One of my most harrowing epics ever was a mid-winter ascent of this thing where we topped out in the absolute dark with 4 ft deep snow drifts on top, it was 5 below. We had to dig around through the drifts to find rocks that we could sling and rap off, in the dark with no lamps. Once I stepped on a snow bridge that broke away below me and I could see the creek 100s of feet down through the hole...almost sh*$ my pants on that one. We finally rapped off and skiied out in the dark. I started this foolishness late in the afternoon with Bob Dickerson and Mike Dean. To underscore how foolish this was, Bob actually backed out part way up, skiied out and left Mike and me to finish. For those of you who don't know Bob, he is well known to never back down from a foolish endeavour. 3 months later in the Spring, we retrieved our slings and one big hex we left for the rap.
Yeah Phil, the adrenaline was certainly flowing that day. I led the last pitch, normally 5.6 or 5.7 about 45 min. after sunset. The rock was covered with about 1/4 in. of verglass and I was chipping ice off of foot holds by swinging that big hex and using the old "wool glove sticking to the ice" trick for my hands. On the last pitch I got one stopper (I think about a #5) in a shallow ice covered seam and then ran it out to the top. When I brought Mike up, his eyes were as big as saucers and he whispered through gasps "nice lead moss". Bob and I had both just finished reading The World According to Garp, when he backed out he said that he thought the "Undertoad" was out that day, a reference from that book that relates to a feeling of impending doom.