What a stunning piece of rock this is. At first glance totally blank and vomitously heinous. Who in their right minds would ever contemplate approaching this edifice of pure hate and loathing? What mere mortal could withstand it’s toxic filth long enough to even lace his/her shoes up?
I’d thought all of the above on many occasions on my way up and down that particular hill without ever actually knowing it’s name, history or number. For one thing, there is a jumble of rocks just to the right of the landing, and they give the impression they would like nothing more than to shed the blood of the unlucky few who fall from the top. Beautiful Edges is nearby, as is Flash Point, Final Cut and The Gift; all problems I’d done happily and enjoyably in the past, but never FOTL, sitting there in a cloud of brooding malice and contempt. I knew I couldn’t climb it, and so did the problem. So I left it alone.
To my detriment, as I learned when I actually looked past first appearances and gave it a try. It was Canadian Jan (pictured) who convinced me to try it, and on a recent Hill trip we laid a carpet of pads and set-to, getting to grips with its sharp pockets, groin-straining high-steps and balance intensive footwork. We were all given the ring-hand by the top-out, which was undoubtedly the hardest part. None of us ended up doing it that trip, and it instantly became a must-do project.
Begin with a few high steps as previously mentioned, to gain the left-hand arete, one huge sloper this, then blindly slot toes into the bad pockets, reach for the sloping lip and embark on a sphincter tightening traverse via terrible smears to align the body for the last heave. From this position, that jumble of boulders I mentioned are virtually right below you. Summon courage, bite your lip, and pull through the mantle without letting your sweaty digits skooch off the utterly blank rock on top. Not a technical mantle by any stretch, but the combination of poor holds and footers, plus the prospect of having your arse rammed into your cranial cavity by the rocks below make for one scintillating finish. I guarantee you will feel amazing on topping this problem out. Whole new vistas of worldly beauty will open up, you will achieve partial enlightenment and a new-found love for your fellow human beings, as well as a deep appreciation of the universe and all of existence. That and be eternally thankful you didn’t pussy out on the top and plummet to your untimely doom.