It had been a month and a half since my ascent of "Mescalito" with Kathy Dicker and I had a fever. Big wall fever. I was jonesing to do another wall in the worst way, but didn't have a week or more to spare.
I began to look at the shorter walls, keeping an eye open for the perfect fit. Eric Coomer had once said that "Ten Days After" was one of the best lines on the Column and that was good enough for me. I asked him for the updated rack, but no other beta. I wanted to preserve the adventure.
At first I considered soloing it, but again, my timeframe didn't allow it. So I asked a friend I met thru rec.climbing, Robert Fonda to join me. The odd numbered pitches were all A2 except one and I figured that we could just swing leads with me taking the crux pitches.
A plan was formed, the date set and soon we were in the Valley. The next morning we humped loads up the trail towards the base of Washington's Column. Very near the end of the trail, Robert slipped on some loose talus and the haulbag on his back hammered him into the ground. He put out his arms to stop himself, only to end up wracking his right elbow. Almost immediately he went into shock.
Our ascent was over, even before we had left the ground. We were both pretty disappointed, but took solace in the knowledge that since we hadn't actually started climbing yet, it couldn't be considered a "bail."
The next day I was back in Los Angeles. The fever still burned. I called my alternate partner, Mike Esparza, whom I also met thru rec.climbing and told him that his number came up. He was stoked, but work and family obligations put off another attempt at the climb for three weeks.
The fever burned and faded over those weeks in a kind of sick cycle. Anticipation alternated with apathy because it was still weeks away. But eventually the day came and Mike showed up at my door. It was 8 am on a Saturday morning. Mike was fresh off from pulling a 12-hour graveyard shift at his "wafer-tech" lab job, having worked the same shift 4 days in a row. We threw my gear into his car and blasted out of town.
We arrived in Yosemite at about 3:30 p.m., pulled into the Lodge, bought some beer, went to the parking lot, racked gear, drove to the Ahwahnee parking lot and began hiking. We were efficient. We were driven. We were burning with that same fever.
We arrived at the base of the route around 6 p.m. I picked up the water and canned food I had stashed a few weeks earlier and Mike led the first pitch of the Prow. He hauled the bags as I jugged the line with Half Dome glowing orange behind me.
We were on the route. No fixing ropes or otherwise dicking around this time for us. We both just wanted to get committed as fast as possible. Life was good, the fever was subsiding.
I awoke early in the doublewide portaledge to the feeling of shuddering...shivering. Mike had only brought a fleece blanket on the advice of a "friend," as opposed to bringing a sleeping bag. Light, but cold. I tossed him my Polarguard filled jacket and tried to sleep another half hour until the alarm went off.
The morning rituals and business went pretty smooth, especially considering we had never climbed before together. Soon I was cruising up the second pitch of the "Prow," escaping to the right near the end of the pitch to a rivet ladder joining "Ten Days After."
We had skipped the original start of "TDA" because it's fairly grassy, wet and unaesthetic. The "Prow" variation is much cleaner and far more classic.
Pitch 3 of "TDA" is gorgeous. It's a magnificent golden corner leading up to a roof. Mike led the pitch with style, leapfrogging cams a long ways in the consistantly sized crack. The top of the pitch slowed him down a bit with it's technical and thin placements.
Soon I was leading out of the belay along the underside of a roof, much like the second pitch of "Zodiac." The major difference is that when the corner is rounded, "TDA" drops you into an overhanging dihedral. The corner was fairly difficult and one of the crux pitches of the route. Many copperheads and HB offsets along with the odd rivet and pin got me up the steep corner.
I reached the belay to find a bent gate carabiner hanging from one of the bolts. Booty! It would be our good fortune to find a lot of booty on this route. Many brand new stoppers and several carabiners clipped to fixed gear. We're not sure why they were left as none of the stoppers took more than a nut tool to clean and the free biners were a complete mystery. The booty gods were smiling on us for sure.
