Last weekend saw another outpouring of activity on the mountain. A bunch of people clambered upon those southeast slopes despite the onset of blackflies, climbing several favorites old and new and installing yet one more route at the Measles Walls, this one on the festively-named Top’o'the Measles Wall, which lies just above the right shoulder of the Upper Measles Wall.
I had climbed a meandering line up its dirty, misleading face a year or two back, naming it Pustulence in light of its remarkably unpleasant and difficult character. Mike Prince looked below the filth and saw something better. He thought there might be a moderate line running more or less straight up the face. Given that I might, if the stars align, be guiding here someday, another moderate line at the Measles Walls sounded like a good idea to me, so we looked things over a bit in the weeks leading up to this past Friday. Cleaned up, it really did look like it might be good. After a lot more scrubbing, I took a test run TR on it and judged that yes, it might be a really good lead, so after implementing a few key fixed placements, it was time to give it a go.
While Mike gets credit for sending Stairway to Heaven, he doesn’t consider himself a strong leader, nor has he FA’d a lot other than that. At first, he offered the send to Garth, but we wanted none of that. This looked to be a good line, seemed close to 5.7 or so, and we felt that, rather than give it to Garth (let’s face it, he’s a beast, he could waltz up it), we would have Mike play off with relative newcomer Ben for the send.
What commenced was a highly amusing, educational, and fun time for all. Let’s just say Mike took his first good leader fall (and second, and third…), Ben took his share, and each got at least two turns on it. We had planned to hand the reins to Garth after two falls each, but decided this was just too good to let go. Garth and I wandered down to another of Mike’s erstwhile projects while he and Ben continued their struggle.
We listened to the sounds of slides, grunts, and cussing while we set a TR on Lockjaw, then began adding to the aural frustration. Taking turns slapping ourselves against the wall here, once again the decptive appearance of Measles Wall rock had us hoodwinked. It was everything we could do to get off the ground. Fortunately, our suffering was soon abated by a whoop and shouts of joy from above: Mike had snagged the line.
Ben and he came down, happy to be have one in the bag. Mike dubbed it Halitosis because, he said, it left a bad taste in his mouth. I’ve TR’d it, and of the Measles Walls sportish routes, it seems the easiest. I’ll have to take a run on the sharp end to be sure, but I think it goes at 5.7 or 8-; it felt easier than Full Moon Fever (which I think should be regraded 5.8- anyway).
That would more or less do for Friday night. Garth, Ben, Mike, and pooch Mammut bedded down a few yards away, I headed home for the night.