As mentioned a few times in my blog, I almost always give routes a good ground up attempt. Onsighting is a game of chance. Sometimes the experience is awkward and brief, but other times you hit every mark as if you’ve practiced the route a dozen times. It is such a surreal and memorable feeling when it happens. I unexpectedly had the latter experience on this dreamy line.
The first few moves of Ecstacy involve climbing up a seam before a long reach gains endless arete laybacking for 12 spaced bolts. The handhold on the right side are obvious, but your toes and left hand must use subtle crystals and tiny edges to maintain balance with no rest. In the most surreal experience of my climbing life, I read the entire pitch perfectly without a foot slip or grunt, maintaining flow until I found myself mantling out the anchor ledge. A draw hanging and unchalked onsight of Ecstacy! I could not believe it while I was lowering back down the pitch, and still can’t believe it when I look at the photos while writing this post. In talking to a handful of locals, I believe I joined the esteemed company of Alex Honnold and Alex Megos as the only granite challengers to onsight this incredibly blank arete.
[A tangential aside - this line often has a fixed line dangled straight down it for people sieging it as a project. I am incredibly thankful there was NOT a rope in place or my entire onsight experience would have been foiled! If you are going to leave a rope fixed, please please be courteous to ground up ascents and keep your rope out of the way of any climbing.]