|Colin and I With the First Load|
Our plan was climb the first 3 pitches of the climb then leave 2 ropes fixed in place in order to regain our high point the next morning with the rest of our gear. We had decided to each take 1 pitch that day. Colin started out with a 10b layback section to tricky C1. As I cleaned, Cheyne speed-jugged the free hanging haul line so he could start leading the next pitch. Cheyne started up what the topo said to be a C3 pitch. He cruised it claiming that it was only C2. He then decided to link pitches 2 and 3. This put us up on Anchorage Ledge. Done for the day, we fixed 2 ropes and headed back to the car.
|Cleaning the First Pitch|
|Cheyne on Pitch 2|
|Feeling Good on Anchorage Ledge|
Equipped with two double portaledges and a six-pack of Old English Malt Liquor, we started our push to Tapir Terrace (top of pitch 8).
I took the lead first thing in the morning. Pitch 4 starts with a shiny bolt ladder which leads to C2 for the 2nd half of the pitch. There were a bunch of fixed heads on this pitch and a hook placement. Not a whole lot of opportunity for free climbing but I was able to get out of my aiders for 10-15 feet of the pitch. Once I finished Colin came up the haul line and started off on P5. The day before a party had told us there was a blown head on the pitch that forced them to retreat. We had a head to replace it but we managed to tap in a beak to the top of the head instead. There were no features to hook on or clean placements we could have made to make it passed the dead head. Colin gave a loud cheer and a "You have to look at this beak" once he was back on bolts. The beak was extremely shallow and easily came out by hand. The rest of the climbing was easy. We were also now in the shade since the sun hides behind the column after about 1 or 2 p.m. on that route.
|Colin Leading Pitch 5|
|Clouds on Half Dome|
|Pitch 6 With a Floating Haulbag on Re-Animator|
We all decided to get two pitches fixed above us while Cheyne stayed and set up the ledges. I took P9 which was rated C1 on the topo but was more like C2. I leapfrogged cam hooks for 3 placements and then moved into some more flaring pin scars. The C2 section was only 40' or so. This gave way to some 5.9 free climbing or really awkward aid. I made the mistake of not wearing climbing shoes on this pitch and took a while to make it through the loose C1 grovel. The anchors for this pitch is two pitons on the right and a really bad bolt out left. Thankfully there are places to plug plenty of pro.
Colin lead the majority of the 10th pitch via head lamp. The 5.10+ or C1 section was soaked an had to be aided. The rest of the pitch is a 5.0 gully which, even at night, Colin was able to move through really quickly.
|Our PLUSH Bivy|
|Effects of Olde English Malt Liquor|
With two pitches fixed above us and two easy pitches to go we had an easy morning with a great view of half dome. Hauling through the 5.0 gully was a bit of a drag but nothing terrible. We topped out around 11 a.m., polished off the rest of our food and any excess water, and were on our way down North Dome gully.
|On the Summit With Plenty of Juice to Spare|
I stop to use the bath room at the hotel on our way out. As I wait with a 1000 yard stare I see a man holding his child's hand going from stall to stall getting more and more frustrated after each one. He says something along the lines of "This one's dirty too!" and finally walks into the last one. Moments after I hear him walk out and say "God! $500 a night and no toilet paper! Let's go!" I laugh, leave and think "Thank God I'm not a touron".
Overall the climbing on The Prow was good. The route a a tons of fixed gear that really took away from the route IMHO. Tons of hammered nuts, excess copper heads, etc. I don't think this route can be done with out a portaledge unless you are traveling solo. Even then, the bivys are pretty shitty. Climbing as a team of 3 was way less of a cluster than everybody makes it out to be. Having a person to talk to while belaying made the climb much more fun also (If you're interested or have questions feel free to contact me). I was really confident in my wall systems and with the exposure of a grade V after this climb. I highly recommend this route to anyone wanting to get on bigger routes. The Prow left me feeling ready for El Capitan.