One More Underworld Escape

Jamie McNeill came up Saturday, and after a bit of mucking about on the South Corner Cliff, we found ourselves rappelling into the dreaded Underworld Roof, an open project that has lured in and devoured unwitting climbers before (me included). On his way down, Jamie elicited the all-too-familiar phrases, a rhapsody of the lost, if you will. This thing looks sooo doable!

Taping up in hopes of a send


Jamie however, is pretty strong. I’ve seen his tenacity, and thought maybe those qualities might somehow, miraculously, pull off the coup. He may not have Peter Whitmore’s incredible reach, but maybe, I thought, reach wasn’t as useful as it might seem here. A free onsight would be little short of a miracle, perhaps, but maybe a hangdog start at working out all the moves would ensue.

Setting out toward the crack

But the outcome was the same as Peter’s: by the time Jamie got to the crack, he was on aid. He did pull off a daring and tenacious plug at the crack’s base to place gear, but had to hang on it immediately. The rest was a replay: aid up the crack; the only improvement this time was a wisely-remaining rap rope for pulling the last move, a yet-to-be done move, even on aid. Egad, the thing is hard.

Workin’ the aid route again, so familiar a phrase by now. 

Jamie quickly adjusted to the rhythm of aid, and soon hauled himself up the rap rope. I cleaned the pitch, also employing the escape line for the last move. If we can’t find a hardguy willing to tromp out and free this line, we may return and try a clean aid attempt, just to get it “on the books” and maybe increase the temptation for others to attempt it.

Hauling up the rap line to escape

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