Friday, April 12, 2013

Liberty Cap - SW Face (V C2+ 5.10) (Car to car)

On Saturday (04/06/2013), Hamik and I day-climbed SW Face of Liberty Cap. It was our second 'little' big wall that we have climbed together in a day (first was the Prow in the end of 2012). Both of us liked the climb for several reasons. It had amazing views and had a good amount of free climbing. We were able to free climb up to 5.10c on this route. Even though Hamik won the coin toss for free climbing pitches 1-3, I followed these pitches free, instead of jugging.
Nevada Falls
Hamik hiking up towards Vernal Falls in the morning. We left a bit late
Liberty Cap
What's that!?
Hamik on first pitch
We happened to climb this route after a few storms, but found it to be reasonably dry- aside from a few spots. 5.9 finger crack was especially wet, and felt more difficult than the 10c crux further up the pitch (which was dry). Since I ripped off a chunk of skin on Butterballs a day prior, this section was especially heinous. Friday was a rough day in general, it included several OWs that left me sore, and battered. Climbing Vendetta (at Cookie Cliff) was a pleasant change from the usual circuit. Leading the OW pitch on that climb clean raised my self esteem, before Generator Crack slammed it down.
This skin is not really attached lol
Climbing here was great
Hamik on 3rd pitch

Hamik on pitch 4
My block on Liberty Cap started from the bolt ladder pitch. Next time I do it, I will bring more than two rivets haha. Climbing was going fairly smooth in general. C2+ section on the following pitch was defeated by free climbing past it. Top of this pitch finished on a 10x1 ledge. Chimney prior to this ledge has a HUGE block that is not attached to anything. It was actually pretty scary to use it, and I would strongly suggest not to pull on it. It can kill your belayer, easily.

Can't get tired of this view

"C2+" on pitch 6
Topping out pitch 6
We moved the belay to the bottom of the chimney, after which I took a pendulum left, instead of going for C3 variation. This pitch had a really cool 10a fists through a roof section which I was able to free. After this bit of free climbing you end up on a nice ledge with a great view. Highlight of pitch 8 was not C2+ section (which I mostly free climbed through after using a hook), but me taking a 40 foot fall after a cam I transferred my weight on blew. I was standing on the smallest metolious offset- which was a body weight piece, and did not hold neither.
Since I back cleaned a bunch of gear prior, it was a long one. Would be interesting to know if any tourists enjoyed the show. I was unhurt and got back to business. I learned that cam hooks are a lot more bomber than bodyweight microcams in wet/dirty cracks, even if you have to 'dig out' your placement. On the next pitch I took it to the top of "Manzanita nightmare," from which Hamik took us to the top. He did the last 5.8R pitch in the dark like a champ. I guess climbing at Tahquitz taught him a few things!

Lot's of people on top of Nevada Falls
Fists through the roof on in the upper left corner were awesome!
Views towards Yosemite Valley

Hook Hook Free Move
Since we did not top out in time for a romantic sunset, we had to figure out the descent in the dark, with one headlamp. It wasn't easy, but not incredibly difficult. By 11pm we got back to our car. It took us over 12 hours to climb the route, and about 17-18 hours car to car (with retrieving a pack we left at the bottom of our route). I guess we did not pass the "climb SW Face in 10 hours-climb the Nose in 18" test.

Nevada Falls and Starr King
Hamik on pitch 10
Sun is going down

Mt. Clark

After two full days of climbing, I was not psyched to do more of it on Sunday. However, I love Yosemite and wanted to do something active. My choice was a good one- running/hiking to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls. Took me 52 minutes to get from camp 4 to the top, which was 20 minutes quicker than in Summer 2012. Falls were as full as I have ever seen them and the views were gorgeous, as always. Afternoon was spent in El Cap meadow talking to tourists, friends, and staring at massive formations of rock all around....'Nose in a Day,' is it doable for me NOW? I guess there is only one way to find out.
Yosemite Falls and Lost Arrow Spire

El Cap- the Great One


  1. I showed that picture of the mole to my old climbing buddy...

  2. Nice job! Makes me want to go to Yosemite right now....Good Pics too.

  3. Great TR.

    Thanks for the pics

  4. Sweet man! Digging the sends. Keep firing!