Two Confused Sport Climbers: A Trip Report


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handsome B

Gym climber
Saskatoon, Saskatchawan
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 18, 2005 - 11:08am PT
Editor’s Note:
After dropping one camera at Dolt Tower, and the other off the last pitch, I have been forced to compile this trip report using other photo sources. Sorry for the inconvenience.
(Although I may be considered a butterfingers, BP dropped 2 of our 3 topos.)
It was a bad idea right off the bat. I was fishing for partners while not really sure if I could get my ass up the big stone alive. Then Brendan went and said “yes” when I asked him if he wanted to do the Nose.
Although he had only been trad climbing for a year he seemed like a good candidate. Capable of climbing 5.14 sport and with a strong desire to suffer Brendan complimented my ability to climb 5.10 sport and knack for epics.
We found ourselves sneaking through the gates of Yosemite at 5am on September 3 with little idea what we were up against. The sight of the Big Stone made us both slightly ill and we came to the conclusion that we needed a bit of a warm-up. We dispensed with the Rostrum in about 5 hours, with BP (Brendan Perkins) leading the crux and yours truly (Brendan Nicholson) getting the spicy 5.10b offwidth last pitch.
With our warm-up behind us we set off for the big prize.
BP loads the Pig.
Waking up early we sprinted through the pre-dawn darkness to find ourselves behind a pair of Californians getting ready to aid the route. 3-pitches and 11 hours later we found ourselves franticly hauling our bag up our fixed lines from Sickle Ledge. Working late into the night after being sun-baked at the belays all day behind the Californians was nasty work and we were not psyched about blasting off with four hours of sleep.
Blastoff: BP makes quick work of the traverse from Sickle into the Stovelegs and I get to lead one of the greatest pitches ever: 5.8 perfect hands for 120 feet of golden vertical granite.
We swing leads through the Stovelegs and I beached-whale myself onto Dolt Tower. With an hour of sunlight left and 3 more pitches to go till El Cap Tower we decide to sleep on Dolt. We are really bummed to already be 3-pitches behind and I tell BP we should probably fold this hand and head down, but we decide to wake early and then decide. Right as I am getting into my sleeping bag a B.A.S.E. jumper comes over the top of us at 200 MPH. Pretty cool. Sh#t, I didn’t hear the alarm and we have slept an extra hour. Now we are really screwed. This time BP is the devil’s advocate but I tell him we should just see how far we can make it before noon and then make the call as to whether or not to go down.
BP is pissed that we woke up late.
BP fires the Jardine Traverse and we make up some time skipping the King Swing. I find myself speed-aiding the Great Roof under a beautiful sunset.
BP is a little spooked by the exposure of the Great Roof.
BP gets to the belay right as darkness falls and without pause leads the Pancake Flake (5.10) in the dark, free. We are now 1 pitch short of our bivy at Camp 5. As I lead the nasty flaring offwidth BP spends his time at the belay counting the minutes until he can ask “are you at the belay?” again. As I near Camp 5, bleeding, runout and tired, it starts to rain. I take a moment to look around for the clouds we must have missed during the day and I find the night sky to be clear. Then I realize I am being pissed on. Now I’m not averse to a Golden Shower now and again but this guy was pissing on the 5.5 unprotected slab finish! We get into our sleeping bags at 1 am and decide to sleep in until 7am. What a treat!
BN at the couch-sized Camp 5.
BP French-frees the Glowering Spot, a 5.12+ crux of the free route and I take us up to Camp 6 where we find Beth and Tommy Caldwell working the Changing Corners pitch (the crux of the free route). BP French-frees the Changing Corners, I swing a sweet 5.10 overhanging hand-crack and BP takes us to a wild stance below the final, overhanging, bolt ladder.
BN Cleans the Glowering Spot with a bit of air below him.
BN cleaning the Trough Pitch below the final Bolt Ladder.
BP gets his introduction to aid climbing as I turn over the aiders to him and he chases the sunset, wildly skipping bolts in order to keep rope-drag down for the 5.7 slab finish. I wait in the dark at the belay and when I get the “rope-fixed” command I weight the rope and my daisy comes taught with the anchor. As I unclip my daisy and slowly drift away from the wall, spinning in the void, I consider how sweet life is. I jug the pitch and help BP haul the bag over the nasty roofs.
BP leads the final bolt ladder.
We collapse on the summit and sleep in until 8am when it is too hot to be in a sleeping bag.
We Win! BP is hurting, but BN is lookin' good.
The descent takes us about 8 hours of constant toil with the haul bag slowly becoming the most hated of all objects.
BP humps the Pig back to El Cap Meadow.
One beer in Camp 4 and we are buzzing, I guess four days of dehydration and malnutrition make for a cheap date. Showers, pizza, sundaes and more beer later we are dead asleep in Camp 4.
Good times.


