The holiday rush has lulled, friends have come and gone, and we're still here in Bishop. I am completely happy with my trip thus far, but with every day it seems there are more things to see, try, and possibly finish.
Unfortunately my supply of contacts is running low, down to ten days if I push it. If there is something that we absolutely have to come back to finish then the motivation will dictate our next move, but all projects aside we'll likely be Hueco bound for the rest of the season.
Yesterday was the last climbing day for Stephen Meinhold, a good friend and very strong climber currently living in the gloomy Pacific Northwest. Due to circumstance he doesn't get out much, but when he does he likes to murder boulder problems. After one day ascents of Kill On Sight V12, Beautiful Gecko V12, and a couple other double digit sends we spent the final day hiking out to the Pollen Grains so he could give Spectre V13 a second session.
Two days before I tried Spectre as well. It was the first time I had ever pulled up on that hard of a grade. The results were better than expected, as I had only hoped to stick the first move. On my best attempt I managed to match the first hold and attempt to lock off to the second rail. Though sticking this second rail and holding the swing seem to be the crux it is inspiring and extremely motivating to try something so hard. A line as perfect and beautiful as Spectre is absolutely something I consider a lifetime goal.
My attempts aside Stephen did well on his first session, and made subtle, but noticeable progress on day two as well. In his words, "As much progress as you can make on a three-move V13."
With daylight left and skin to thrash we made for the Peabody Boulders. The hours passed quickly as Stephen and I began to session like we used to on plastic back in Portland. I nearly stuck the big move on Thunderbird V11 first go, and managed to pause on it second try before the razor blade right hand begun to dig into my skin and prevent and further attempts. Stephen worked out some quick beta on The Mystery V11/12 (depending on wingspan) and made a few last ditch attempts before pads arrived under the immaculate Evilution face.
At that point Stephen and I were both in redpoint mode, taking turns between The Mystery and Evilution (to the lip) V10. I have been attempting to climb this face in forced ground-up fashion for three sessions and yesterday I made a breakthrough by climbing four moves past my previous high point on two separate attempts, falling on the last sustained move to the backhand jug below the lip. I would have loved to reach the lip, but now the pressure is off and the only crux will be to gather that many pads for another session.
Stephen also made valiant efforts on The Mystery, and on his best attempt managed to hold the crux swing, falling one move before easier territory.
Night fell heavily and we realized that there was no one left in the Buttermilks. Our headlamps shined insignificantly against the looming giants above us, and though we had been once again humbled in this historic boulder field it felt great to be the final car to kick up dust down Buttermilk Road.