Third ascent. The week before Mike had set off up the route but had to get a top rope rescue as he couldn't clip the peg.
There was nobody there at all, just Elaine and me. Therefore no chance of a top rope this time. The boulders were slippery and it was very still and quiet. It was do or die. So I set off up the start of The Cad, traversed right to a good foothold and put the HB2 in again. Without hesitating, I committed myself into serious terrain, where it was up to me alone to see this thing through to the end, come what may! I dared not look at the tied off peg as I followed the line of incuts up to the start of the second traverse. There is a shield of rock there where I spent ages trying to get in some dodgy rp's and a tape sling over the top. The seriousness of my position was gnawing away at my concentration (if only I'd known that Hex 4 was nearby!). I have never been so totally frightened in all my years climbing, as I was from that shield onwards. I seemed to be looking down at myself tiptoeing across, with the ropes trailing uselessly down to the left of me. By the time I gained the shallow groove that led to the top I was almost completely spent and there was no meaningful gear to stop me decking out from about 150 feet. There was a nasty sting in the tail: on the last difficult move I felt a tiny foothold break off as I delicately weighted it. For a moment I swear that I thought I was going to fall to my death. At this point, Elaine was well aware of the mess I was in and was weighing up her possible options to run over the slippery boulders in an attempt to take in the slack if I fell. She told me afterwards that she realised there was nothing she could have done! Somehow, I told myself to calm down and test with my foot to see if there was enough left to stand up on. I crawled over the top and just lay there, utterly spent and sobbing as it all sank in. After a long time, I set up an abseil to strip the gear. You should have seen the smile on my face by the time I got down to Elaine. And I've been wearing it ever since!