Mike continued leading up the shady overhung corner of Pitch 5 as evening began to cast its long shadows across the Valley floor. He later said that this was one of his favorite pitches. It's fairly consistantly 3/4" wide near the top and took a lot of aliens as well as many of our offset nuts.
He hauled and I jugged in the dark. Setting up camp in the crowded dihedral was a bit awkward, but we were quickly developing a system. Things came together and soon we were eating dinner and talking shit. The moon was getting full and illuminated the walls around us. We spotted some lights near the top of the Porcelain Wall. Later we would hear that Eric George and Bryan Law had just put up a new route over there. Mike broke out two Vicodin tablets, gave me one and we both were asleep in minutes.
I had some bizarre dreams that night, yet was unable to remember much in the morning. The sky began to lighten, silhouetting Half Dome. We broke camp and I was leading by 7:30 a.m.
Pitch 6 begins with a few moves on Zmac rivets, hardware store fasteners that only hold a few hundred pounds and while they look like a Rawl buttonhead, are worthless for catching a fall. These time bombs broke out of the corner system that continues upward as "Electric Ladyland" to several fixed circleheads in a stellar horizontal knife-cut leading left. The crack jogged and I encountered a bizarre rotten hole that took a fairly decent Hybrid Alien. I love these cams and take them on every lead. More thin pins and fixed heads led across towards a hidden corner behind a sharp arete. I rounded the arete and was greeted by a bent 1/4" bolt hanging partway out of the rock. Two other 1/4"-er's and a funky "mystery bolt" with a corroded hanger made up the belay. I backed them up with a poor pin and stopper. Mike lowered out the bags and I hauled them up to the belay only to find that our 9 mm static line had taken a core shot while going around the arete from the "Electric Ladyland" dihedral. Not a good start to the day. Some duct tape and a word of thanks that only the sheath was cut and not the core, and we were back in business. Mike bitched a little about having to reclimb the traversing pitch. Thankfully it was fairly short. It was photogenic though and I got some great photos.
While he cleaned the pitch I had begun drilling a new bolt for the anchor. I put in a bomber 3/8" Fixe bolt with a fat Fixe hanger here. Mike arrived, grabbed what he wanted for the next pitch and headed off up a thin corner as I finished the hole and slammed in the bolt.
Reid's guide had the start of Pitch 7 marked as A1, with some A2+ way up high in a flake with fixed heads. Mike hadn't done anything much harder than A1 with his only wall ascents being the "South Face" of the Column, "West Face" of Leaning Tower, "Moonlight Buttress" and "Lurking Fear," so I knew this pitch might prove a bit challenging for him.
Mike showed no hesitation as he cruised up the corner, past a fixed angle and some fixed heads to a rivet. Somewhere in the back of my mind Eric Coomer's tale of taking a 20 foot fall on this pitch began to scream for attention. I tried to push it back into the dark recesses and sent Mike some positive energy up the rope with a word of encouragement.
Just beyond the rivet is a large flake that is climbed along its underside. The crack separating the flake from the wall was very thin with the exception of a thumb-sized pod at it's base. Mike pasted in a #4 alumnihead here, his first ever on lead. It blew when he bounce tested it. Next he tried a knifeblade in the crack. It rang true, even to my ears, 35 feet below. He was in business.
While he had been figuring out the sequence of protection I was busy at the belay organizing everything. I noticed that the lower out line we had used on the traverse was blowing in the wind, getting dangerously close to some flakes sixty feet below. I bent down in my bosun's chair to grab the cord and shove it into it's bag while Mike pounded in another pin high above.
The next sound I heard was the jangling sound of the rack as Mike began to fall. I instinctively turned my head to see what had happened when I felt a sharp impact on the top of my helmet, just above my left ear. Stunned, I watched Mike come to a stop 8 feet below me to my right. He had fallen 40 to 45 feet over the sharp arete that I had rounded to reach the belay.
"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkk...." said Mike, as he turned himself upright.
