Saturday, July 11, 2009

The El Cap Bailout

Our intended climb of "The Shield" on El Cap did not go as I would have liked. On day 2 we decided to bail and go back down after spending a bivy up on the wall. Alex on his first lead took a couple of falls and found out that aid climbing is not as easy as it looks. I had my concerns from start, climbing a big route like this with someone with no El Cap experience has its downfalls, but I wanted to do the route badly enough that I thought we could manage. Alex was excited about climbing the Captain, but his lack of experience in the end made it not possible and possibly dangerous for him. Big wall climbing is a lot work and takes a lot of skill in not only climbing but the logistics of hauling and moving your gear up the wall from belay station to belay station...............for a team to be successful both need to know their jobs and do them automatically without thinking. Alex gained some valuable experience that will help in future climbs, while I still hunger to climb this route, I am now 0 for 2 on the Shield. As for whats next, I am thinking of heading to the high country after some rest days as it is getting warm again and will be hot for the next week in the valley.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings Dan,

    Did you see those guys above you on the Shield? That was me and Andrew. We topped out on friday. Would have been good to have had you on the ascent. Alas we must have just missed each other several times.

    Tried to find you in Tuolumne 2 weeks ago with no luck.

    Anyway, we met Ivo and his girlfriend up in tuolumne and the usual monkeys (Dave, Aaron, & Corbin). After a few warm-up climbs we headed to the Valley last Sunday and started climbing Monday. Andrew has been having shoulder problems and we hoped we would find you in the Valley to do the Shield with us. Unfortunately we thought you had taken off due to the heat and smoke the week before.

    The route took us 5 days and goes through some pretty cool real estate. I took a 40+ footer on the triple cracks pitch. All of the shield specific pitches are overhanging so I was totally fine but Andrew got ripped into the belay and lost a full pad on one of his fingers! There is almost nothing fixed on all those pitches and I cleaned out a few more fixed things with my fall. haha. If you go up take more than the Supertopo recommended of the #3 and #4 angles (like 4 of each).

    Andrew is here in Reno until the 24th and would probably be up for some climbing in the Sierras when your read you leave the valley. I'm a weekend warrior now as my residency starts tomorrow but would like to do some Sierra stuff later this summer if your up for it.

    I have a new place in Reno with a huge basement and mutiple futons in the cool basement if you and friends need a place to crash for a few days too.