What does this "eased back onto" mean? Did the wall have a "gentle slope" to the summit shoulder? I can't imagine the picture well.
st95)I didn't have a watch, but in what seemed like a very short time, I was on the distinctive final ice field....The ice steepened and thinned. I swung my left ice ax and struck rock. I aimed for another spot, and once again it glanced off unyielding diorite with a dull clank....My hear sank and my head pounded. Forty-five feet above me the wall eased back onto the sloping summit shoulder.
It's somewhat like trying to climb the difficult steep sides of a statue, knowing that, if you can just manage to overcome the last, really difficult, section, you will reach the much easier, shallower sloped, shoulder section and make it to the summit.
Hope this helps you visualise the scenario a little easier.