|Richard on pitch 2|
|The familiar sunset|
|Salamander up in Danland|
The concept of working a sustained route eight miles deep in the High Sierra may seem a little nuts to some. However, to me the wall is one of the most striking in the range, the climbing is awesome and the basecamp setting so pristine that I feel like it is my second home. After about thirty days I spent there, I guess it is. One thing that drives me crazy is the passed up opportunities to explore other parts of our giant mountain range, but since so much work has been put into this project, I feel like giving it 100% is the only way I could be satisfied with the effort. If I can't physically do some of the moves because the wall is too blank, or I did not reach my full potential as a climber, that's ok, but I have to try. This is not the time to half ass. As far as my rock climbing goals go, not much would make me happier if the line went free and other climbers had a good time exploring the wall for themselves. The Sensei, Ronin and The Emperor, if goes, would make an epic road trip for anyone looking for long, hard and free.
|Alaina on one of the variations to pitch 8|
|View from Charlotte Dome|
|Alaina about to start the 6th pitch|
|Bubbs Creek mermaid|
After an eventful off season I was excited to go back and apply my hopefully improved technique and strength on the route. To my surprise, my first trip resulted in much frustration and decreased hope. After the sending the first eight pitches in the end of the 2014, I barely followed the first on top rope, fell in multiple spots on the third, fourth, fell on the 7th, and couldn't figure out a way to make progress on the 9th without pulling on the bolts. In addition I fell in the end of the 9th pitch, fell following the 10th and stepped on the bolt on the 11th - pitch I freed onsight on the first ascent. Serious doubts entered my mind. Not only was it a big step back, I saw no way in hell I could free the 9th pitch, even if I had a great day and got the other stuff to go. Since I would love to have other people enjoying the route ASAP I thought maybe one of my stronger face climbing partners could do it on some sort of a team FFA effort. The following weekend I hiked out to the wall with Alaina - crusher who has been pushing me to work harder in the gym as of late. A day prior to hiking in, we climbed at Danland and she sent an awesome 5.12a fingercrack in perfect style, no biggie.
|Birthday treat day after climbing on the Emperor|
|Sending the crux :)|
|Cool clouds in the distance, viewed from the summit of Charlotte Dome. Time to get out!|
|Richard going over an overhang on pitch 10|
|Richard on pitch 11|
|Richard on the beginning of pitch 9|
|PITCH 9 GOES!|