Big Wall climber
So. Cal.
Oct 18, 2005 - 11:35am PT
Way to stick with it! Nice.

Now STOP calling yourselves 'sportclimbers'!
Have some pride, man!

PS. LOVE the photos!! When I said have some pride, I didn't mean to get a big head!

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Oct 18, 2005 - 12:15pm PT
I didn't read it, but I think I could spend all day checking those photos out. Great eye . . . and GREAT BIG HEAD!! Very cute!!

Oct 18, 2005 - 12:35pm PT
Your adventure dwarfs all – very heady.

Trad climber
Oct 18, 2005 - 12:53pm PT
that was a damned creative trip report. your bro looks like he's still pretty focused there on the summit.
David Nelson

San Francisco
Oct 18, 2005 - 04:12pm PT
Great TR, keeps all of us landlubbers hopeful for our next trip up.

(You might improve the "style" of the TR to credit the sites you borrowed the photos from. I doubt anyone would mind the borrowing, if credited, but it is also nice to send them an email asking.)

One trick that helps to keep the camera from taking the Big Jump that has worked for me (two trips up, Big Stone and Half Dome) is to put a gear loop in the camera and keep it clipped in, even when you are using it. I just transfer the biner from my harness (the camera is in its case, also clipped in) to the lead rope or my chest harness, then remove the camera from its case, use it, return it to the case, then transfer the gear loop biner to my harness again. That way, the camera is always clipped in and even if dropped, does not ricochet down the face to its ultimate doom.

Los Angeles, CA
Oct 18, 2005 - 10:16pm PT
Yes, as the owner of many of those pictures, I would have appreciated you asking before using them. And whatever the case, I think citing the source would be appropriate.

Trad climber
My Inner Nut
Nov 15, 2008 - 02:58am PT
Bump for Handsome B

Trad climber
Nov 15, 2008 - 04:03am PT
Lovin it!

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Nov 15, 2008 - 09:12am PT
clever tr!

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Nov 15, 2008 - 11:35am PT
Bump for big head photos!

Los Angeles
Nov 15, 2008 - 11:39am PT
Thanks for the report. Very entertaining and the photos are classic.

Oakland: what's not to love?
Dec 1, 2008 - 02:07am PT
Enjoyed 'er!

True loss to all of us readers that Handsome lost his camera - his pics are always sick. The boggleheads were hilarious though so it's hard to feel bad.

I'd hate to be pissed on, but especially with the piss that a climber calls his or her own after three days into a wall.

A long way from where I started
Dec 1, 2008 - 02:15am PT
Handsome B, you serious about Saskatoon?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 1, 2008 - 02:22am PT
Cool - I thought I recognized the real guy with the red shirt!

Will also used the "borrowed photos" trick for his TR of the Steck-Salathe'.

Link to many of the original photos by Alexander Cooper, from his trip up the nose with Dave Weaver:

Some pretty nice ones in there, even without the bobbleheads:


Trad climber
Indiana (the other Mideast)
Dec 1, 2008 - 11:12am PT
Fun TR guys, thx...and an annonymous "golden shower" to boot! Mmmmm...bonus!
Jordan Ramey

Big Wall climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jun 8, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
Bump, cause this cracked me up

Sport climber
Austin, Texas
Jun 8, 2009 - 09:32pm PT
entertaining! good on ya.

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Jun 8, 2009 - 09:41pm PT
It was as funny now as the first time I saw it! Excellent big heads!!!

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:24am PT
How did I miss this! This is an awesome TR!
Messages 1 - 20 of total 20 in this topic
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