I remembered hearing a rumour about a potential direct start, so with some time to kill one day I decided to lower down the wall to look for myself. After lowering past the existing section of DTD (I still had dreams to flash this route so trying it was off bounds), which looked even more beautiful close up, I began searching out the holds from the featureless rock and was surprised to find a complete sequence. The route would begin up The Black Lagoon for the first 13m, and as the rock changes from murky grey into pinky white, move directly up the wall to join DTD at the end of its initial traverse, 10m above. From here, one simply has to climb directly into the crux of DTD, without any of the bomber gear, and finish up this route to the top of the cliff.
The moves were hard but all possible, and the start was in slightly better condition than Terminal Twilight, making the whole line seem very possible given a little concentrated psyche and effort. The only thing that held me back, was the fact I still wanted to flash DUD, and by devoting myself to this new line, I would be throwing away that chance. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that there was a serious runnout during the hard section, which would quickly turn out to be a very serious runout if the rusty old peg I planned to tie off turned out to be as unreliable as it looked. Scary!
A few days passed and still no rain, I hoped and prayed that TT would be dry(er) but from the cliff top, all seemed the same. I decided to lower in to the leap anyway just in case my long sight was deceptive, it wasn’t. Water was still running down the cliff, but over enough “big jugs” that I thought things might be possible. Caroline joined me at the bottom, this would be her first “real” experience of belaying hard trad and I wanted her to feel as comfortable as possible. I gave her a quick briefing of what I planned to do, where I expected it to be hard, and where I planned to place protection, gave her a quick kiss and set off, trying to appear as relaxed as possible.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the wall was still dripping from its recent submersion, and despite how positive the holds were, the 6b moves right off the floor came as quite a shock causing a few grunts to escape my lips. After prolonged shuffling up the wet rock, which was a little spicy at one point due to the demise of 2 pegs , I finally found myself at the junction with Dusk Till Dawn, a good rest and bomber gear.