In answer to my previous puzzler—that was a real cliffhanger—here's the walkthrough for cleaning my route. Recall that this was my first time, so I'm describing what it was like, not giving instructions. Learn to climb from a qualified guide. I mean it.
First, think through the whole scenario and collect the gear you will need. Realizing you are one biner short when you are up in the air is too darn late. I needed two slings of webbing, each with its own locking-gate carabiner, plus an extra biner. For each sling, I used a girth hitch to attach one end to the front of my harness, then clipped the loose end with a biner into a gear loop at my hip. I hung the spare biner in a gear loop, too.
Next, you climb on top-rope back up to the anchor, and ask your belayer to "take" (take your weight; hold your rope locked off). You clip each sling into a hanger, to set up your personal safety system, and screw shut the locking gates of the carabiners. At this point, you should be held to the rock by your slings and not depending on the rope. Test this by asking for some slack, and noting that, as the rope goes slack, your slings become taut and bear your weight. Then you can ask your belayer to take you "off belay."
Now that you're set to hang out here all day, tie a backup knot to make sure you don't lose that dang rope: Grab a bight of rope and tie a quick knot and clip it into the spare carabiner. Because you're about to do the exact opposite of what your frightened little monkey brain would want you to do—you're going to untie the rope from your harness. And if you drop it, you will get to hang out here all day.
So, yes, untie the knot. The umbilical figure 8 from which you so often hang your precious hide. Untie it.
Remove the rope from the quickdraws and run it through the bottom links of the chains. We use the chains for lowering from the final climb out of necessity, but avoid using them all the time in order to minimize the erosion we subject them to. Retie your figure 8, untie the keeper knot, and retrieve your quickdraws.
Hoist yourself up a bit and ask your belayer to take, so that you can confirm that you are back on belay and the rope will hold your weight. Unhook your personal safety slings and clip them back to your gear loops to keep them out of the way. You are ready to be lowered to terra firma.
In addition to being a MYST-like brain teaser, I found route cleaning to be a good barometer of my mental state. Late in the afternoon, I'm hanging from the slings, and I think, "Okay, I have no idea what to do next... Must be time for dinner."
And it was. So we three girls drove back into town and ate three cheeseburgers, and they were very, very good.