Camping near the road on the Saturday night of a giant Vedauwoo kegger somewhere further in is a noisy, dusty affair. We make a note to hunt down more remote camping next time. Nevertheless, we awake to another gorgeous morning.
Today is my day to lead something wide. We park at The Nautilus and wander up to Handjacker 5.7+ and Lower Progressive 5.9+. I go for Handjacker. Never can I recall working so hard for essentially six feet of climbing. I rest on torso jams, arms and legs dangling. I fight for every inch, and leave bloody crystals in my wake. My feet are too big to heel-toe, too small to cam. I settle for thrutching until I reach the top gasping for air.
My reward is Lower Progressive on toprope, which taxes me but feels like clean strenuous climbing. I’ll admit to face climbing around the offwidth finish. I love Vedauwoo, but need a little time between spankings.
Ann and Kate make Handjacker look more civilized. The real performance, though, comes from Mark. He determines to climb it perfectly, and goes for it.