First day, I slept in a little, then took my harness, shoes, a little bit of gear, my camera, tripod and crashpad out to do some bouldering, and hopefully meet some people to climb with. I plan on returning to camp for lunch. Within 5 minutes I had met Tom from Bozeman, Montana, who agreed to climb with me that afternoon, but had other things to do right now. 5 minutes after that, two muscled guys with large packs came charging up, said hi, and asked if I wanted to climb Monkey Face with them! You're damn right I do! West Face Variation, (with direct variation) to the Pioneer Route. (5.8, A0)
We slog up Misery Ridge with the hot sun on us, and then over to Monkey Face. An outward bound group is tyrolean traversing over to the mouth, and doing the free air abseil down to the ground. We gear up, and go around to the west face for our climb.
Bill is going to lead the first pitch, me the second, Bill the bolt ladder, and then Sean "by tradition" has to lead the last pitch. Bill starts off with a huge rack of gear, but leads cleanly up to the first belay. I deny the chest harness full of gear, and take a slim set of cams, a set of nuts, and a couple of medium hexes, like I normally take, and work my way up the second pitch. A good solid 5.8 section up a v-groove, and then more mixed ground to the notch, and then up to the base of the bolt ladder. I'm very happy with my lead, but my is it hot.
We hang out there for a bit, while the party in front of us finishes the bolt ladder. Soon Bill is off, then Sean, who'se never aided anything before, but manages just fine, and then finally me. I finish off my water here, sitting in the sun. I decide I'd rather climb coherent, than be coherant for the walk later. We get a welcome respite in the mouth cave, then Sean leads off the bolted final pitch past "Panic Point" to the top. My camera belt buckle comes off here, and my camera ends up hanging off my harness by a quickdraw, which gives me quite a scare. Neat climbing, even featuring a jump across leads to the summit, where we take photos, cheer, and eventually rap down.
I'm fading fast by now, it's 4:30pm, I've had no lunch, and I'm too dry to eat the mars bar in my backpack. Sean has a small stash of water, which we all wolf down, then we have to slog back up hill a short way, and then just the long downhill of misery ridge. It's shady and cool by now, but my legs feel like jelly, and I have to stop fairly often to regroup. We finally get back to water at the footbridge, and sit and chat some more and drink and drink till we are ready for the final hill back to the cars. A very lovely day.
Billy sweating it out on the walk up Misery Ridge
Billy and his monster rack starting up the West Face Variation
My lead goes up where that rope goes.
Sean at the base of the bolt ladder, and the farming land behind
Billy following the second pitch
Sean and Bill in the mouth cave
Sean heads out Panic Point
Me on top of Monkey Face