Soul Garden-New Route on Mt Watkins FFA:Leary,Haden,Carter


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The Alpine

Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 5, 2014 - 07:55am PT
Pretty awesome stuff here. Hopefully Jimmy doesn't mind the copy and paste from his Facebook post.

Soul Garden..."Right now your grief is this giant gaping hole with sharp edges but as you move forward in life the edges soften and other beautiful things start to grow around it. Flowers and trees of experiences. The hole never goes away, but it becomes gentler and sort of a garden in your soul, a place you can visit when you want to be near your love." these are the words that Sean Leary wrote to comfort a friend who, like Sean, had lost the love of their lives.

Now Sean is gone, and the hole in my heart is still sharp and jagged. But before Sean left us he gave me a seed for my soul garden to begin growing.
Sean began working on a free climb on the south face of Mt. Watkins in the summer of 2012. By the end of the summer he had made it halfway down the wall and was convinced it would go free. He asked me to come check it out that fall, and I spent two days, totally blown away, climbing amazing splitters that just kept going on and on! The seed was planted!
The following April Sean and I started working out the lower half of the route. The climbing was fantastic, but more memorable for me was the fun times camping next to the river, eating gourmet steak burritos, and washing it down with "Jack O Max" . Yes thats right, Jack Daniels and Cytomax... your head might hurt a little the next day but your muscles will feel great!

Once the road to Tuolumne opened we began working on the upper half of the wall and crux of the route. We maintained our high level of indulgence by climbing five star splitters by day and Fun times at night! We spent about 20 days all together on the route figuring out climbing and protection for the endless 5.12 pitches and the mid 5.13 crux. We were getting real close!

Then I got the call that Sean was missing in Zion. I wasn't surprised. The relatively new "sport" of base jumping was claiming lives weekly and Sean was at the forefront.

While trying to process the loss of my best friend and climbing partner my resolve to complete the route only grew. I was lucky that my good friend Seth Carter had the ability, time, and psych to help me complete Sean's vision. Seth and I spent 6 days working on the route and stocking supplies for camping on the wall. We, of course, continued the tradition of fun days on the wall and great times camping. Seth, being the" Granite Ninja" that he is, didn't need much time to get things figured out. We were ready!
We started climbing from the ground on June 25th and topped out on June 30th. It was an amazing adventure complete with a soaking rain storm and ensuing heat wave. The highs and lows, the cussing and woohoos, and the crazy emotions we felt on route deserve their own page.

I had completed my most challenging and certainly most meaningful climb to date.But most important was that I had realized Sean's vision and planted the first seed in my Soul Garden.

Soul Garden (VI 5.13b) FFA Sean Leary, Jimmy Haden, Seth Carter


Social climber
Butterfly Town
Jul 5, 2014 - 08:02am PT

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 5, 2014 - 08:06am PT
Good on you guys....this is AWESOME!!!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 5, 2014 - 08:17am PT
This must be right around tenayas terror.

Proudest part of the wall.

The Warbler

the edge of America
Jul 5, 2014 - 08:40am PT

Let's see a shot of the whole line if you got it!

Don't know why seeing stuff like this gets me so psyched but it does

Good to see the boys doing justice


Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Jul 5, 2014 - 08:52am PT
Beautiful - beautiful words, beautiful route, beautiful memories, beautiful enduring tribute
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jul 5, 2014 - 10:12am PT
Here's the good stuff! More! More!

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jul 5, 2014 - 10:20am PT
Love Mt Watkins. Gorgeous looking route and great tribute.

Credit: StahlBro

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Jul 5, 2014 - 10:49am PT
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Jul 5, 2014 - 10:52am PT

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 5, 2014 - 12:29pm PT

You know, there is an incredible amount of unclimbed rock in the valley. El Cap is the only major cliff in which every conceivable flake or crack has been climbed.

With the stratospheric growth of free climbing ability, there are probably quite a few lines left to do if you don't mind walking.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Jul 5, 2014 - 12:57pm PT
Sooooooo awesome. Would love to see more pics

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jul 5, 2014 - 03:25pm PT

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 5, 2014 - 06:09pm PT

Jul 5, 2014 - 10:21pm PT

Jul 6, 2014 - 05:35am PT
I'd rapped Sean's fixed ropes a couple years ago for a little photo project and gotta check out the line. Looks great. Sean had asked me a few times to go check it out with him but I had my own project to complete. Sure wish I'd made time to go hangout with him on it.

Congrats to Jimmy and Seth for completing Sean's project. Way to go guys!

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
Jul 6, 2014 - 08:38am PT
Awesome accomplishment! I know how much fun you guys must have had on my favorite wall in Yosemite.
Flip Flop

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 6, 2014 - 09:09am PT
Thanks Jimmy for the write up.

Trad climber
el portal
Jul 6, 2014 - 12:11pm PT
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Jul 6, 2014 - 12:20pm PT
thank you
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