Brail Book Trip Report, April 14, 2007


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 16, 2007 - 11:31pm PT
Braille Book Trip Report, April 14, 2007

The Doc, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that my ageing carcass needs a little tune up, which is going to put me out of climbing for two to six months starting May 7th. This weekend was the last chance for a big climb. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. As a fallback and in keeping with the creed of WOWCA (Wood Off Width Climbing Association) we decided to do Crack Of Despair. In a fit of optimism we thought we could do it before the rain started at midday. We got to the rim at 6:00 AM where we took this picture at the top of Elephant Rock.

Looking down it was clear that no amount of optimism could get us down to the base, up four scary Pratt pitches, down two rappels and back to the car in less than a long full day. So by 7:00 we were re-racked and heading for Braille Book. I have yet to go straight to a climb up this gully. I always seem to follow the wrong line of cairns, so after getting straight to the start of NEB of HC I had to scramble along the base to where Bob was waiting patiently at the bottom of Braille Book. Here’s a picture of Bob leading the first pitch.

You can see the wild “Braille like” rock. As when climbing NEB, Higher Cathedral Spire is your constant companion.

I somehow missed taking any pictures of my lead of pitch 2. The little roofish crux seems unlikely as you approach but unfolds sweetly as needed. I usually put in a lot of pro but the logic of this climb, this pitch and the others, lead me to run it out much more than normal. Here’s Bob leading up pitch three.

We wanted to move fast because of the weather so we decided that if it made sense he should combine the next two pitches, which Supertopo has as 80 feet each. Maybe I should have read the beta on Supertopo about these pitch lengths! First I yelled out, “30 feet” but Bob couldn’t quite hear me. Then I yelled out “that’s me”. Bob yells down “I’m still climbing”. I go,”You’re at 200 feet”. “I’ll put in a belay” comes down. Actually, it worked out fine. He clipped into the two bolts shown on the Supertopo that you are supposed to skip. In the end this did save us one belay. This one combined pitch is great! You better know how to chimney though because the crux has no holdsand limited pro. Awesome! I took the short second to last pitch. Fun and exposed as you come around the corner. Here’s Bob following the 5.4 ramp.

The snow was softly falling now, big gentle flakes. The last pitch is one of the best there is. Continuous cruising on steep jugs and flakes.

By the time we got to the top it was really snowing.

Just beautiful and quiet. Here’s a picture looking up at the falling snow after we had hiked back to the base of the climb.

The “trail” tallus was a bit slippery on the way back to the car. By 2:00 we had gathered the families and were eating pizza at Curry Village. Another fun day on the rock. This is a great climb! Well worth any number of stars. If you are a fledgling 5.8 leader take the four 4 inch cams Supertopo recommends. We didn’t but we’ve been doing a lot of chimneys lately.

Sunday we hiked up the Falls Trail. There was interesting fog and cloud combinations all day. Here’s a few snap shots of some old climber favorites.
Washington Column

Half Dome

Yosemite Falls and Lost Arrow Spire

See you all around,

(Edit; Ed, I knew that didn't look right. So much for spell check.)
Wild Bill

Apr 16, 2007 - 11:35pm PT
Thank you Zander for that dose of the Valley. Beautiful.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2007 - 11:49pm PT
Nice story & pics!!!

San Fran Cisco
Apr 16, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
thanks for the super tr. can't wait to climb that one.

sorry to hear you'll be on the sidelines for a while; best of luck with that!
john hansen

Apr 16, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
Great shots. I'm going to be there next week. Can't wait.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 17, 2007 - 12:00am PT
Thanks for the TR Zander, Braille Book is a favorite of mine, for some reason... and that last pitch has you just out-and-out laughing with joy to the top. The best 5.4 pitch in the universe.

Hopefully you will be fast to recover and rehab after your surgery!

We'll keep TR'ing and emailing you in the meantime.

Apr 17, 2007 - 12:15am PT
Those are beautiful pictures and great commentary.

Thanks, and I hope the best for you on the 7th.
Chris Oakes

Apr 17, 2007 - 12:22am PT
We'll miss you Zander heal fast.

On the same day we were getting hailed on at Atlantis Wall. Great time.

Apr 17, 2007 - 01:36am PT
Thanks Zander. Cool shots!

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Apr 17, 2007 - 01:46am PT
Cool one Zander, I'll be sending you pics whilst your on the mend.


Trad climber
Apr 17, 2007 - 02:04am PT
Zander, I am going to miss your trip reports. Remember that if you are strong before any sort of procedure, it will allow you to recover much more quickly. Thanks for getting all this up - Braille Book might have advanced to the top of a very long list of Valley climbs I still need to do.

the last bivy
Apr 17, 2007 - 02:32am PT
nice, Z. I was just saying tonight that I want to go do Braile Book and here it is ! Be Well . LP
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Apr 17, 2007 - 09:19am PT

Apr 17, 2007 - 10:30am PT
Fabulous rundown of a classic, Zander. Gotta love those shakey forecasts for clearing out the masses = ) Thanks for postin' up.

Trad climber
Apr 17, 2007 - 11:38am PT

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 17, 2007 - 11:44am PT
Nice. I've never done Braille Book, but I'm gonna try and get on it now. Looks like you had a good time.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 18, 2007 - 01:59pm PT
Nice TR Zander

Can't imagine going to Braille Book, of all routes, on a shakey weather day, but then I know you are a GFP. (Glutton for Punishment)



Apr 18, 2007 - 02:15pm PT
Great TR Zander.
I have been in a funk the last couple of days due to current world events and it is very healing to see these pictures and read your report.
Thanks man.
I hope your recovery is swift.

right here, right now
Apr 18, 2007 - 06:41pm PT
Go Zander!

Ice climber
Apr 18, 2007 - 09:26pm PT
Beautiful !
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