Climbed the South Ear a couple weeks ago, and wanted to report that Kent Bennesch replaced some bolts on the standard route. now all belays are bomber, and theres a bolt above the belay on P3 preventing the fall onto the belay. P1 & P2 link, use long runners, P3 & P4 link as well, make sure 60M rope. This is nice as it turns the south ear into only a 2 pitch ordeal.
Shirley and I drove out to the upper TH for Menagerie on Friday night after work. Unseasonably warm night preceded a beautiful, spring-like day. After oversleeping, we altered our plans and decided to head for the Ears. Climbed The Cave Route to the summit of North Ear. The first pitch was OK though I did have to rest a few times. It's steep but fairly juggy. Beautifully bolted. The second pitch was awsome in terms of exposure but much harder for me than P1. The 10a face traverse followed by a burly entrance move into the easy final crack/groove was an a.. kicker........ended up being A0 for me :(
Watch for very interesting/loose rock "plates" as you move above the Cave on P2! P3 was a trivial run up to the summit. Beautiful views!
PS As I was belaying Shirley on P2, we heard what seemed to be a huge and prolonged (~3 sec) expolsion or series of explosions off in the distance to the south. I saw a contrail angling towards the earth at about 45 deg (and dissipating some distance above the ground)........my horrifying initial thoughts were that a large airplane crashed! This uneasy feeling was intensified 45 minutes later as we heard a helicopter pass overhead. Thankfully, when we reached the car later that afternoon, there was no news of any disaster.
Anyone in the area heard that noise on that day? What the hell was that??
The first time is always the most exciting - especially with no real knowledge of the route.