This climb was done right after a climb of Concord Tower. Please see that Trip Report for the beginning of this trip. This report takes off at the Liberty Bell / Concord Tower notch following a climb of Concord Tower.
The party of 3 mentioned in the other report was still not to the summit and another group of 4 had moved ahead of us on the "line to Liberty Bell" while we finished rappelling Concord Tower. We got into line and decided to eat lunch while we waited. The long line of climbers (about 9 on the route now) slowly moved up the route (and there were now some more behind us!). I found the last climber in front of me was also a Mountaineer and was great to chat with. He was an older climber (like myself) and we had a lot of history to share.
The first pitch was a grungy climb in a wide chimney behind a chockstone. I found a route up the arete on the edge of the chimney more interesting and joined our friends at the top of the first pitch. The second pitch (the crux) was another chimney, but most of the climbing was not chimney moves. On the 3rd pitch the climbing was interesting. There were upper moves on a short steep slab, then a traverse around an upper block. This was an fun pitch and easy to protect. The climbing as a whole was interesting, but I found it much easier than the rating. Also it was far from sustained in difficulty. I guess I've been spoiled by climbing in California.
The final pitch had a short wall to ascend. I can see how many would do this without a rope, but my partner felt better with a belay so off we went for a final pitch. A short scramble later and once again we were on the summit. A steep rappel down from the top lead to another rappel anchor and the final rappel (which the Mountaineers were kind enough to share their rope with us) back down to the notch.
It was getting late in the day and we all (the group of four, Gail and I) started down. Gail and I travel at different speeds (me fast, her, uh, slower) so we normally travel at our own speed so that both of us don't feel pressure. I then wait at key places for her to make sure everything is okay before moving on. This seems to work well for us on long steep, but non-technical walks. I followed the group of 4 down to a location beyond all the loose rock, but above the trail. I waited here for Gail as she picked her route down from above, slow and steady.
After a while I saw Gail a short distance beyond the trees that were above me. I also saw a mountain goat (note this picture is a different goat) a short distance above her standing on some rocks. I heard Gail call my name out (she couldn't see me yet) and I called back to her. Gail then said 'I'm having a goat problem". After laughing for a few minutes I asked her what the problem was. She said the goat had been following her for a distance and she was starting to get nervous. This is a woman who rides and owns horses, rock climbs, mountain climbs, ice climbs, and is always up to an outdoor activity. After laughing again for a few minutes I told her it's just a goat, ignore it. She finally continued down the trail to me and the goat continued to follow her for a few feet. After she broke out of the tree area, the goat backed off and stayed up by the trees. I guess the goat lost interest. I'm not sure if the goat liked her white helmet, or maybe wondered what she was doing up there. As we walked down the trail, I noticed the goat was following us, but at quite a distance. A while later we were back at the truck at the end of another long day....
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe