Notes from a Yosemite Hardman


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A tent in the redwoods
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 9, 2007 - 12:08pm PT
I'm not sure if you know this but I'm kinda big deal around here. Yosemite is more than a dot on Rand McNallyís map, itís not just another microcosm of the climbing universe, and Iím more than a regular climber. Yosemite is the place and I am the man.

Every morning I wake in the Valley and run five miles down canyon to the real crags. I climb all twelve of my fixed lines at the Cookie, bust out two thirty sets of fingertip push-ups, and then dive in the Merced and swim upstream to Camp 4. Some say Iím training for the ultimate training day but theyíre just jealous because by 9 a.m. Iím back brewing my soy-chai protein infused latte ready to start a day of real climbing.

When I climb, I climb the ďestĒ, the steepest, hardest, slabbiest, scariest routes around. Five feet right of Grantís Crack and three feet left of Oak Flake is my proud new ultra-mega classic first ascent, a super dicey top-rope. Itís named The Falls Trail because I hiked it. The North Faceís athletic coordinator will be making me athlete of the month and my other sponsors will be thrilled.

Not entirely sure what I should crush today. I may head to Jailhouse and sport climb, a little multi-pitch bouldering will fluff out my 8a scorecard. My international climbing ranking will jump from 1538th to a solid 1537th. I might take it easy, boulder around Camp 4, and tick that problem on Columbia Boulder.

My first time on Midnight Lightning, the worldís most famous boulder problem in the worldís most famous campground, in the worldís most famous climbing destination, was in July during the ranger's Sunday morning coffee session. By my 38th try I was at the move before the move to the lightning bolt. Everyone was watching me, as they should be. They shook their heads. They must have been amazed by my chiseled physique and unbelievable talent. Even though Midnight Lightning is hard (V9), itíll be easy for me. I've been bouldering double digits since I started (I count V as a digit). With my rippled six pack and enormous guns, Iíve got the postage; I just need to send it. If I donít get it today Iíll eat broccoli for three days, drink Diet Coke for two, and not change my underwear for a week; thatíll make me send. If the pebble wrestling doesnít go too well, Iíll sort my brand new wall rack in the parking lot in front of everyone.

El Capitan is my second home. I climb up to 5.14 on El Cap; I climb up to it and aid through it. When Iím not busy freeing old aid lines, I send hard wall nail-ups. The monkeys send El Cap super duper fast, no more six month siege feasts of working routes into submission. Alex and Thomas Huber, maybe youíve heard of them theyíre famous, they sped up the Nose in under Three Hours. Iím just like them. The license plate on my Toyota Tacoma reads NO BIVY. Last week I made a 138 hour continuous ascent of the East Buttress. Next week Iím going to shave my time down to sub-five days.

I may have to leave the ditch and go get strong somewhere else. I'm not just a Valley rat. When summertime rolls around Joshua Tree is prime, 112 degrees in the shade. My best climbs have been in the desert heat. I almost free soloed- that means no rope- North Overhang. I was cranking the fourth class top out a hundred feet off the deck; it was no mistake or flat pancake. I got the batter. I cratered hard but after I walked off my broken back, I fired it. Joshua Tree has more than 100í boulder problems. I went to an overhanging slab route called Thin Red Line and managed to onsight it, second try with two falls and one point of aid. The technical moves were difficult. The protection was sparse at best, think hard moves twenty six inches out from ĹĒ expansion bolts, still I campused the 70 degree crux. Who needs feet on slabs? Technique is for the weak.

The water for my soy-chai protein infused latte is done boiling in my brand new North Face Gore-tex high octane gasoline stove. Iím gonna enjoy climbing here in the center of the Universe because climbing in Yosemite means the world revolves around me. Donít worry; it wonít go to my head. Iíll still be Californiaís humblest man. So enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think about me?

Wild Bill

Apr 9, 2007 - 12:12pm PT
Do you have a sister, is what I'm thinking?

You ARE the humblest around, no question.

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Apr 9, 2007 - 12:25pm PT
That is his sister.

Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 9, 2007 - 12:39pm PT
El Capitan is my second home. I climb up to 5.14 on El Cap; I climb up to it and aid through it.

Now THAT'S funny! Mind if I steal that line?

Social climber
Hell on earth wondering what I did to deserve it
Apr 9, 2007 - 12:48pm PT
Niiiice. :)

East of Seattle
Apr 9, 2007 - 12:49pm PT
I think you've been roasting too many banana slugs up in the redwoods man. Entertaining for us but are you okay? ;)


belgrade, mt
Apr 9, 2007 - 12:55pm PT
Nice. I look forward to a book about your humble excursions.

Trad climber
Apr 9, 2007 - 01:01pm PT
Nice one James. Right on the board in C4! -Jereme

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Apr 9, 2007 - 01:05pm PT
"I got the batter."

Too funny James! You are with out a doubt the raddest of the rad in the valley. Don't take any crap from those Huber boys, you are quite obviously better than them!

Apr 9, 2007 - 01:06pm PT
Hahahaha yeah

Can't wait to read the "Yosemite Softman" version.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 9, 2007 - 01:53pm PT
Nice, James. Funny too.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Apr 9, 2007 - 02:10pm PT
Sort of interesting to see that your mishap on North Overhang hasn't dented your... shall we say, prowess for stating your abilities, for better lack of saying it. ;-) Heh heh.
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Apr 9, 2007 - 03:50pm PT
another good one.

Apr 9, 2007 - 05:15pm PT
mansiere candidate

Trad climber
Up the 'Creek w/out a Prada
Apr 9, 2007 - 05:19pm PT
Dork posted that at, too.

Yes, I lurked there today. What of it?

Edit: I posted first and read second. Isn't "No Bivis" Hans's plate?

Apr 9, 2007 - 05:37pm PT
Yea, but can you belay 5.13D?

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 9, 2007 - 09:23pm PT
Yes, I too was pleased to see the Notes posted on the board in C4. Well done James, you also have the spray-est covered.

Climb on, hardman!

Apr 9, 2007 - 10:58pm PT
nice moobies!

The Rebel L Gang
Apr 9, 2007 - 11:34pm PT
James--You are one hard-cranking, rad-looking dood! Now tell us about those red arms...

B loop site 15
Apr 10, 2007 - 01:45am PT
moobies, i like that term. ha
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