We were 10 pitches into the Direct Beckey. We were out of water, exhausted, and ready to be done. As I started into the tenth pitch with my butt hanging out over the 1,000 feet of open air, I couldn't believe the layback finger crack was 5.8. Nothing about this route thus far had been easy for me and I will willingly admit that it was well above my fitness level. Greg had charged through the leads like a champ and I was just glad to be there.
We had both reached a point in our misery that only the summit could cure. It had been a spectacular route with some of the most amazing climbing I have ever had the opportunity to do. Elephants Perch is a massive wall made of a really unique pinkish orange granite. Its size is hard to capture in photos. I had hoped to document the climb with my GoPro, but when I had reached the top of the first pitch I looked down and saw it sitting peacefully at the base. That meant we only had Greg's iPhone to document the route.
As far a climbing trips go, the few I have been on with Greg have been some of the best. Last year we had a pretty interesting time on Castleton Tower. This time we went for the longest most difficult route we have ever tried. Both times Greg has dragged me up to some of the most amazing summit moments of my life. He is a solid climber and he always has a great attitude, even if the situation turns out less than ideal. This trip made me realize that I need to get my fitness level up if I want to keep getting invites from Greg and if I ever want to reach my bigger climbing goals. Just climbing here and there isn't cutting it.
As I pushed up the last pitch with everything I had left, I reached the summit ready to vomit. I don't think I have ever been so dehydrated. Greg and I were all smiles and high fives. We were happy to be off the wall but grateful for the good weather and the experience. I learned a lot on this trip about myself and the type of climber I want to be. Hopefully next time I am in the Sawtooths I will be able to swing leads on this route. I am lucky to have a friend like Greg that is patient enough to let me follow him up something like the Direct Becky.