|Nick charging up el cap!|
|Nick inspired by the scenery. I don't blame him!|
|My friends Cris and Brian climbed the route a day ahead of us.|
|They played with my camera when I stashed it on heart ledges, I sprayed them on the interwebz :)|
|Nick bellow the Half Dollar|
|Cris about to send the hollow flake|
|I am cold, it is too windy, I want more snacks...Harden the fk up!|
|Nick enjoying the day|
Some honest impressions/highlights/random thoughts:
*Was able to free the 11b roof on freeblast
*Still felt spooked and fell leading both difficult slab sections - pitch 5 and 6.
*Felt much stronger on the pitch off the heart ledges than in 2013. Crimping on the traverse felt secure, in 2013 I just pulled through following it.
*Leading the Hollow Flake with no big bro or large cams is not a life changing experience, but still very exciting.
*The ear protects well but super exciting for a 5.8! Wild edges in there. Awesome pitch.
|Nick on one of the pitches above the El Cap Tower|
|The Leaning Tower|
|Nick about to get over the Salathe Roof!|
|Looking down the beautiful opened book before the salathe roof. *#droolz*|
*Oh my GOODNESS! Can't wait to go back and try free climbing the two pitch dihedral below the Salathe Roof. What a beauty. Was able to free part of the first pitch in my approach shoes, but it made a lot more sense to aid further up.
*OH MY GOODNESS! Can't wait to top rope parts of the Salathe Headwall. What a SICK crack.
|Leading the headwall|
|Topped out! #monkeysarestillsendin!|
*Hollow Flake is the mental crux? Are people on crack? Have not heard this mentioned but the pitch off the Long Ledge was a big mental crux for me. Since we started from the Alcove that morning, we got to the Long Ledge as the sun was going down. My partner, a guy who red pointed 5.12 face at Red Rock, started up the pitch and took a nice whipper on mandatory face climbing section. The whipper was followed by another fall and I gave it a try. At that point it was completely dark and the wind was hauling like crazy. It probably added a lot of drama to the situation. As I pulled the first little crux with my feet above shitty gear (no pin, which was supposed to be there somewhere per the topo), I suddenly felt quite gripped. The positive looking holds felt quite slabby. I climbed up, move by move, expecting to find better holds, but I didn't. In the end I was faced with a difficult move to get up to the ledge and by that time my gear seemed 20+ feet below my feet. I danced around in one spot trying to figure out a way to make the next move to the ledge in a controlled manner. I couldn't figure it out. Middle of the night, 50 foot fall potential, end of a long day, storm was supposed to start in a few hours, my calves and forearms pumping out because I spent the last 5 minutes dancing around on a sloping knob and chalking my fingers. Not sure if getting sketched on something that is supposedly a 5.8 is something to spray about on the net, but I praised every divine being after pulling up on that ledge and clipping the anchor! I found that section mentally draining and don't give a shit if someone calls me a wanker. Cuz I am ! :) Next time I will try to avoid leading this pitch in a wind storm!
*Pitches above are pretty cool, aside from another squeeze chimney, which by this point in the day was a little epic. Winds were still strong, and the only way my friend knew I fixed the rope because I took it all in and it would not pull down when he put his weight on it.
*Last pitch did feel like a 5.6 or whatever is there on the topo. It was fine in the approach shoes and I knew we will not be rained on while descending. The front of clouds was still in the distance and we were super happy about topping out after a long day!