"Dude you hit me" I said, lowering myself back into the bosun's chair with the rappel mode on the GriGri.
"No way. I didn't feel anything."
I took off my helmet to check for damage and there, imprinted in the side of my PUTZL Meteor helmet was the shape of his hammer's copperhead pick. As if he had thrust it like a sword instead of swung it like a hammer.
"Your hammer got me. Didn't you have it clipped to you? Don't let it hang. It turns into a flail" I admonished, shaken but relatively unhurt.
"I was USING it, bro. It's still in my hand" Mike retorted.
"Fuuuuccckckk...that's wicked" I replied. "Look. Your ScreamAids totally blew. Their biners are still hanging onto some of that pro!"
I've fully extended Yates ScreamAids before, but never seen the tie-off/clip-in loops pull completely away from the main bartacked webbing. Mike looked at the accumulation of junked gear hanging at his tie-in point. Two failed ScreamAids and a blown head w/ an extended ScreamAid. He was suspended from a rusty fixed pin by another fully extended ScreamAid.
After a few moments he pulled back into the belay and we discussed our options. Mike had had enough. The pitch was way over his head. I was still a bit dazed from my Close Encounter of the Hammer Kind. I looked left and saw a line of bolts leading to the "Prow" only 50 feet away. We could traverse and finish on the "Prow." Leave the blown gear hanging in the wind to fuck with the next party's mind. We could also just get over there and bail. I was quickly seeping into a funk. Mike was out of it, having just taken the biggest ride of his life. I was reeling from a head injury and not relishing jumping on a lead that had spit out both Coomer, the wall vet and Mike, the pseudogumby, without distinction.
While sitting there debating our options, I had to laugh. Only months earlier I had briefly knocked out Kathy Dicker when I tagged her helmet with my boot in a fall right above the belay on "Mescalito" when an expanding block did just that.
"Payback is a bitch" I laughed. "Oh fuckit. Put me on belay." I knew that I had to step up to the roulette wheel and take my spin. If I had bailed or jumped over to the "Prow" it would haunt me forever.
We lost a fair amount of time swapping the lead, but sooner than I would have liked, I was back at the fixed angle that caught Mike. The copperhead he had used was busted mid-cable so I placed another. Next, I jumped on an alumnihead and a rivet. It was eerie clipping a new runner to the carabiners that also held blown ScreamAid remnants. I knew full well what a fall on this pitch looked like, for I had just witnessed it. There was no doubt. Fuck up and go for a ride.
From the rivet I placed a #2 Lost Arrow where Mike had put in a knifeblade. A little more experience had taught me to recognize an expanding flake when I saw one and put in a pin thicker than it appears to take. The pin went in all the way to the eye, but also popped off the edge of the pod-shaped hole that Mike had tried to copperhead. Expando for sure. Ten feet to my left, a bodyweight Zmac was my saviour from the big ride. A second Lost Arrow went in. My daisy chain clipped in short in case the flake expanded and dropped the piece I was on, hopefully the pin I was nailing would catch me. I stopped pounding the third Arrow when I felt the pin I was on shift. Very scary. After transferring onto it, the Zmac looked close enough to grab, but it was still 4 feet away from my outstretched arm. I would have given half my rack for a cheater stick at that point, or all of it for not having to place that final Lost Arrow in the expanding flake.
A brief rush of adrenaline and I was clipping the Zmac rivet. A loud sigh of relief escaped my lips as I hung there for a second, thankful that the roulette wheel had stopped spinning. Or had it? After the Zmac I was on, was a second just like it. Totally bodyweight. Hardware store specials. 100% worthless in any fall.
But it wasn't the Zmac that scared me. It was a dinner plate sized flake that was as thin as a slice of bread that had to be hooked. The flake creaked and groaned as it flexed under my tentatively placed weight. If this thing blew I was going to rip everything back to the rivet below the expando flake that had caught Coomer or all the way to the pin that had stopped Mike. From the relative safety of the Zmac, I prepared another rivet hanger and clipped my right aider to it for speedy placement. I spent perhaps a second on the flake using all my balancy slab climbing skills, before I was clipped into the next bunk rivet, I was safe...well, somewhat.
