I started climbing in the late 1980s, where local climbers really only had Pinnacle Peak, the McDowell Mtns, Troon Mtn, Little Granite Mtn, and Camelback Mtn in town to climb at. Pinnacle Peak was always the hot spot for all of the locals especially the Lower East Wall. So I learned to climb on many runout granite slab routes. The Lower East Wall had many classics like Hangovers 5.9, Lizard Lip 5.8, White Warlock 5.10d, and On Golden Path 5.11a. I had most of the routes wired except for On Golden Path, which was still my mental nemesis. The Day finally came that I felt confident to lead the route and I was with my friend Scott. On Golden Path was a tricky route since it was slightly runout at the beginning, quite steep with thin edges, and you needed to pro a block small roof before going through the main crux move. From bolt two the climber had to traverse right 10' to a block and to place their own protection with cams or nuts, but the block was not easy to pro since there were very tiny edges to stand on and proing the block was kinda blind. The pro had to go on the bottom side in a glassy horizontal offset crack. I spent some time there to make sure I had my 4 pieces of pro correct, at the same time flaming out my biceps while doing it. I was determined to finally send this route since I had lead every other route on the Lower East Wall.
The pro was set and I cleared the roof and made it to the ledge above. Cheer, Cheer! I still had a few moves to go so while climbing to the top, my foothold popped and down I went. I mean very down I went as at first I didn't realize I was falling until my rope tightened onto my four pieces of natural pro under the block, and then “pow,” all four pieces blew. Instantly the G-force from the bolt being 10' over kicked in. I violently swung 30' across the wall in horror and closed my eyes gripping both hands on my rope until I stopped swinging. DANG, YIPE! I remember Harvey my belayer grabbing my leg stopping the swing and asked if I wanted some water. I was five feet off of the ground. We estimate that was a 50 footer. I loved Pinnacle Peak since there are many routes to climb, and this was back in the day where there were no rock gyms yet.
My greatest lead was not the hardest, but was 5.11a Powder Puff Direct that was a thin face that went up the most exposed face of the main Peak. In the old days the route stopped at the last bolt then traversed right to a different route around the corner named Feet’s Don’t Fail Me Now. But it seemed weird to me that the climber didn’t just continue straight up another 25 feet to the top. Within this 25 feet is a very thin 5.10c crux which was quite sequential. If the climber went for the lead and screwed up that last crux, that could result in a 60 foot fall overall. So I went for it and kept my cool and made it to the final move on the top ledge. I was so scared and gripped that I was doing the whale move meaning laying on my stomach with arms straight out and legs just kicking the air to progress forward. My stomach was all scratched up from the scooting forward on the rock, but I made it! It took me two days to stop shaking from the adrenaline rush. My hardest rating lead at Pinnacle Peak was a on-site flash of 5.12a Scar Wars, and a on-site flash of 5.12a Rosetti Rose. My most favorite technical route is 5.12a Flight Five Eleven. The 5.11c Lesson In Discipline is totally awesome as well!!!