We skipped the real first two pitches of this, to get past a huge mass of crowds. The rest of the climb was fun.

Trip Report:

When we got to the base of Nutcracker, there were already two parties climbing two different first pitch variations, and we could see another party on the second pitch, plus at least two groups (one of which had three people) at the base waiting to climb. Furthermore, we'd passed a couple in the parking lot who were going to do this climb. That was the most memorable party, as the girl was an incredibly attractive Asian with a really nice rack (and no, I'm not talking about her climbing gear) and the guy was, well, one really lucky bastard. Aaron later commented that her rack must have been purchased (like her climbing gear) and I agreed, but that made it no less nice.

As we hate waiting in lines to climb, Aaron and I looked at the guidebook, and found an easy and hopefully quick alternative for the first pitch, well to the right of the real first pitch. We scrambled up the start of this, then roped up, and I flew up the rest of it as fast as I could. When I arrived at the big ledge at the top of what's usually the second pitch of the climb, I found two guys preparing to rappel, and shortly thereafter a girl made it to the top. She had been leading the second pitch, the shortest and easiest one on the route, when we looked up from the ground, and she was only now making it to the end of that pitch. Apparently she had struggled with a 5.6 section, and the guys already at the ledge had to lower a rope to help her through or something. I belayed Aaron up while she set an anchor, and when he reached the ledge, she was still working on it. Apparently this wasn't just a popular route, but a popular route for beginners. Fortunately for us, there now was only one party visible ahead of us, and their second member had just started the fourth pitch. Aaron took off leading pitch three, then I led the fourth pitch. The climbing was fun, and not too difficult, though there were a few tricky spots. Probably the most memorable part of that pitch was the small roof I had to pull, with a beautiful hand crack that afforded perfect hand jams. Unfortunately, due to our hurrying, I had left my tape gloves in the car, and had figured I wouldn't need them for this climb anyway. So I pulled off the lovely hand jams au natural, but it really wasn't painful at all.

At the end of the pitch, I caught up to the party ahead of us, so I called down to Aaron to turn the radios on, and radioed to him that it might be a while. After about five minutes of waiting, I made an excellent nut placement, clove hitched myself to it, and just hung out. I chatted with the guy ahead of me a little. He spoke in a foreign accent that I didn't recognize, and he seemed impressed with how fast Aaron and I were moving. I thought about the previous day, twelve pitches in under four hours, and thought, “This is nothing.” But I kept it to myself. Finally, he started up, and I moved up to set an anchor. As I did, he was working through the crux of the route just above me, and he said something about not watching him and stealing beta. I wanted to scoff at this, but I again kept it to myself. As I said, it was a popular route for beginners. We finished the remaining pitch in short order, and did the steep, dirty, and rather unpleasant descent to get back to the car.