Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lost in America to Virginia to Tangerine Trip

Just back from climbing in El Capitain in Yosemite Valley. I climbed a variation of Tangerine Trip starting with the first pitch of Lost in America and the 3rd and 4th pitch of Virginia to get to pitch 5 and above on Tangerine Trip. I had done Tangerine Trip several years ago and enjoyed the steep climbing. My friend Mark from Hawaii had called me a couple weeks earlier to see if I would be interested in doing the route with him and his friend Erik. Since my attempt at the Shield route did not work out, I was excited to climb El Cap this Summer. We would be climbing as a team of 3 which increases the logistics (heavy haul bags) of the climb and more ropes means more rope management and belay organization. We moved at a snails pace early on in the climb. Mark had done no climbing in the last 2 years and was struggling to deal with the exposure of being up on El Cap and on a steep route. We experienced some cold weather up there that was not expected and spent 2 days freezing as Erik and I did not have cold weather gear. As with any El Cap route there was plenty of suffering and lots of exciting moments. On the route I led pitches 3,4,7,9,11,12,13,15,16,17 giving me the bulk of the leading responsibilities, which was fine by me since it would keep me moving and from freezing at the hanging belays. On our 4th day on the wall I topped out at 11:00PM, I had led the last pitch and a half in the dark. By the time we hauled the bags and got everyone to the top it was 1:00AM, and bivied on top. The decent route down the East ledges was painful as always. Erik had to be back at work early in the morning, so it was up to Mark and I to bring down all the gear, we had had packs of close to 100 pounds, which took us most of the day to get down back to the car. I will try to post more pics when I have the time.

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