More preparation for nose in a day. We are climbing it in four leading blocks. I have pitches
1-10 and 21-26. Colin has the rest. Today we planned on climbing up to dolt tower, which meant I was going to lead every pitch, and Colin was going to jug and clean them. Dolt tower is the second bivy ledge up the route on top of pitch 10 about 1000 feet up. This is where most people sleep on there first or second day on the route. We got to the base of the route at 8 am, and as I placed my first cam into the crack, there were a few guys coming up behind us. Colin said we should let them pass... It was Alex Honnold and Ueli Steck. They are trying to break the speed record of 2:37:05. Keep in mind most people take 3 to 5 days to climb the route. By the time I got done leading the first pitch, they were already 5 pitches ahead of us.
The first time I climbed the nose, I didn't do much free climbing, only the mandatory parts that couldn't be aided. I got a pair of climbing off shoes off craig's list that are really comfortable, and can even wear socks in. That way I can wear them the whole time while I'm leading, and can easily switch from aid to free. They still hurt to be stepping in my aiders, but that just makes me move more quickly to get out of them.
I was leading slower than I hoped (so I thought), and was a little bummed. The first two pitches are the most time consuming. I was still pushing hard though. When we got up to sickle ledge, 4 pitches up, there were two kiwi's bailing (who had a TON of stuff), and some german kids ahead of us, who were moving exceptionally slow. After waiting a half hour or more, I finally could start leading the pitches to get into the stove legs, the three germs were taking up the whole anchor, so when I got about ten feet below them I asked if they could clip my draw and rope in so I could do the pendulum swing and pass them. They were super cool about it and it made passing easy.
Photo by Tom Evans, Colin and I are on the left. Party on sickle, this is where we had to wait to start climbing again. It took the kiwis about 3 hours to bail off 4 pitches up. No wonder the didn't have it in them to make it.. I should have taken a picture of how much crap they had with them.
With all the waiting around for Honnold and Euli to pass us, and the junk show on sickle, we made it to dolt in 6 hours with me leading every pitch. The first time we climbed up to this point, we had the first four pitches fixed (which means we had ropes hung so all we had to do was climb up them) and it took us around 17 hours. It was so awesome to see how much I have improved since march when I first climbed the captain. It turned out that I wasn't moving as slow as I thought, and we were ahead of schedule for climbing the route in 24 hours. SWEET!