The pitch continued up a thin ramp littered with Zmacs to a flake with fixed heads. Clipping up the heads I realized that nothing on this pitch except what was below the expanding flake that I had nailed would stop any fall. Thankfully I didn't have to find out and clipped the anchor.
Upon arrival, I noticed that in the switchover confusion, I had forgotten to grab Mike's cordellette and locking biners for the belay. The few runners and free biners I had would have to make due for the belay.
The bags arrived a bit before Mike even left the belay. I figured he was still rattled from his flight time, so I decided to be patient. It was around 6 p.m. but I was determined to get another pitch in before we quit for the day. When Mike arrived, the switch went quickly and I was back on the sharp end.
Pitch 8 was also rated A3 on our topo. Odd since the lying thing said absolutely nothing about the expanding flake. Also odd because it's one tenuous knifeblade placement above bomber gear. Many fixed heads and more Zmacs took me to a traversing A1 horizontal crack under an overlap and then up a flaring, JTree like crack to the belay.
The anchor took me awhile to build, not just because I was exhausted from leading 3 pitches that day, but also because it consisted of three fixed angles and a newish-looking 3/8" Rawl bolt. I backed it all up with a cam and some slings tied into another fixed pin on the next pitch. Soon the bags and Mike were up and we were settled into our groove. Vicodins once again knocked me out and I'm sure helped Mike not to have any nightmares about the day.
The sun once again came up with a vengence. The entire climb had been brutally hot. We were limiting our water to 3 liters per person per day, or at least trying to do so. I wanted some water for the descent, but it was painful to deny such a strong urge to drink.
Our last day on the wall is a bit of a blur as we joined the "Prow" just above the "Strange Dihedral." A mixture of six fairly easy and generally boring pitches led us to the summit, topping out with Half Dome on fire.
Now as I sit, back in my office, the fever has subsided. But I don't know that it will ever break, or go away. At least not for awhile. My desire to continue to push myself on aid lines is pretty strong. I need to go back and finish "Native Son." The "Sea of Dreams" is also calling my name. Who knows, maybe Baffin Island one day.
I can dream can't I?
By Michael A. Esparza.
This is a Trip Report on a climb called Ten Days After, a Grade V+ big wall rated at about 5.9, A2+ or so on Washington Column. We did it during the third week of August 1999 when it was baking ball sack. I saw (led) one of the toughest aid pitches of my life and had quite an experience. This trip report is more of a story about that personal experience rather than a pitch by pitch beta sort of thing. Any questions or comments are welcome. Enjoy.
The Red Baron (my 1989 Nissan 240SX) barely survived another dog fight. It must have been about 105 degrees driving through the San Joaquin Valley on our way home from the big wall capitol of the United States. My gas gauge was low and I needed fuel badly when I pulled over just outside of Bakersfield. We fueled up and pulled away when I noticed anti-freeze and steam swelter from beneath my hood. Fuck! Another car EPIC related to a climbing trip. It was just two months ago when my timing chain snapped on the way to do Lurking Fear costing me nearly $900. The time was about 4:00 p.m. and I had to be at work in Newport Beach at 5:30 p.m. I thought I would be an hour late; instead, it turned out to be three. I bought a roll of duct tape and temporarily fixed the problem. Rex and I hooked up on rec.climbing, actually at a slide show at The North Face. Since then we had the common conversations in cyberspace and finally hooked up for a climb. He had invited me to climb Ten Days After, a big wall just around the corner from the Prow. Weeks earlier his partner hurt himself on the approach and the same week, my partner got sick in the Sierras. We had both got skunked on the same weekend and kind of figured that fate brought us together. We would leave on the 21st of August when I got off of work. I work in the Semiconductor manufacturing field and work a 12 hour grave-yard shift. I had just got off of a 4 day work week and was stoked to be leaving the city. I drove home, showered, ate some food and kissed my wife and kids good bye. I loaded up the Red Baron and drove to Rex's pad blasting the Allman Brothers Band.
