Sandy : Since our day 1 ended late, we took day 2 casually and did not start as early as we had hoped. We got to the base of Super Slide at about 7:30am, where we ran into a party whom we had met at the Hobbit Roof in Joshua Tree back in December. We went first and they quickly followed us up to the big ledge on pitch 2 to wait for one party ahead of us.
I took the pin scar start of pitch 2, which was 5.7 but felt like the only tricky section on the entire route in my opinion. Right at the overhang move to the tree, the right side of it was wet but the overhang is quite easy and you don’t need to get your hands or feet wet. By this time, I had a guide right behind me on lead instead of the leader of the party behind us. Before I set up my belay he passed me to a tree slightly above the big ledge and started belaying his client. It would have helped if he didn’t cut the line just to avoid sun, but watching the client belaying him with his atc loaded backwards on an unprotected slab variation provided some amusement to Rick as he belayed me at least. I can understand the rush to finish and get back to safety but I also think that the guide should have ensured all the necessary checks before starting the pitch. Honestly, I could have led pitch 2 to pitch 5 quite easily but because someone was trying to climb over everyone and we wanted to finish before the sun hit, I felt rushed, and I decided to sacrifice my leads.
Rick linked pitch 3 and 4 which were 180’+ of joyful hand cracks with the occasional traverse between cracks.
In the picture below the guide is at the pitch 3 anchor while Rick is below the second of the first party on pitch 4. Rick had setup a gear anchor below the roof to give space to the party above us and to not crowd the anchor (Rick: and also to take the only ledge as a vantage point where I could watch the hanging belay passing/rappelling cluster unfold in comfortable amusement). We both managed to avoid a boot to the face from the client going over the roof. The guide started on pitch 5 with Rick trailing around 20 feet behind him. The crux finger crack turned out not to actually be a finger crack (#.75-1), and had frequent larger pods for your feet to make things easier. By this time the first party had started rappelling, so the client decided to wait for them to pass pitch 4 anchors. This meant I had to wait for a long time under the pitch 4 roof. The leader of the party behind us (our friends from Joshua Tree) reached me and she also decided to setup her anchor under the roof because pitch 4 anchors could also be used for rappelling. Then the client started on pitch 5 with me following right behind him. In order to not crowd pitch 5 anchor, I waited for the guide to rappel first.
Outcome of the story: I was unhappy about the unnecessary pass that the guide did and the fact that I felt rushed and gave up the opportunity to lead three more enjoyable pitches. I asked Rick if I was slow on pitch 2 due to which the guide decided to catch up to me, he said I did pretty well on time for leading pitch 2.
I would recommend getting up on Super Slide super early like at 6am (Spring/Summer) to avoid the crowds over the weekend. Super slide was super simple, a soft 5.9 and loads of fun.