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Description of FA
Tucked in between the start of Anchors Away and Point Beyond, Direct, you'll see a tiny notation in the old guide that says, "Slamdance, 5.12" with a little arrow pointing up.
Around the time we were on Golden Years, Rubine spotted this line on the Apron and asked if I'd have a go at it with him. This is a short story about David's brilliant leads, and my tagging along as a witness.
It was a time when we were freely using power drills to bolt--before our realization that power drills violated the Wilderness Act. So with that, Dave started up with a bit of hardware, and a tag line to our Bosch.
David was climbing in excellent form and he got up about 40' before he felt the need to sink in a bolt. Also, I think our tag line was running short. So he stopped and pulled up the heavy drill. Tag line to mouth, repeat until you can grab the drill.
This form of FA'ing was as "free" as it gets. Rubine got the bolt in, and without weighting any gear, clipped the newly-placed hanger and was off and up.
Twenty-five feet up, the route gets very close to Anchors Away. While there is a short section of 5.10 right there, Dave didn't want to squeeze in a bolt so close to the existing line, so he bared down and did the few moves to the base of a thin left-facing overlap. There, at a stance, he sunk the second bolt, a good 80' up.
The climbing from there is spectacular, .10d out and up the thin corner. Twenty feet up, David reached another stance. But he was feeling good, and wanted to keep climbing, so he did. Up more 5.10, to another stance. But he was feeling good and wanted to keep climbing, so he did. But this time, he got a few feet above the stance and something must have gone off in his mind because he stepped back down and placed his third bolt. I don't know, 30' above his last?
Then up again, fresh with the confidence that protection seems to give.
Some moves above, the wall steepens to a short headwall. There, the fourth bolt was placed. This final steep section gives us brilliant 5.10b climbing, cut finger-sized edges on an otherwise smooth wall. The prize at the end is a wonderful ledge, perfectly placed about 150' above the deck--we were four bolts up and even with the top of the second pitch of Anchors.
I took the lead for the second pitch, and stepped high off the belay ledge to get the first bolt in. .10d climbing got me to a ramp, and trying to match Dave's previous effort, I felt I had to go until by stomach reached my brain before I could place another bolt. The climbing wasn't bad, and I got in another one or two before I got to a section where I took repeated whips. Yeah, I could have placed a bolt at the stance, but then again, Dave was belaying.
I finally turned the sharp end over to Rubine, who was chomping at the bit. And good thing too, because at the top of the second pitch the wall steepens again, but this time without the wonderful edges to moderate the climbing.
Following, I couldn't repeat the sequence to the anchor. Not knowing how to grade the thing, we threw "easy 5.12" at it.
Above the second anchor, the climbing still looks spectacular. But the day was spent, and we never returned to go higher (even though we both wanted more of that clean, wonderful Apron).
A year or two later, I took some buddies over there. I found enough courage at the very bottom of my rucksack to rack up a few draws and set off on the sea. Man, that is one pitch of excellent beauty, and if you can climb the grade, I highly recommend the adventure--the headwall at the top of Pitch One gives you the feeling that Superman must occasionally reach. As for Pitch 2, where's David when you need him?
Odd, for some reason, the hanger on the first bolt goes missing, even after we replace it. And because of that (plus the expanse of granite that you see between the bolts), I doubt the line gets repeated often, if at all. Which is too bad because it really is worthy.
P1 = 10d
P2 = 12a
Glacier Point Apron, just right of Anchors Away.
Although not a Sport Route, all you need is draws. Four bolts on the first pitch, 6 or 8 on the second.