Astroman

by We didn't write this

It is 2pm when we find ourselves staring above into the bowels of the Harding Slot, half way up Astroman. My parner, Tara and I are hanging from an anchor, having a debate many people probably have at this exact point. Should we bail?

Above is certain suffering: the slot, and then 4 more pitches, including 2 5.11s and the notoriously chossy last pitch, rated R. Above that is the descent, a 2-3 hour slug down an incredibly steep gully where a wrong turn means walking off a cliff, a descent we would certainly be doomed to do by headlamp considering the time of day.

Below is certain failure drowned by many beers in the meadow.

We look down, then up, then down again. Then I give Tara all the gear and squeeze through the slot. Tara follows. A few hours later we are on top. I redpoint Astroman leading every pitch. Tara gets up Astroman in 9 hours for her first climb in Yosemite.

Then we are in that sketchy gulley, and its dark. We take some wrong turns and have to downclimb some wet cliffs.

Finally we are at our campsite and it’s late. We bum some beers (too late to buy them at the store). We are worked, but drinking to success. Was it worth it? You bet your ass it was.

Anyways, the question, “should we bail” is one that comes up frequently on multipitch climbs. This is a very tricky question. I have bailed and regretted it, I have NOT bailed and regretted it, and through all these experiences, I have come up with the following, clear diagram which everyone can bring on their next tall climb and make the decision simple. My only regret is not finishing this fucker up before Tommy bailed off Mesalito.