After gaining the Lunch Ledge, Daniel and I took a short break and reviewed the guidebook, trying to make sure we knew exactly where to go. We also took this chance to try and spot a lost cam that one of the soloists had told us about; I was really excited to try and get the cam, since he had told us it was an old-school solid-stem Friend. After about ten minutes of looking around and route-prepping, I racked up, Daniel set up the belay, and I stepped off the Lunch Ledge.
As I took the first few steps off the Lunch ledge, it began to dawn on me that I was stepping into completely uncharted territory. The last time I had been on this part of the route Adam had been leading, and he decided to take the harder variation of it in order to save time. So, knowing that I was leading into the relatively unknown (more that it was unexperienced, I had read the guide book and knew the basic layout), I took the route slow, and tried to place gear in the best spots that I could to protect Daniel from the traverse.
However, as I worked onwards I started to get more and more nervous; this route may have been technically easy, but DAMN it was exposed! No holds what-so-ever, simply friction moves, and nearly nothing to place gear into either. However, I finally passed over the boilerplate after much debating over what route to take, and made it to the edge of the overlaps.
Here I spent a bit of time trying to pry an old Friend-style Cam from the rock, but gave up after about 5min and continued moving upwards. Now, the problem with this portion of the route turned out not to be the difficulty, but the rope-drag. At the end of the route I could barely move with all the drag, much less climb fluidly. So, I built a belay where I was, and Daniel lowered me down to remove key piece of gear that were tightening the rope. After I cleaned them, I belayed Daniel up and past me to the closest official anchor where he built up a full set.
At this point it was starting to get rather late (almost eight), so we decided that it’d be prudent to cut our losses and escape from the route. So we looked around and started for what looked to be the correct escape route. Well… two small slabs later we’re in the woods, night has officially fallen, and my headlamp is out of batteries. Luckily I had my phone on me, which aside from being waterproof and bashable, also has a surprisingly powerful LED on it. So, I strapped it to the headband from my headlamp, turned it on, and we started to plan our next step on how to get off the route.