Trip Report: Fun and Failure on The Nose


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Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 22, 2006 - 01:01am PT
well, thanks again to all who offered advice/help a little while ago for our attempt at The Nose. my brother peter and i headed over to the valley last Tuesday and started climbing on Wednesday. here i'm leading the (maybe) third pitch:

now, a few notes. i feel that we were well-prepared in some ways for the route, in that we have been climbing multi-pitch trad for many years, we are both engineers and have good understanding of all the gear, systems, hauling, safety factors, etc. HOWEVER, in other ways, we had very little preparation! mainly, we had only climbed one "big wall" before, the SFWC. needless to say, we were VERY SLOW on the aid pitches.

we had a minor setback at Sickle Ledge (top of pitch 4), when it started to rain. fortunately, we had a camera with us, so i managed to smile despite the rain AND the 18 other ropes fixed to the two bolts on Sickle:
(call me conservative, but at one time there were two parties body-hauling two ENORMOUS haul bags and another party jugging fixed lines, all on the same two-bolt anchor - maybe there should be a third bolt?)

anyway, weather cleared up and we were into the pendulums, which i though went pretty well, considering our lack of experience. i wish i had a shot of me running across to do the original pendulum and making a diving handjam into the stoveleg! that was excellent fun. instead, here's a (enhanced drama due to slight camera tilt) shot of pete following me into the Stovelegs, option A.
so i don't have any night shots of us doing the last pitch up to dolt tower, but yes, it was good times pushing the 3.5 camelot in the dark. amazingly good sleep on dolt tower (we had it to ourselves), and here's pete leading after the pendulum off of dolt:

and if you're observant, you'll notice the light in that picture and the next does not bode well for getting past el cap tower on this day. here's pete arriving at belay 13. finally, the trees start to look smaller!

and now, The Chef (as pete calls it) tastes so good on El Cap Tower:

and the next morning, wake up ...

and wish i had actually learned some yoga:

unfortunately for us, where did all the time go? we were going too alowly, we decided, to realistically make it to camp four without another long night of dark climbing, probably followed by another long day and night, etc, which, well, we just weren't up for it, and pete actually had to get back to start school, blah blah blah we decided to bail. so, one more shot of our high point:

and we were off. some tricky rappelling and swinging to get back to dolt tower. pete is dancing to encourage me to swing harder, and meanwhile, a party of friendly Croatians has materialized:

if this video works, here's me doing my version of the King Swing Bail: (hmm, photobucket doesn't like it, i'll try YouTube)

and yes, i got to do all 8 raps from dolt tower with The Pig, as pete watched deviously:

and a few more shots (panoramas that pete put together) of the rappel route:

from the bottom, somehow showing the whole big rock (that's me about four-fifths of the way up the photo, but unfortunately not very far up the nose):

and, back on the ground, safe but defeated:

now i wanna train properly and do it again . ..
mostly so i can get some photos of the other parts of the route to post on SuperTopo, of course.

oh well, good experience.. actually, great experience. and everyone we met on and around the route was super nice. oh, it was fantastic to be up on el cap tower after dark, and see all the other headlamps come out on the rest of the wall. weird sort of community, no? every once in a while, a great whoop or whelp out of someone finishing a pitch hours after dark. good stuff.

finally, we did find a wall hammer on the way down, which pete ("Eddie") already posted about. contact him if it's yours.

by the way, does anyone really want to read a trip report about a failed attempt on what must be the most climbed route on the most well-known big wall? oh well, i promised i would send something in.



Mountain climber
My mommy's tummy
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:08am PT

Sep 22, 2006 - 01:10am PT
" ....does anyone really want to read a trip report about a failed attempt ......"

Failed or success it's all good. Nice write up Blake.

Santa Monica, CA
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:19am PT
Great pics, great adventure and you made it back safe.


Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:23am PT
It's the adventure of it!

Great to hear about it, nice report, and good luck on your preparations for you next time...

I have so many failed attempts on my list...oh man, but there are some that are sweeter than some of the sends.


Trad climber
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:25am PT
Hi Blake,
Thanks for the TR. Great pics too. Don't get too bummed. Next time you'll get it. Besides, any day on the rock is a good day,
See ya,

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2006 - 01:40am PT
ok, the video is on YouTube

thanks for the kind words, all.


Big Wall climber
Reno NV
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:42am PT
Thanks for the TR...
I think more people should post TR's...any kind.

So what if you didn't get to the top...
It still sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.
Now you know what to do differently next time!

Great pics too!


Trad climber
The Vertical Wasteland
Sep 22, 2006 - 01:49am PT
Nice TR and pics, my buddy Richard and I ran into you guys at the base on Wednesday I think it was. You guys were jugging up to Sickle. Glad to hear you had a safe climb and are psyched to get back again!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 22, 2006 - 03:38am PT

Thanks for sharing your trip report.

How did you end up handling the extra fixed rope to Sickle? Did you toss one down and have some friends pick it up?

belgrade, mt
Sep 22, 2006 - 09:32am PT
Sweet TR. Nice pics.

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2006 - 10:23am PT
looks like you guys had a good time, up and down.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Sep 22, 2006 - 10:26am PT
Hey! That was a cool TR! Great pics. Loved the Foreign Legion style bandana taped to the helmet trick.

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Sep 22, 2006 - 11:21am PT

Thanks for the trip report. You will make it next time. Besides, if you do trip reports, I don't have to write about the stupid things I do.


Sport climber
St. Louis
Sep 22, 2006 - 02:31pm PT
Excellent - Thanks for the photos! Plus, it's extra fun to realize that I probably saw your headlights dancing in the dark on El Cap last week... cool....

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Sep 22, 2006 - 02:54pm PT
From the meadows, we watched you heading up Stovelegs in the dark, and doing the big pendulum back to Dolt tower afterward. Sorry you din't make it!

Is that big pendulum required on the normal bail route? I thought there were anchors straight down the face below El Cap Tower???
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 22, 2006 - 03:02pm PT
Nice TR and pictures, Blake. It's too bad that you had to come down, but it will go like a breeze when you return. It is a big rock, isn't it?

I bailed on the Nose, with a client, in the stovelegs. Way too hot, and guiding is slow. I wouldn't take the chance of dealing with a dehydrated client up high.

Your pictures bring it all back--living vicariously.

Best, Roger


Trad climber
Sep 22, 2006 - 05:37pm PT
Nice TR, man! Wall-noob to wall-noob, I know what it's like to bail 'cause you're going too slow!
Standing Strong

Mountain climber
the trail
Sep 22, 2006 - 05:46pm PT
blake that's an awesome tr. it's the journey not the destination... i think it's rad you were out there gettin' after it.

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Sep 22, 2006 - 08:34pm PT
This is the best thread of the week. Thanks and good luck next time.

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