Karén did the right-hand variation of the first pitch, which had the hardest moves of the climb: slabby 5.9 with 3 bolts for protection. Afterwards, the line goes diagonally up and right over a small "roof" and then traverses back left to the belay. Instead, Karén went straight up and so he enjoyed a mini Gram traverse until he found the right spot.
While belaying, I was looking up at the second pitch and it looks intimidating! After joining Karen I started off and the cracks started appearing, with giant knobs everywhere, which made for easy and enjoyable climbing. I was nervous about the 5.8 runout too, but found it easier than 5.8, and not runout... go figure. Then I linked the 3rd pitch and ended up on a nice spacious ledge with only a few feet of rope to spare.
Karén joined me quickly and after chilling on the ledge, he headed off to the top: I called this The Tricam Pitch, because he protected it exclusively with tricams (and one nut).
We rappelled down and after a lunch, headed for the Direct Northwest Face on Lembert Dome.
|campsite next to Lee Vining||American Wet Dream||closer up of the climb which we didn't get to|
|Karén approaching Aqua Knobby||Phobos and Deimos cliff||Karén atop the first pitch variation (5.9)|
|me starting up the 2nd pitch||higher up the 2nd pitch||Karén on the tricam pitch|
|through the 5.8 section|
|Cathedral Peak||looking back at the rappel|
|Tenaya Peak||Aqua Knobby as seen from the car|