Several hours later brought us to the Yosemite Tunnels. I had been awake for over 24 hours now. Rex and I had so much to talk about on the drive that I somehow managed to stay awake after working that 12 hour shift. We picked up some brews and begun sorting our gear in "the center of the universe," next to Chongo and pals. The day was beautiful with a semi-warm temperature. We had a lot of stuff, too much I thought. Our sight reminded me of some compulsive freaks that belonged in a psycho ward. "Do we really need all of this stuff," I said to Rex several times. From the looks of our rack, it seemed overkill for Trango Tower. "Nah, we will need this stuff, who knows," replied Rex. I like to go light in everything I do. I think a little bit of suffering is worth it in the long run if one can shave off the pounds. What the hell, the extra weight would not be much since Rex had stashed all the water from his previous attempt several weeks back. We pretty much had the following: 4 sets of Aliens, 3 sets of HB offsets, all the hooks, about 2 sets of Camalots minus the big ones, Heads, A couple sets of TCU's, several blades and several Lost Arrows (mostly shortys).
We piled in the Baron and headed out. It had only taken us an hour to reach the base of the Prow which would be our starting point. I was pumped and full of energy leaving that parking lot. It was now 28 hours of no sleep without the use of drugs; Mom would be proud! I racked up while Rex fetched the water (I am not trying to make Rex sound like a dog either) and got ready to lead the first pitch. We had decided to do the first two pitches of the Prow since the first two on TDA were full of grass, moss and moisture. I had already been up these pitches of the Prow (twice which is another story) and knew they would go quick. I got the first pitch fixed by night fall and Rex quickly jugged up. Pitch one goes at easy A0, skipping cams the whole way up to some C1 small Aliens and HB's. We set the ledge up which was kind of a pain in the ass and got ready to crash. I was worked and felt like I had been cracked out or something for days since it had now been 32 hours of sleeplessness. I popped a couple Vicodins and feel into a deep sleep. It was very warm in the valley, so warm I decided to leave all my warm clothes, sleeping bag and pad in the car. Instead, I brought a Chicago Bears Fleece Throw blanket. This did not work. I froze my ass off towards the wee hours of sunrise. Luckily, Rex had an extra jacket to let me borrow.
We woke rather early and ate. While sorting through my food bag I dropped one of my Trader Joe Sausages. FUCK! "These things rule on walls, all I have left are some Â‘dines, Chili and Ravioli." Not a good choice. Oh well, all this madness would be over in several more days. Rex took off on the second A1+ pitch of the Prow. This is a pretty straight forward pitch with much fixed gear as far as heads and old pins go. I remember when I led it in the rain back in May that it pretty much turns to a river when wet. At the belay, one has to cut out right on a couple of rivets to the belay of TDA. The next pitch, pitch 3, was incredibly Richter! Solid C1+ climbing on Aliens and HB Al offsets for a long ways. Very solid gear that allows one to leap frog tremendously and also goes relatively fast. Rex seemed really stoked on the quality of the crack I had just went up and saw a gleam of envy in his eye.
Pitch 4 was short in length but long in time. Luckily, the belay on the top of three is under a huge roof which shelters you from the sun. Rex went out right on some aliens and then up on more aliens and some pins he nailed. I think the rating on this pitch would be in the A2 to A2+ range. After about three hours, I was relived to be moving. A side note: It is amazing the things that go through your head when you are stuck in the same position for a long period of time. I caught my self singing lame songs to my self such as tunes from Minni Vanilli, Color Me Bad and several Christmas Carols. I never even listened to that music but somehow my subconscious was breaking out. Anyways, Rex got the haul and belay set up and up I went.
