working on something really hard. When I do this, I do get stronger, and eventually send my hard project, but it can take a long time. That is where I'm at right now. I've been working on a project for about a month and a half. I've come very close so many times, but each day I end up hiking out without a single new ascent to add to my ticklist. At times like these, I realize how much I appreciate the things that go along with climbing in a way that I don't when I am getting my climbs. When you're sending, you're mind spends a lot of time replaying the send and thinking about what you'll climb on next. When you aren't sending your mind is more centered in the present. I realize that just being outdoors in beautiful environments is enough. The focus present in each attempt, send or not.

It is the best season of the year to climb in the high country. Get out there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The End of Summer Bouldering Comp

On Sunday, while hiking up to the boulders in Rocky Mountain National Park, a hail storm hit us. I sheltered the girls under the bouldering pad, but all our coats got soaked. We decided to hike back out and climb that afternoon at the End of Summer bouldering comp at Inner Strength. It was a fun comp with more participants than were expected. I climbed well, and was happy to come in 10th. Ashley was one of the top four females who competed in the finals round. She had to go into isolation for about 30 minutes while the two finals problems were set. Both finals problems had one big move, and I wasn't sure if Ashley would be able to win. The long move on the first problem threw off the first two competitors, but the third , a tall and strong high school freshman named Ellie, managed to tag the hold past the large move. Ashley managed to tag the hold to tie Ellie's score. Then Ellie flashed the second finals problem. Ashley stepped up to the second problem not knowing that she needed to reach the top to win. She climbed smoothly to a huge undercling move to a high left sidepull. She couldn't reach it so she grabbed the lower hold again and moved her right foot to a higher hold further to the right. She stretched up and left again, and her finger tips just barely made it around the hold to cheers from the crowd. She floated the rest of the problem. It was a tie in the finals, but Ashley had a higher score in the qualifying round, so she won the comp and a pair of Evolv shoes. She also caught a t-shirt, and I won a pink water bottle, and a free burrito. It was a fun day. Thanks to Bryan, Colin, Chase, Mike, Tracy and everyone else who made the comp happen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Diamond

Sunday, Andre and I headed up to the Diamond. I'm still sore, and even feel a bit sick. We left at 1:30 am, and started the hike at 3:00. It was a neat hike at night. The sky was clear. The stars were bright, and at spots we could see the city lights of the Frontrange. We got to Chasm Lake before sunrise, just as the sky began to brighten. I'd never been around Chasm Lake before, and I was surprised by how much talus we had to cross to get to the base of the Diamond. At the base I felt dizzy, and had a slight headache. I had a bit of altitude sickness, but I didn't realize it at the time. I thought I was simply tired from the hike, and out of breath from the altitude. The North Chimney was completely clear of snow. It looked low angle and easy, so we started up unroped. It got steeper, and the rock was much worse than I had expected. We didn't solo much before we decided to rope up. The chimney was full of dirt, and sliding rock. The flakes on the side of it are loose, and once I grabbed the top of a ledge and a huge section of it rocked out towards me. We ended up doing 3 roped pitches to get to Broadway ledge, and it took us a lot longer than expected. The clock on my phone didn't work because it couldn't connect, but I estimate that it was 11:00 am when we got there.

We took a short hydration break on the ledge. I was feeling a bit sick, and was upset at how bad the North Chimney had been. There were a lot of protection options, but the route felt like 5.5 X because falling rock could easily kill you in there. While setting up a belay, Andre knocked down a rock that hit my helmet pretty hard. I was lucky I hadn't been looking up. Truthfully, I wasn't that psyched to climb anymore, but the weather was good. Andre was into it, and we had done so much work to get there that I decided to go for it. Andre lead the first 5.6 pitch very quickly. I took the sharp end for pitch two and headed up the 5.9 finger crack to slings. My topo said "climb to the slings, then climb left across the flake traverse." It warned not to traverse too low or you would end up doing poorly protected 5.10 moves. I saw what appeared to be a good line of flakes. I looked below it and thought "Yeah, you wouldn't want to traverse out there." I started to traverse looking for the fixed pins that are supposed to protect the traverse. I kept traversing farther. Putting in very marginal gear as I went, I kept thinking that a fixed pin must be around the next little corner of rock. I was fifty feet out sideways with four bad nuts placed before I realized I was off route. I had traversed too early. I climbed left 5 more feet to a flake and tried twice to fit a #2 cam behind it, but it wouldn't fit deep enough. I needed a .75, but I had used it already on the crack below. It took many nervous minutes, but I managed to get three nuts behind the flake and then clip into the anchor. The possibility of taking a huge gear popping pedulum, and getting seriously injured, without a working phone, where rescue would cost over ten thousand dollars in helicopter fees, left me very nervous. Andre followed the pitch to the sling anchor in the crack, and belayed me back across the traverse. It was now probably 2:00 pm, and we could see many small storms to the east.

It was only a matter of time before the storms would hit us. We were behind schedule to reach the top with light for the descent, and I was still scared from my off route epic. I told Andre it was time to retreat.

It took six double rope rappels to get back to the base. On the way down, we got hit by some hail, but luckily it stopped quickly. The hike out seemed much longer than the hike in, even though it was downhill. It rained heavily for a little bit, and I was very happy that we were off the Diamond. We got back to the car at 8:00 pm.

Andre is still psyched to climb the Diamond, but I'm not planning to go back. I've checked it out, and for me the planning, work, commitment, and dangerous loose rock in the North Chimney outweigh the benefits. It's a cool environment. The Diamond above Broadway has great rock, but it is hard to enjoy it when you need to climb as fast as possible to beat the storms. I can climb pitches that are of similar quality elsewhere, and have more fun, with much less stress. I understand the Diamond's appeal. I felt it's pull for years, but I don't anymore. I learned a lot on the Diamond, and I think I'll go back to bouldering for a while.