7 in 7
I looked up the rope to the anchor above that I was lowering myself away from. I was out of rope and still far from being directly under the piece of gear above. Alex had climbed nearly the entire pitch without any gear, a typical situation. He glanced down and saw me hesitate. “The swing is
clean, just go for it!” he shouted. I immediately let go of the rope, a guttural yell escaped my throat as I swung along the wall covering nearly 100 feet from side to side. My feet touched the stone and I ran like I was in a Flinstone car. Hitting the apex of the swing, turning and running the other
way until the momentum died and I could begin jumaring upwards. I let out a loud whoop of excitement. Despite being exhausted, we were still having fun up here.
Wowza the 2015 Fall Bigwall Season is off with a bang!
Lurking Fear: Keiko set off yesterday for a week long solo of this route. Proud! So whenever things go bad this week, just think of Keiko up on Lurking Fear, fighting hard to complete her first bigwall solo ascent ever. Proud! Here she’s trying to enjoy her last meal, and fight off the hordes of adoring fans and climbing rangers, while I badger her for a picture. No doubt wall climbing will be a vacation from this chaos!
In the past, passing another party on a bigwall invoked a barking dog response, with the higher team often claiming some type of ‘holier than thou’ seniority. Climbers acted like this old school flapper:
Nothing evokes awe in the aspirant climber like a high exposure picture from El Capitan. Seeing tiny Beth Rodden, or a ropeless Alex Honnold looking Sunday afternoon bike ride casual on the 5.13 fingers of the Great Roof, or the 5.14 houdini-corner that is the Changing Corners on The Nose, are great – great for making the mountain look gigantic, and our own personal skills and abilities comparably miniscule.
Routes are like people, who we discover and learn from in life; they are vertical books whose ideas stretch us physically and mentally; they are meridians of current that sing the energy of each particular mountain. In the dizzying, wrap-around granite world of Yosemite, the routes outnumber the local humans by tens of thousands. The lessons and boons are endless.
First Ascents are a coveted climbing prize for many experienced climbers. The feeling of setting off into the vertical unknown, on relying on your and your partner’s wits and expertise to unlock the mysteries of the rock puzzle in front of you, are incomparable to the everyday, follow-the-line-in-the-guidebook experience. First Ascents happen all year long in Yosemite. There is always something new being discovered, or a route that was previously paid-climbed is being free-climbed for the first time, a la The Dawn Wall on El Cap. Here are some basic First Ascent ethics, as well as some rules about First Ascents in Yosemite.
The recent rockfalls on the Regular Route and the summit area on Half Dome highlighted a basic Yosemite truth: Climbers in Yosemite need to know that rockfall is commonplace and that it happens every week, not every once-in-a-while. While geologists are not yet able to predict when rocks will fall, they can give us helpful tips about how to climb as safely as possible. In this post, Roger Putnam, professor of geology at Columbia College and co-author of Yosemite Bigwalls: The Complete Guide, shares his wisdom on the subject. Contact Roger directly at: Roger@yosemitebigwall.com.
When the glaciers retreated from Yosemite Valley 15,000 years ago, they left something that climbers adore, but physics dislikes: big steep cliffs. Large cliffs, even when made of nearly flawless granite, are inherently unstable. Until recently, it was believed that, on average, one significant (greater than 1 m3) rockfall happens each week in Yosemite.