Pitch 5 is the ultimate on this route in my opinion. C2 crack that is straight up the corner of a right facing Open book. Reminiscent of the 4th pitch on Moonlight Buttress. Alien cam placements all the way up to some HB offset placements. At one point I blew a piece and luckily fell on my daisy since I had leap forged some gear. This pitch is pure fun, actually the funnest I had yet to lead. The belay was setup along with the ledge. We had a good nights sleep thanks to those Vicos'. I wish I had hooter! Sometimes it is hard to look at the big picture when wall climbing. It kind of gets demoralizing when you think of all the time you spend up there when you could be with your loved ones, friends, enemies, etc. Sometimes the guilty feelings pop up and send you in and emotional frenzy. To cure this, I always imagine that the Budwiser Girls are waiting for me on top of the wall with a 12er' of Samuel Adams and ready to grant me three wishes. This is a great motivating factor I have. It has not failed me yet!
We awoke early again with Rex ready to lead the short left traversing crack. There was plenty of fixed gear beefed up by aliens and several pins Rex nailed. I would say a rating of A2 to A2+ would be appropriate I guess. The lead did not seem bad, but cleaning it was another story. If you attempt to do this route, make sure you lead this pitch so you don't have to clean it.
The belay was set at a ramp of sorts that led one to the Crux of the route, an A2+ to A3 pitch. The guide book shows some of the earlier pitches as A3 which was defiantly not the case now. I guess it was figured that since this pitch was rated A2+ in the guidebook then it would not be that hard. Yeah right! I was pumped and ready to lead. I took off, clipped into a bolt followed by two HB offsets. The next move was an old rusty angle which I clipped a Yates screamer to. Next was two heads, which I also put screamers on and then a bolt with no hanger. I put a rivet hanger on this followed by a screamer. At this point I started to sketch. I looked up at this thin, thin seam which was under a roof. This seam traversed out about 20 feet to a rivet. Cheese and Rice, I mean Jesus Christ. I sat there for a good amount of time hanging off of the rivet hanger, thinking what my next move would be. There was a broken head to my left where Rex suggested taping in a bird beak. What the fuck was he talking about. Does he think I am Mark Synott or something? I bashed in a head in this fucked up seam, I bounced it and it popped along with some rock on the outside of it. Luckily the Rivet caught me, if that was not there then I would of racked up some frequent flyer miles for sure. I high stepped my aider praying to Zeus to make everything all right. I pounded in a knife blade, bounced it and it held. I jumped on the blade, got into my third or fourth step at started pounding in a Lost Arrow (shorty). I was shitting glass twinkies as I yelled down to Rex to watch me. BANG, BANG, BANG I went with my hammer when all of a sudden...SWOOSH, PING, PING, PING, PING, PING.
I came to a sudden stop about ten to fifteen feet below the haulbags. I looked up and said FUCK! "Dude, that was some crazy shit," I said to Rex. My knife blade popped while I was nailing in the Lost Arrow. I busted the screamer on the rivet hanger, and the two heads. I had fallen nearly 50 feet with the old rusty angle stopping the fall. I let out a huge scream as the adrenaline shot through my blood stream. Fuck man, the drama that takes place up here is better than that on an afternoon soap. "Dude, you nailed me in the head," Rex said. "What are you talking about dude, I did not feel myself hitting you." "You hammer hit me in the head," said Rex. "Shit, I fell while I was hammering in that pin, and I still had it in my hand when I fell." I had clocked Rex in the noggin' while falling head over heels. We were both in a state of shock. He was shaken up by being clocked and myself from taking a dive nearly head first.
