Proud. Tall. Hard. The project. A single polished golden streak rakes down the wall and glows with the afternoon light. Green, black and yellow lichen cling to the granite, as if stippled across the wall, stopping suddenly on either side of the golden band. Beneath the lichen appear patches of white, bullet-hard granite, lending what may be just enough to call a hold. Rappelling off the top of the rock, I carefully examine the moves, one by one, from the last move to the first. What I discover is that this climb is on an entirely different level than I have ever attempted before. At 30 feet tall, it would be questionable whether you would walk away from a slip on the upper slab moves. At mid-height is the only good hold on the climb. I dub it “The Ear.” It marks the decision point where you can safely let go, or choose to venture higher. What I was soon to discover, however, is that climbing above “The Ear” is not a venture, but an instant commitment to an irreversible sequence where falling is not an option. But, first things first: I have to get through the bottom crux.