Luke had never been to the Hulk, so we figured no better way to introduce him to the area than hiking in and trying to climb as many routes as we could. We planned to start with Sun Spot Dihedral, rap down the Venturi, climb Positive Vibrations, rap again, and then go and cap the day with the Red Dihedral. We are no Peter Croft, we weren’t going to tag the summit, but we figured this would be a great day in the Mountains.
We hiked up in good time, making it to the base in about two hours ten minutes. We caught to Scots at the base, they were just getting racked as we threw our stuff on and asked if we could maybe start out first, trying to be vague but let them know we were planning to be fairly quick. We exchanged great conversation with them, laughing and joking about their three week stay, in a camper, parked in the Camp 4 overflow lot. They hoarfed down cigarettes at the ten thousand foot base, excited about their day at the Hulk.
Sun Spot went great, we lead in blocks and it ended up working out that Luke would on sight the whole route for his introduction to the hulk. We started rapping the Venturi, passing by our Scot friends and another party on Positive Vibes, giving encouraging words and more encouraging shouts. When we got down we each drank a good deal of water and stuffed our pockets with bars and shot blocks. We filled our half-liter Gatorade bottles and then polished off a second liter and started up Positive Vibrations.
I felt good as I climbed through the first crux, it was different than I remembered it being last summer, but I quickly figured out where to go and clipped the anchor, calling ‘Off Belay!’ We had borrowed an 80 meter rope from a good friend so several times throughout the route I strung pitches together, belaying where I could with the dwindling supply of gear on my harness. Luke climbed quick despite his arms cramping up a little and we had those perfect gear changeovers that were fast and seamless, sending me on my way quickly.
We finished up Positive Vibes and headed to the ground. We got down hungry and thirsty at the bags. We were feeling pretty worked but also still excited for more. Unfortunately, we dug through the bags and found we had a little less than 1 liter of water and hardly any food. We knew pushing up the Red Dihedral, easy as it is, was going to be a hard mission since some of it would be in the dark and we were dehydrated and hungry. After talking about it, we realized some lessons were learned about how much food and water we need for these missions, a lot, and decided there was no way in hell we were walking to the creek and then back up for more climbing. So we packed up and headed back to the car, stopping to enjoy the incredible golden sun illuminating the Hulk in the late afternoon.