I told Rex after jumaring back up and dropping my friend's favorite Sky Hook, "Dude, this pitch is over my head, I think it is your turn to step up the plate." Rex was tripping on the gash in his helmet while I was dealing with an adrenaline hangover. He suggested going out over to the Prow to finish up but the rivets were spaced way far apart and we had no cheater stick. I said, "Let's chill for a few and collect our senses," before we would make any lame decisions. Moments later, Rex stepped up to the pitch. He got to the left traversing thin seam and I heard many rambling comments that I could not sound out. "Watch me," was all I remember. He pounded some Lost Arrows and commented on how the crack was expando! Holly shit, thats why I went for a ride. That shit was expanding, I should of clipped in short to the piece I was pounding but had a total brain fart. He got to the rivet and was stoked; I did not want to stop a big fall! From the rivet, the pitch went up right on some more rivets, a hook move and some heads. A total sandbag pitch if I had ever seen one. Rex agreed and we blundered over how tough it was; comparable to a tough section on Mescalito he replied. The hard part was over. I was still shaken up but did not want to quit. This was my first real whipper. I was stoked not to be hurt but wanted to take it easy and not lead the next pitch. Rex agreed and took off on the 8th pitch which went at about A2. We set up the ledge and giggled over the days events. I could not stop laughing to myself. It was the same sensation I get when I almost wipe out on my Mt. Bike. We grinded and pounded some Vicos for our last night on the wall.
Our last day, we awoke with five more pitches of the Prow to go. I led 9 and 10 in a slower manner compared to what I was leading before. I found myself testing pieces I would normally run up. I was still shaken up but had enough motivation to keep moving. Rex got 11 and I did 12 which had some somewhat grunty free climbing rated at about 5.9 with all your aiders and crap hanging off of you. Rex took off on pitch 13 which is way traversing and shitty to haul.
We topped out in the cool darkness of a hot Yosemite summer. Perfectly clear and perfectly beautiful. I had to shit and took off immediately since I somehow managed to hold it for several days (I am surprised I did not shit in my pants when I fell). We let off some yells, took some Vicos and tried to sleep. I was totally pumped up from all of the drama that I could not sleep. I was cold and ended up wrapping my self up in the ledge fly. We awoke at 4:30 am and started to load up in order to beat the sun on the way down. We had about 1/2 liter of water left between the two of us.
The approach to the North Dome Gullies is uneventful and sucks the big one. I think this is one of the worse descents in the valley that I have done. We got down, totally worked and traversed over to the start of the climb to pick up Rex's haul bag. While fumbling over there, I crossed the Hook that I had dropped from way up above. "Bithchen," I yelled, "I found my hook, now I don't have to buy Steve another one." 30 minutes later brought us to the walk-in campground where we engulfed our souls with cold water over our heads. We finally got to the car and unloaded. Some Grandma and Grandson saw us dirty souls and wanted to take pictures, like if we were some sort of heroes or something; Yeah right! I took my first ever shower in Yosemite. I usually get buzzed in the meadows and then drive home completely stinky, but Rex' s shower idea put a twinkle in my eye.
We ate some sandwiches and talked about the climb. I was really surprised to have such a good time on a wall with a total stranger. We had never climbed together, had no idea what personalities we had and cranked a tough route. In my opinion personality and attitude is everything on a wall. I have been stuck with a total ass when I just wanted to bail (actually did). Neither one of us called the shots, we just knew instinctively what to do. It was now about 12:00 p.m. and I had to be at work in 5 1/2 hours. We piled in the Red Baron and got ready for the epic drive home. I did not get to work until 9:00 p.m. I hope my boss does not read my trip report!
Rack as of 8/99 --------------------------- 3 KBs 6 LAs (2 ea. 1-2, 1 ea. 3, 5) 1 ea. 1/2" - 5/8" 1 ea. standard sawn off 2 ea. Black - Blue Alien 3 ea. Green Alien 5 ea. Yellow Alien 3 ea. Red Alien 1 ea. Hybrid Aliens are nice. 2 ea. Camalot Jr's to #3 1 ea. Camalot #4 3 sets HB Brass Offsets 2 sets HB Aluminum Offsets 1 set medium Stoppers. 10 Heads (mostly #2 -#4) 5 Circleheads (mostly #3-#4) 1 Cliffhanger 2 bathooks or Rivet Kit in case Zmacs blow in a fall 1 ea. Leeper Cam Hooks (wide/narrow)
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