Phil, Dan and I headed up to Mount Charleston for an afternoon climb to escape the blistering heat of the desert and the bustle and boredom that Las Vegas can bring at times. This was a bit of a strange day in the sense that it was my last day climbing with these two sensational humans. They have taken me in and treated me as one of their own and included me in their family life and never once not included me in their plans. I feel very privileged and humbled by their good graces.
We arrived at the crag and there was a bit of an agenda for the three of us. Phil had decided that he needed to start lead climbing again and has been a little anxious about it but knows he has to start sooner rather than later. Dan wanted to get on the 5.13a extension of a 5.12a route called “Highwayman”, this was the route that I wanted jump on again as I had come close to sending it on our last visit up there.
As I climbed through the first three bolts of the warmup route I heard a shout from below, it was a man named Jonathan Short. We had climbed together at the Gun Club in the South Sierra Area with Jeff and Chrissy one day not so long ago. I was so pleased to hear his voice and was hoping to see him again before I left the US. He’s a good man and great fun to climb with. He was also at Mt Charleston to get on Highwayman and give it a shot. What I didn’t know was that Dan had mentioned to Jonathan we were headed up to Robber’s Roost and said tag along if you like. Good one DT 🙂
Dan put the draws on our project and laced up the extension project that he was wanting to have a shot at and descended back to the dirt after a little bit of a struggle with the crux on the upper part of the route. Jonathan put his hand up, tied in and jumped on Highwayman to give it a first shot, his goal was without question an on-sight send. I tied in to belay and was ready to catch my mate. He took off with solid enthusiasm and commitment. By the third draw he was looking a little dubious and at the fourth he sang out “Take”. He was so disappointed but climbed to the anchors after resting for a few minutes. He took a fall at the crux and got a nice rope burn for his efforts.
I climbed the route next and fell at the crux after pulling the hardest move on the route, this was my third attempt over two days. I was a little disappointed but felt I climbed the route well and was really keen to get back on it. The boys were fabulous support as we pushed and inspired each other through our attempts.
Phil had not lead a route in quite some time and tied in. He was nervous but there was a stoic side to Phil that I really like. He always tried to process his anxieties and fears by approaching them head on. He stepped onto the face and and moved slowly and diligently up the wall, clipping the first bolt, then the second and the third. He looked up at the next move and decided it was time to perform a move that he loved………..Dyno time…….Phil looked down at me and said “I am going for it!” He launched himself up, all four points of contact now airborne heading for the glory hold. His finger tips scrapped over the top and he fell into space as the rope went taut and Phil let out a very loud whoooooooo….hoooooooooo. It made my day seeing this man so happy with his achievement. He went up to the second last draw and came off again. Satisfied with his first attempt he came back down to earth feeling pumped. Next time he said…….next time.
Dan stepped up to the plate and sent the 5.12a section with ease and rested for a couple of minutes and then took off up through the first few moves to the first crux of the extension. With a quick “watch me here” he tried the crux and fell. A little frustrated he pulled back on and pulled the crux move and then continued up to the next crux and through to the anchors. Lowering back to the last crux he tried a couple of idea’s and was happy to come down; next time he said.
We all gave our projects another shot. Jonathan falling at the crux, I fell on the second last move before the anchors, Phil fell at the crux and let out an excited yell and Dan fell at the last crux. although we did not send on the day I am pretty sure we all had a blast together and spurring each other on. This is what friendship is, this is what climbing is and these guys are some of the “good humans” I have met and appreciated greatly along the way.
“Boys” – If you read this……let it be known that I will return to Las vegas and we can go out and create more good memories and send more good routes on some of the best limestone I have climbed.