It all went down yesterday. Finally, after five years and a Big E worth of effort, a free ascent of Right Wing. After a ramble up Eagle's Domain, JB, Em, and I lifted our heads. Above lay the dragon, the Filibuster.
Em set the tone for the day by leading the 10c bolted face, cranking through the wet finger lock without pulling on the bolt. JB and I knew we too had keep our hands off the draw.
Next came JB's lead up pitch 4. He found all sorts of rests I hadn't conceived: armbars, stems, backsteps. If had bat-hung or knee-barred, I wouldn't have been surprised. He slayed it.
I was up next. Pitch 5. My nemesis. I rested at the belay for 20 minutes to de-pump and psych up. I rehearsed the crux in my mind again... found my focus, and unclipped from the belay. Quickly, I reached the stem rest before the crux. After entering the crux with my hands mixed up, I downclimbed, re-de-pumped, and re-entered. This time I nailed the crux hand jam, foot bump, finger lock, and hand jam. I laybacked up 5 feet, still in the crux. My foot blew. I yelled to turn the fear to pure power. I drank that up... and cranked through to the so-so rest atop the crux, wiggled in a piece, and continued.
The next 20m were pure battle. My tick marks and H-marks really helped. Nearing the end, I rested up on a hand jam, then continued laybacking. The crack is all there but recessed behind my left shoulder. After 10 feet, I stopped to place gear. I picked the wrong piece and felt my arms fading. I realized that this was my moment of truth.
I calmly put the gear back on my harness, breathed deep... and layback for Jesus. Another 10 feet later, I stepped onto the critical foot, a no-hands rest. I yelled into the sun. A raven looked down at me. From there, it was a done-deal. I danced up the final moves, and clipped the chains. Pitch 5. Finally.
Having already sent pitch 6, JB knew exactly what was coming. He de-pumped then floated it. What a rock star!
And that's how Right Wing finally allowed me passage. A team free ascent!